Bev Qualheim has one of my favorite websites on the Internet. Her Country Cottage offers tremendous resources for charity knitters, including oodles of free knitting patterns, size charts, and information about new and urgent charity needs. Today I discovered that she is rallying charity crafters to assist an organization called the Kaiizen Foundation.
The Kaiizen Foundation is a perfectly wonderful charitable organization that gathers volunteers — particularly teenagers, college students, and families — and takes them to select countries around the world to help better the lives of underprivileged children. They assemble volunteers and take several short trips a year — enough time to do tremendous good, but not so much time that people are intimidated by uprooting their lives for a long period of time. Trips may be as brief as 4 days or as long as 16.
Some of the Foundation’s humanitarian projects include offering fun times (and some teaching relief for area schoolteachers) in Baja; mentorship programs at orphanages in India; and service projects for impoverished children and their families in Swaziland.
How You Can Help
Bev has found a way to help the Kaiizen Foundation with their goals of bettering the lives of children and their families in these impoverished locations: with gifts of dolls, stuffed animals, and blankets! So if any of these types of projects are the kind you enjoy, you can knit your favorite and send them to the address listed on Bev’s page here.
On that page, you can also find a slew of terrific patterns for dolls, bears, and a couple of other toys like hacky sacks and balls. You can of course use any pattern that you prefer, but if you don’t have any preferred patterns, Bev’s page is a great place to start.
Brown-skinned dolls are preferred, simply because the orphans in these countries are all brown-skinned, and they especially enjoy dolls that “look like” themselves. However, if you don’t have brown yarn, feel free to make the dolls however you wish. The orphans often don’t have a single toy to call their own, so anything made with love will be greatly appreciated!
This is a wonderful way to better the lives of impoverished orphans around the world. If you love making dolls, bears, other toys, or blankets, and you would love to put a smile on an orphan’s face half the world away, I hope you’ll consider knitting for the Kaiizen Foundation!