Over the last few weeks and months, I’ve been delighted to find many knitting charities cropping up to help refugees. First, I found KnitAid, a UK-based organization. Next I discovered Woolly Warmth for Refugees, also based in the UK plus Greece, after they posted on the Knitting for Charity Facebook page. Today I’ll tell you about a third charity that’s helping refugees through their country’s armed forces: Izzy Dolls for Children in Crisis Zones. This is a Canada-based charity, so if you’re Canadian and long to help with the refugee crisis, this is a wonderful opportunity for you! (And if you’re in Eastern Europe, I hope you’ll stay tuned… coming soon will be a feature on a Serbia-based knitting charity for refugees!)
About Izzy Dolls
Izzy Dolls were the brainchild of Carol Isfield, the mother of Master Corporal Mark Isfield of Canada. While Mark served in peacekeeping missions, he noticed that the children in the countries he worked had no toys. Carol then had the idea to make small 6-inch dolls that he could give to the children he met. These dolls were made with little blue berets, and the Canadian Forces Engineers referred to them as “Izzy Dolls.” The Facebook page continues this tale: “Sadly, Mark was killed while serving in Croatia on June 21, 1994. Carol has also since passed away. Shirley O’Connell now coordinates the distribution of the dolls to children in crisis areas all over the world. “The government of Canada has pledged to take in 25,000 Syrian war refugees, many of whom are children, all of whom have little to nothing. “Please help us by using your knitting needles or crochet hooks to provide a little comfort to these innocent little ones. Use up your scrap yarn to help welcome a scared child to a new home in Canada.”
How You Can Help
This effort to provide dolls to refugees coming to Canada is still in its infancy, so at the moment the best thing you can do is to work on as many dolls as you wish. (While this is a Canadian initiative, Shirley has decided that the organization will gladly accept dolls from anywhere, as long as the donor is willing to pay for the cost of shipping to Canada and understands that all the dolls will be given away in memory of Master Cpl. Isfield.) At this moment, Shirley is working out details as to collection and distribution points. However, she does provide updates on the above-referenced Facebook page as well as their Ravelry page. You can find links to Izzy Doll patterns within their Ravelry group page here or on their Facebook page here. This is not to say you can’t use another pattern if you prefer; as long as the doll is 6 inches or less and has no sharp, hard, or abrasive parts. Creativity is encouraged; after all, it’s for the kids! This is such an exciting opportunity to help offer little friends to refugee children coming to Canada. Why not make a cuddly little Izzy Doll or two and prepare to comfort children?