Just recently, I have had the enormous pleasure of sharing 10 days, here in Australia, with my aunt, Ronda Lowrie, co-founder of Knit-a-square and founder of KAS SA.
As we sat together in our family home and shared stories of the last six years, Ronda told me many heart-warming anecdotes of the extraordinary work she and her volunteers do on the ground in South Africa.
This work culminates in wrapping some of the many millions of orphaned and abandoned children who live in South Africa, in beautiful hand stitched blankets, popping warm hats on their heads and handing each a hand made toy. The children mostly live in extreme poverty in often squalid and makeshift squatter camps.
‘When you are warm in your blanket, know that each square comes with love from people who are thinking about you from all over the world.’
Ronda see this work as a ministry. She and the volunteers, caress their little heads, wrap their arms around them and tell them, ‘When you are warm in your blanket, know that each square comes with love from people who are thinking about you from all over the world.’
A picture tells a thousand words
From all over the world, we see them in the many photographs Ronda sends, wrapped in the warmth of their beautiful blankets, but while a picture tells a thousands words, from afar, we cannot know the details of the children’s lives, how they suffer, how resilient they are, what their personalities are, what they think.
Ronda says the children are so sweet, unspoilt and so grateful. So, she was surprised one day when a little boy asked if he could change his blanket. She’d never had that experience before.
He was wrapped in a pink crocheted blanket! He said, ‘Please ma’am, I am a boy, please can I have a boy blanket’. Ronda had a much more appropriate blanket on her shoulder. She swopped blankets and his little face lit up with delight.
He’d also been handed a toy that was not quite right for a young boy. So a bit later, he found Ronda as she was busy wrapping other children in blankets and asked quietly, ‘Please ma’am, can I have another toy, having spotted a superman toy in Ronda’s arm. Ronda followed his eyes and asked him, ‘What about this one?’ He beamed with joy and told her ‘ I will love this one for ever.’
This simple story brought to life the work of Knit-a-square. It made me smile as I am sure it will do you.
PS. Look at the exquisite work in the blanket on the little girl next to him. What amazing talent the knitters and crocheters have and how blessed is this project that people knit and send squares to warm these needy children.