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Huge knitting effort by Motueka for European orphans
August 6th, 2012
[by David Armstrong]
Thousands of items of winter clothing and blankets hand-knitted by Motueka people are being packaged to send to orphanages in Moldova, Romania and Ukraine, thanks to the generous contributors to Operation Cover Up.
The almost overwhelming display of a year's work by Motueka's knitters, including some from schools, and donated items such as dolls filled the auditorium of St Thomas's Anglican Church at the open day today.
The project started 12 years ago as part of a New Zealand-wide effort through Mission Without Borders, a Christian charity. Motueka's tireless organiser, Faith Wells, got involved in 2003 so this is her eighth year. She says that over that time the Motueka knitters have produced 13,360 items in total.
"I think that's absolutely fantastic for a town our size," she says. "And that doesn't include the hundreds of miscellaneous items such as toiletries, toys and dolls which people have contributed as well."
With the open day over, all the items will be packed and sent to Nelson, then on to Christchurch to be combined with items from the South Island into a container ship bound for Holland. The North Island does likewise.
They end up in orphanages in Moldova, Romania and Ukraine. Faith says these institutions look after 10,000 in Moldova, 80,000 in Romania and 100,000 in Ukraine.
"People have been very supportive of me in this project over the years and I do thank them for that." She says her oldest contributing knitter was 99 years old.
Her "offsider", Helen Bisley, looks after collecting the dolls, cleaning them up and dressing them. This year there are over 200 of them to send.
"The children in the orphanages have nothing of this sort," says Faith. "We've seen on a return DVD the children getting Helen's dolls and their blankets and jerseys, and it's just lovely to see their faces."
She also had an album of photos of children receiving their blankets and warm clothing. Some of them photos showed why they were so necessary, with snow around everywhere. Other photos showed programmes teaching older children to sew and to plant vegetables so they had some skills when they left the orphanage.
Rudolf Steiner School children donated a large woolly patchwork blanket for the project, and in the process they learned all about how wool is grown, gathered and processed to make the final material - a curriculum project with benefit to the pupils and the orphans. You can see a photo of one group holding their blanket below.
"They've been down to have a look at the whole display and are planning what they will do next year," Faith says. "They've gone back to school saying how wonderful, didn't realise what it meant. It's really inspired the children."
Rudolf Steiner pupils with their colourful contribution
Some of the 200 reconditioned dolls
Comment by Lynette Mytton:
[Posted 20 August 2012]
What a wonderful effort from the Motueka and the surrounding areas.
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