Sunday, December 20, 2015

Wool-Aid Projects in 2015

Here is another pair of socks I finished for Wool-Aid. They were the sixth pair this year. I did a 2x2 rib on top of the foot and around the legs, ending in a 1x1 rib to help them stay up.

I finished with the Jeny's Surprisingly Stretchy Bind Off that you can see below.
And I did my usual gusset, short row heel and then heel flap to decrease the gusset stitches.
These socks ended up pretty big at 9.5". As soon as they were done, I cast on another pair with a few fewer stitches but the same yarn. Here they are with only a few stitches left to be bound off. (The church service started and I had to stop!)
But don't worry, I finished them today. So that makes seven pair for the year (and 12 overall).

Here are the other projects I finished in 2015 for Wool-Aid:
I have one more sweater on the go, but I ran into yarn dyeing issues and it has been in time out for a while.

As of December 18, the people on Ravelry who support Wool-Aid have completed the following items in 2015:

Hats 2400
Socks 900
Sweaters 800
Vests 500
Mittens 400
Blankets 75
Total: 5075

10” blanket squares 275 [These are sewn into blankets by an obviously generous volunteer.)

Below is some information about each of the projects/locations supported in 2015. Most of the text is taken from postings by our fearless leader "MorningThunder" on Ravelry. She is the one who collects all of the items and arranges for shipping from her house. Yes, from her house...I don't think they've used the dining room for eating in a long time! (My comments are in italics.)

But wait, before you get to all that, I thought I'd let you know how you can help, if you would like. Obviously, you can knit and crochet things to send. Just follow the guidelines on their website.

And/or you can make a donation to help with shipping and other incidental costs. (MorningThunder does all this for no wage so your money goes only to the good of the project.) See details on their website page here. (If you're still looking for a Christmas gift for me--not that you have to--a donation to Wool-Aid would be wonderful.)

And/or, and this is the easiest one, you can designate Wool-Aid as the charity Amazon.com will donate to as a percentage of all of your Amazon purchases. Go to smile.amazon.com and chose Wool-Aid from the list. Once it's on your account, you will need to start your shopping at smile.amazon.com (every time) and all purchases will help! Go do it. Do it now! Click.

Now, here are the stories of the people the Wool-Aid group has helped in 2015:

2015 NEPAL

In June, she reported that Wool-Aid has established a new partnership with some very wonderful and dedicated people in Nepal!

Wool-Aid items will be sent to help a group of young monks at the Tendhar Lugar Choeling Monastery, but even more of our Wool-Aid items will be shared with needy children who live in the area surrounding the monastery in Kathmandu and in other parts of Nepal.

Monks from this monastery have been very active in securing and delivering relief aid to people who have been affected by the earthquakes that first hit the area on April 25, 2015, with the young monks being very much involved in these relief efforts. They are taught the significance of service -- expressing love, compassion, and universal responsibility -- in word and in deed.

There are currently 53 young monks at the monastery, ages 5 to 15. At the Tendhar Lugar Choeling Monastery, the monks can wear mustard (gold), yellow, maroon, and brown colors. They wear sweaters and vests under their monks’ robes during the winter, and socks and hats are also much needed.

They would especially appreciate receiving blankets for older children and teenagers. Even in the summer, it is quite cold when they are sleeping outside in tents (as many have been since the earthquake, because of the continued danger of building collapse). They often sleep two to a mattress for extra warmth.

After sleeping out in the open on the first night of the earthquake, they tried to sleep in tents the second night. But when it started raining into their leaking tents, they ran inside, only to have to run outside in the middle of the night when the earth started shaking again.

Blankets would be used year-round, because it is cool at night, especially when sleeping out-of-doors or in tents. During the more temperate seasons, they would help protect the children from mosquito and other insect bites in addition to protecting from the cooler temperatures.

The monastery has storage space available, so Wool-Aid can send aid throughout the year and then they can distribute it when it’s needed, either to the young monks or to other children. All items in colors not appropriate for the monks (and perhaps some of the items in monk colors, too) will be distributed to other needy children.

So for all those among you who have wondered if we would eventually be helping people in Nepal, the answer is YES! It took a bit of time to connect with the right people, but we feel that this partnership allows Wool-Aid to help many children with little or no access to other resources.

Aren't these young monks adorable in their gold and red hats!
Distributing hats, sweaters and socks to new monks. Many
of them are brought by their parents because they just can't
afford to keep them at home.
________________________________

2015 SYRIA

Our warm woolens have been requested by Syria Relief, an international relief organization of excellent repute. They have year-round effective distribution channels and can distribute aid inside Syria, which requires a solid network on the ground within the country. There are over 12.2 million Syrians in desperate need of humanitarian aid, with over 5.1 million of these being children. About 7.6 million people have been displaced within Syria by the conflict. Syria Relief provides care and support to these vulnerable people in hopes of curbing mass migration to refugee camps outside their own country.

Syria Relief sends relief containers to Turkey, where they are taken to the Turkish/Syrian border and undergo standard freight and customs inspections before they are met by ground teams inside Syria and taken to warehouses for distribution. Syria Relief is able to reach areas that most others can’t. More often than not, these are the places with the most desperate needs.

While the need is so great that anything we send will be promptly distributed, they have specifically asked Wool-Aid to help children who are 9 to 12 years old, with a focus on hats, mittens, and vests.

Because Syria is a country at war, we will avoid sending items in camouflage colorways; we have also been asked not to send items that are red. Representational images of people and animals are not appropriate for distribution within Syria.

Syria Relief is a registered NGO in the UK, with a clear aim in Syria: Relieving the suffering : Supporting the future.

________________________________

2015 ALASKA

In August, MorningThunder wrote: Wool-Aid has received a request for warm woolens from a small school district in Alaska that serves a group of seven very remote villages. The winters are very cold there, dipping to –60 degrees on some days! Snows begin at the end of October and continue through April.

The population is Native Alaskan, specifically Athabascan. Unemployment is very high, and most families are below the federal poverty line. There is no commerce -- no jobs, no stores, no places to buy things. Anything that is purchased must be flown in, which is very expensive.

We are being asked to help about 50 students who are in pre-K, kindergarten, and first grade. These are children 4 to 7 years old who need our warm woolens to help keep them warm when they are playing outside at school. With such limited resources, it seems that there isn’t money to spend on clothing that would be quickly outgrown by these youngest of children.

For these children, the specific request is for hats, mittens, and socks.

All colors -- especially bright ones -- are welcome for these children!

By mid-November, she wrote: This wonderful group of knitters and crocheters is sharing love and warmth about 50 children in pre-K through first grade in a small school district that serves seven villages (Kaltag, Minto, Huslia, Nulato, Allakaket, Koyukuk, and Ruby) in central Alaska, on the Yukon River -- and the boxes may be delivered soon!

Here’s what was enclosed in the two large boxes from Wool-Aid:

65 hats
66 pairs of mittens
7 hat & mitten sets
80 pairs of socks
________________________________

2015 KAZAKHSTAN

Wool-Aid is pleased to let you know that we are helping children in orphanages in Akkol and Urupinka, Kazakhstan this year. It gets really cold there -- temperatures can reach -40 degrees in midwinter, and the snows start in August!

Nanci from the Motherless Child Foundation (Mittens 4 Akkol) contacted Wool-Aid to see if we could help out with some pairs of socks for the children they support. We shipped out 81 pairs of socks and included 15 pairs of mittens in larger sizes, too. They will be on their way to Kaz with Nanci next week!

Your help is very much appreciated. Nanci sends profound thanks to the members of Wool-Aid for the socks and mittens that she’ll be able to give to children in the orphanages this December.
________________________________

2015 DULAAN PROJECT: MONGOLIA

In January, MorningThunder reported: Our shipment to the Dulaan Project in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia is on its way! We have supported the Dulaan Project for several years. They serve children in schools, orphanages, and on the streets in Ulaanbaatar, where it is often -40°F at night in the winter.

Mongolia’s winter is extreme; the capital city, Ulaanbaatar, is the coldest capital in the world. It rarely gets above freezing on winter days, and can often plunge to -40°F at night. To survive, many of the homeless live in the heating ducts below the nation’s cities. Warm, well-made clothing can allow a child to go to school or an adult to go to work; restore a sense of dignity; and, in some cases, literally save a life.

Bureaucratic issues had kept this shipment on hold (literally for months!), but now all that has hopefully been taken care of so that when our boxes arrive in Ulaanbaatar, the labels will have been pre-approved by the governmental Ministry in charge so the boxes can be picked up without having customs fees charged.
These are the boxes MorningThunder prepared to ship.
Can you imagine having them in your dining room?
Especially before everything was contained in the boxes!?
These 24 boxes weigh 544 pounds and they contain 1307 of your lovingly handknit and crocheted items for the kids. Most of these boxes were ready to go before the end of 2014, but we were able to add to them before the final approval of the forms and labels came through.
Here’s what we sent:
Socks: 201
Hats: 620
Mittens: 220
Vests: 113
Sweaters: 153
TOTAL: 1307

Here is an excerpt from the thank you note that was sent back after the items were received, and a picture of some of the kids with their new woolies on.

You Wool-Aid folks are so wonderfully generous -- sharing your time, your yarn, and your creative talent to help children all over the world. Heartfelt thanks to all of YOU!
As with many of the other organizations, any extra items or things in sizes that didn't fit are passed around the community as needed. The "leftover" items from this shipment were given to homeless adults and disabled and blind people.

In October, another shipment was in the works: Wool-Aid is preparing shipments this fall for the children of Mongolia, working with the Dulaan Project, as we have for several years now. We expect our big shipment to Mongolia to go out in November.

We will be sending clothing for children of all ages and in all sizes -- and in all colors, too! Meredith, the director of FIRE/Dulaan Project, writes that they find homes for absolutely everything we send!

So keep those needles and hooks busy for the kids!
________________________________

2015 TIBET/YOUNG MONKS/INDIA

In February: Wool-Aid continues to support the children in Kyegu, Tibet with regular shipments throughout the year. Our Wool-Aid items are typically distributed to children at selected schools during the winter months. During the summer months, our shipments are held at the monastery until time for distribution. This is a wonderful help, since they are only able to receive a few boxes at a time. Their ability to provide storage space means that we can still move larger quantities of aid to these children.

Wool-Aid’s focus for Tibetan children is for children who are of school age -- about 8 years old through teens. These children are often outside in the bitter cold weather, and they really need protection from the elements. We most often send hats, socks, sweaters, and vests to Tibet.

While the colors of maroon and gold have special significance in Tibetan culture, the children in Kyegu love to receive our warm items in all colors and patterns. So knit/crochet what you love!

I hope you're still reading and enjoyed the stories of all the different places and people that Wool-Aid works with to keep people warm, safe and comfortable.

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