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Knit 1, Purl 1


The idea for this project started in May 2012, when I happened to meet a young woman working as a security guard.  She was rewinding wool into balls, I got chatting with her, and discovered that none of the women living at Die Kop Settlement near Stanford could either knit or crochet.  With my husband’s encouragement an idea blossomed, and since knitting and crocheting seemed to me to be basic crafting skills, I investigated starting a project to teach some ladies these simple skills.  What I found was a definite need and desire to learn.

At that time I wasn’t a Rotarian, though my husband was, so I presented my case for Rotary’s help in funding setting-up costs, which were approved.  We also received a fair amount in donations – materials, patterns and funding.  Clare Stocks, the wife of one of our members and an avid knitter herself, offered her assistance.  So, armed with wool, needles, and a lot of enthusiasm, the project got underway.  The Rainbow Trust offered us the use of an old classroom in their building situated at Die Kop Settlement.

A number of ladies took to knitting like ducks to water.  I was amazed at how easily it came together for them, and we were having fun at the same time.  Once they’d got the knack with their “practice” wool, they graduated to making a small garment.  Most chose to start off with simple scarves, while others settled on a simple child’s jumper.

At this point in time, we now have several scarves, beanie-style hats and jumpers completed.  The women continue to work on further projects, trying a variety of stitches.  They plan to create small items to sell and generate some pin money.

One lady in particular was struggling to create a neat piece of work, but wouldn’t give up.  After a few weeks she finally shared that she was unable to see the stitches properly.  A friend offered the use of some old reading specs she’d kept, and almost immediately Cynthia’s work was near perfect!  The President of our Club made an appointment for eye tests in Hermanus and while the tests were not charged for, our Club sponsored the spectacles.  The conclusion to this is Cynthia now has her own reading specs and has also completed her scarf.  A second lady has also been assisted with getting new reading specs.

I have since joined the Rotary Club of Stanford.  This project, for me personally, is quite simple really, since I love knitting.  The best part of it is, of course, that a few people have been taught a skill which they can use and they are so very proud of themselves, as I am of them.  Further self-empowerment projects are planned for the Stanford area next year.

Lana Coates
The Rotary Club of Stanford (D9350)