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Summer 2014


Update as of September 17, 2014

The June-July Baby Shower ended on July 31. A heartfelt, huge thanks to all the participants!

Our campaign for WOOL socks, mittens, and hats for ages 7 years to adult was completed on Sept 8, 2014 (for distribution in Afghanistan this winter). Please check back for updates.

Please Read This Whole Page for Guidelines

Dear Knitters and Crocheters for Afghanistan,

During June-July 2014, we collected wool hats and socks for babies from newborn to 1 year. These items have been requested by Trust in Education for babies born at Malalai Women's Maternity hospital in Kabul.The hospital performs 85 deliveries a day, on average, serving the poorest families in Kabul. All services are free. Our wool gifts will accompany the distribution of birthing kits arranged by Trust in Education.

For almost 13 years, we have learned about the unimaginably difficult lives of women in Afghanistan and the high mortality rate among babies. While health conditions have improved significantly and progress continues, the need continues, too. Save the Children says that providing a wool cap to a newborn is one of the most cost-effective techniques to ensure child survival in the first few months. Afghan families have many children.

We are also knitting and crocheting WOOL hats, mittens, and socks for Trust in Education's students, street children, and internally displaced people in Afghanistan -- ages 7 to adult years.

  • Hats, for babies from newborn to 1 year and from 7 years to adult:
    -- For babies, minimum head circumference is 10". Do NOT send hats for preemie sizes. There is no need.
    -- Be sure that hats cover ears. A ribbing that folds over is a good way to avoid making a hat that is too shallow.
    -- Hats need stretch for comfort over forehead. Be careful when binding off.
    -- For babies, ear flaps and under-chin ties are acceptable.
    -- Everyone loves to make hats, but we receive a disproportionate amount of hats. We need a balance of garments.

  • Socks, for babies from newborn to 1 year and from 7 years to adult:
    -- Basic socks with proper heels and coverage for the lower leg.
    -- PLEASE DO NOT send booties or slippers or tube socks.
    -- For babies, minimum foot length of 2.5" to about 4" maximum.
    -- For ages 7 years to adult, any foot length (measuring from back of heel to tip of toe) from about 6.5" - 10" will be useful.
    -- Socks for KNITTERS ONLY (crochet does not work well for socks).
    -- Socks in a pair should match each other.
    -- Tie mates together.
    -- We can never have enough socks!

  • Mittens, for ages 7 years to adult (NO mittens for babies):
    -- Small adult-sized mittens will fit older teens.
    -- No fingerless styles.
    -- Make sure wrist-ribbing is long enough for warmth.
    -- Careful to avoid holes at the thumb increases.
    -- Use dense gauge to help ensure warmth.
    -- Mittens in a pair should match each other.
    -- Tie mates together.

    With socks, mittens, and hats, we can pack many more items per box and warm more people in the same amount of cargo space -- which is especially important with air transit. Making socks, mittens, and hats is a terrific chance to use wool oddballs on hand. These are portable projects that take less time. You can play a lot with color. You don't have a large package to mail to us.

    Please assume standard garment sizes. Here's a size chart for reference.

    Please DO NOT send items not listed above. Only the items above will be sent to Afghanistan. Please note, we never have a need for used items, scarves, ear warmers, felted items, fingerless gloves, toys, store-bought merchandise, fleece anything, quilts, knitting-loomed creations, or unassembled squares. Do not send items for preemies. We can only send what is specifically requested by our partner relief agencies and appropriate for the Afghan culture. Cargo space is extremely limited.

    Important points to review:

  • Fiber: Use wool (or other animal fiber) to provide maximum utility in harsh weather. Please review our memo on wool and fiber content.
  • Color: The Afghan people like all colors -- bright and cheery palettes! Use up those wool oddballs. Please avoid white and very light colors that soil more easily. No camouflage/military-looking yarn.
  • Patterns: Knit or crochet your favorite pattern or try something new. Classic patterns are best. Avoid lacy or airy patterns. Items must be very warm and durable for the harshest winter weather. Most of the recipients have few or no possessions.
  • Fit: Test your garment on your own children or a neighbor's child or yourself ... to double-check proper fit.

    Please review our GENERAL GUIDELINES and MAIL ADDRESS here.

    Campaign for wool socks, mittens, and hats for 7 years to adult was completed on September 8, 2014, in time for distribution this winter. Please check back for updates.

    Please send completed items anytime so we can stay on top of packing. This also helps us gauge our progress.

    Email us when you send your gift, and we will acknowledge you by email. If you need confirmation that your package has arrived in San Francisco, please enclose a self-addressed stamped card or envelope, and we will mail it back. Or, use the signature request service of your delivery agent.

    Please be sure to check this page (or our email list) for updates. Join our email list for notices by sending an email to: afghansforAfghans-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

    Please spread the word!

    Another important way to participate ... please tell your fiber friends about our campaign. We count on volunteers for word-of-mouth to keep our momentum. Please share the link to this webpage. Add one of our banners to your blog or website.

    We have told TIE that each item is lovingly created as a special gift. The quality, beauty, and distinctiveness of our handmade wool garments are not available in any store! These are gifts of friendship and respect during wartime. The recipients are going to be cold and at risk, and we're stepping up to do what we can to comfort those enduring hardships.

    Founded by Budd McKenzie in 2002, Trust in Education (TIE) is a U.S.-based non-profit, grass-roots organization that delivers educational, economic, and health care assistance to Afghanistan. TIE informs and enlists Americans to become directly involved in rebuilding. They are a tie between American and Afghan communities. TIE's priority is working for educational opportunities that will foster long-range stability and prosperity. Visit TIE's website to read more. TIE will transport and distribute our wool gifts and report back to us. We are fortunate to partner with TIE because they are still able to successfully deliver material supplies. We value their indispensable efforts and devotion to relieving suffering and to improving the lives of Afghans.

    Transit to Afghanistan is difficult to arrange and subject to delays. (Such as the Pakistan government closing the overland transit road to Afghanistan in response to NATO drone attacks in November 2011.) It is much harder to partner with relief groups that are dealing with little or no certainty. We now only use air transit to avoid the overland transit delays and the customs process in Karachi, although we can be subject to inspection delays or the flight schedule changing for other priorities. War, politics, and weather can change course or cause delay. Because of this, our campaigns have become smaller, but we are doing our best to keep up our effort. The need remains large, and we are determined not to forget the people of Afghanistan.

    When we started this project with the San Francisco office of the American Friends Service Committee in late 2001, we did not anticipate that the need would exist for so long. Hard to fathom. We did not anticipate the degree of desire to reach out to individuals on the other side of the world -- with our needles and hooks! Volunteers across the US and Canada have generously responded with enthusiasm and plenty of heart. Thank you for standing by, ready to fulfill the requests of the relief groups that can reliably use our handmade wool gifts for the people of Afghanistan. Thank you for continuing to take action with your own hands.

    Making a difference on the other side of the world may seem impossible ... but your handmade gifts and generosity bring true comfort and warmth. Each garment means one more baby, young child, woman or man is going to be a lot more comfortable because of you. We really can do something tangible and meaningful for people so far away and living under tremendous hardship with few material goods. Our gifts make a difference in the lives of the recipients. The Afghan people still need to know that we care.

    Our deepest gratitude to the volunteers who have been contributing for many years, and welcome to the new volunteers who keep our momentum going. We're determined to continue our tradition together.

    Thank you for reading. Your caring and involvement matter!

    Tashakor,
    Ann and colleagues

    PS: Looking for group camaraderie and inspiration? Need a head start to give these babies a head start?Join our afghans for Afghans' knit and crochet-along , with our moderator Elizabeth Durand. The more, the merrier! You can also find the friends of afghans for Afghans group on Ravelry.com.

    In partnership with the San Francisco office of the American Friends Service Committee, the afghans for Afghans project started in late 2001 in response to the war that unfolded after 9/11. Who knew that more than 13 years later, our handmade wool garments would still be needed in Afghanistan. Thank you for continuing to take action with your own hands and hearts to remember the Afghan people.

    Check out our Bulky Yarn Fundraiser -- luxurious yarn at a fabulous price for a good cause. Thanks for your support.

     

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    Rokhshana Girls School

    Photos courtesy of Trust in Education and afghans for Afghans
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    Trust in Education distributes birthing kits to Malalai Women's Maternity Hospital in Kabul






    Newborn socks galore knit by Betsy Tucker, Charlottesville, VA

     

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