Knitting is something we might associate with another time, but in reality it's as popular as ever. Knit for Peace is an initiative of the Charities Advisory Trust that is working with those who love to knit to bring about positive change. Knit for Peace started as an income generation project for Hutu and Tutsi widows, victims of the Rwandan genocide and civil war. The project then spread to India, bringing together Hindu and Muslim women in the slums of Delhi. Through the SE Asian Women’s Network the idea spread, and Knit for Peace groups were set up in Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Afghanistan. These groups, as a gesture of good will, donated their knitting to each other’s children.
When people in the UK heard about this project they asked if they could knit for the children of Afghanistan. “If we can send them soldiers, we can send jumpers for their children.” Through word of mouth the idea spread, and soon Knit for Peace was receiving a tsunami of knitted goods.
Knit for Peace is, and has been, a bottom up, demand-led service. There are more than 15,000 knitters in the UK. The majority are post-retirement age, and find knitting greatly enhances their pleasure in life, and improves their sense of wellbeing.
Knit for Peace’s just published report on The Health Benefits of Knitting, backed by a survey of over 1000 knitters, provides evidence based research showing that knitting:
- Lowers blood pressure
- Induces a sense of wellbeing
- Counters depression
- Slows the onset of dementia
- Can be continued into extreme old age, despite deafness, loss of sight or reduced mobility
The main barrier to continue knitting is what to do with the output – a keen knitter can produce 15 baby hats in an afternoon! Knit for Peace provides an outlet for 20,000 knitters in the UK, distributing donated knitting – blankets, clothes, twiddlemuffs – to those in need – refugees from Syria and Iraq in Kurdistan, street children in India, homeless projects and hospitals in the UK; in fact to over 300 organisations. The Report shows for the over 60’s, knitting makes them feel more resilient, better able to cope. Knitting for others makes them feel part of the community, still of use and less socially isolated. Read the report online: http://bit.ly/2qE3uLH