I’m sure that many of you have been watching the Syrian refugee crisis unfold with the same kind of horror that I have. I’m moved to tears by the thought of so many people driven from their homes and normal, settled lives by the oppressive regime that’s taken over their country, and appalled by the actions of so many European governments (not least Britain’s) who are refusing to take action to help people in such terrible need. Happily, it seems as though at least ordinary people are taking action where governments are failing, and I’ve found a few links that may be of particular use to geeks, knitters or both.
I’m always a bit wary of knitting items for charity; I think that a lot of the time, handknits may not be what’s really needed, and sometimes kind-hearted people keep knitting long after the need has passed (for instance, in the case of the penguin jumpers, where the foundation keep having to ask people not to send any more jumpers), but in this case, with thousands of people from the Middle East coming to Europe on the edge of autumn I think there really is a need for warm hats and scarves and blankets. I’ve found the following appeals which are accepting knitted donations:
Knit For Peace – sending warm clothes and blankets to refugees in Kurdistan
Squares by Geeks – the author Emma Newman is organising geeky crafters to make squares which she will sew into blankets to donate. She’s also accepting hats, gloves and scarves.
Calais Action is a grassroots movement organising collections of items to be sent to the refugees in Calais – it’s worth seeing if you have a local drop-off point that might want warm things.
There’s also a Ravelry group collecting knits for Syria.
The information I’m seeing is that the charities generally have plenty of things for women and children, but a lot more of the refugees are men and it’s men’s things they’re short of, so bear that in mind if you’re knitting hats and scarves.
For those of us who are cash-rich and time-poor, or who have enormous stashes full of luxury hand-dyed sock yarn and bugger all to make basic hats and scarves out of, the charities working with the refugees all need money too.
The author Patrick Ness decided that he was going to offer to match donations to Save the Children up to £10,000. Several other YA have now joined him and as I write this the total raised is just over £284,000. You can donate here.
I’ve mentioned p/hop here before. All money raised goes to Médecins Sans Frontiers, who are helping in various ways, including providing medical treatment within Syria and in refugee camps, running search and rescue operations in the Mediterranean.
And as well as wanting donated items, Knit for Peace are fundraising for the costs of shipping: the donation link is here.
Please, please do help out if you can, even if all you can manage is to give a few pounds or knit a couple of squares or a hat. Every little helps, and the refugees have nothing.
And if anyone has any other links, please do post them in comments!
Edited to add
iKnit London are hosting a Knit for Calais event on September 29, if any London knitters can make that.