If you love to knit sweaters for young children but are running low on recipients, why not knit them for charity? The Help Kids India Sweater Project would love to receive your sweaters
Do you enjoy knitting sweaters, especially for young children?
(Sweaters for young children are so cute. And they’re such an enjoyable way to get the hang of sweater knitting!)
Perhaps you’ve even become hooked on the delights of sweater knitting for adorable kiddos. Then you may have a small problem: what to do with all these delightful sweaters? Children and grandchildren can only receive so many sweaters before they start begging you to stop.
(Or so I hear… 👀)
The solution, of course, is to offer those lovely sweaters to children in need. And a great place to do so is to the Help Kids India Sweater Project!
Hilda Isaac’s Mission of Mercy: the Beginning of Help Kids India
Hilda Isaac, back in the 1990s, saw the crushing need of young children in poverty. She saw the devastating effects: neglect, hunger, illness. Unsurprisingly, these children were often failing in school and had little hope of their lives improving.
A preschool teacher herself, Hilda saw inspiration in the form of a preschool begun by Betsy Daily. This preschool offered the very vision that Hilda felt India’s children needed: a safe haven where they could be nurtured as well as taught.
The first preschool Hilda opened with her friends saw remarkable success. Children were safe; they were given full medical care and good nutrition; they learned about good hygiene. And best of all, in this nurturing environment where they could relax and be a kid, these children were finally able to learn!
Help Kids India was incorporated as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization registered in Vermont in 2008 to help offer the support needed for the group’s many projects.
The Mission of Help Kids India Today
Help Kids India supports four preschools for children 2 to 5 years old in rural areas of south India. Children are admitted from the poorest village families. The preschools are a locally developed and run intervention program that is changing lives and whole villages.
HKI’s preschool children learn and have fun at school, leaving the stress of poverty behind, and enter primary school primed to succeed. After 25 years, preschool graduates are now college graduates, bringing their families and villages into a new and better life.
Help Kids India is an all-volunteer organization. 100% of donor funds go directly to the preschools. HKI board members travel regularly to India and are in close contact with the remarkable village women dedicated to raising up the most marginal children to new lives of dignity, service, and respect.
How You Can Help the Help Kids India Mission
You might be thinking, “Help Kids India sounds like a fabulous idea… but what can I, as a knitter, do to help?”
As it turns out, winters are cold in the high mountains of southern India! A warm sweater can make all the difference to a child in poverty. If you’ve ever tried to do anything requiring significant brain power when you were cold, you know just how vital a cozy sweater can be!
Volunteers create sweaters for the Help Kids India Sweater Project. When they have 50 sweaters on hand, one for every child in a school, a student group from Vermont takes them to the preschools on their regular service projects.
The sweaters are often the first gift a child has ever received, and they are treasured. Often, once the preschoolers outgrow them, they are saved for younger siblings and even for the next generation.
Each sweater carries a message: even across the world, someone cares greatly about this child, regardless of the current state of his or her life.
Are you eager to join in? You can start knitting sweaters any time! If you don’t have a favorite child’s sweater pattern, here’s a great one to start with: Kid’s Basic Raglan Pullover
When you have finished a sweater, you can send it here: Help Kids India Sweater Project, PO Box 143, West Newbury VT 05085. (The latest address can always be found at the Help Kids India website).
Please note: the website information is accurate; Co-President Catherine Kidder assured me of this and noted that the organization is aware that the website does need some updating!
Although sweaters (even for children) take a little longer than most charity knitting projects, there’s something special about the process. With the additional time required, you can pour your whole heart and your truest focus into it.
And when your recipient is a charity as worthwhile as Help Kids India, you know your gift will be genuinely loved and appreciated.
Special thanks to Help Kids India Co-President Catherine Kidder for help with this post as well as the lovely photos!