By Pamela Barit Nolan, Development Manager, Adara Development
“Though I can’t see you, every stitch I do is a stitch of love for you all,” says 90 year old Olive with a sparkle in her eye. This is the message she wanted me to send to the babies she is knitting for.
90 year old Olive is a resident of Westmeath Residential and Nursing Care Home. For many years, she has knitted hats and blankets to send to the babies in Kiwoko Hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit in Uganda.
Olive was introduced to the programme through Westmeath staff member, Angela Mocklow who is also a member of Altrusa International in Bermuda. Altrusa’s mission is to make communities better through leadership, partnership and service.
A few years back Altrusa wanted to do something for children outside of Bermuda and started a partnership with Adara. Angela had a two-fold purpose – to serve both the babies being born in difficult conditions in Africa and to serve the clients she was working with at Westmeath. Knitting seemed to be a way to do that and she put a call out for knitters.
At the time, Olive was not a big knitter, but she threw herself into the project. She has since produced over 400 pieces in just over two years. Olive can knit a hat in an hour and a blanket might take her 2-3 days. The last batch we shipped off was 100 caps and 39 blankets and she has 50 caps and 13 blankets to go now!
Other Altrusa members have also been part of this project – Sheila Mayor is one that continues to knit caps that go off with Olive’s work to Uganda.
When I asked Olive why she decided to participate in Altrusa’s project she said “I don’t have any children of my own but I love them.” She went on to say that she was born prematurely so she feels that she has a link to the babies in Kiwoko’s NICU unit.
So where does all the wool come from? The project has become known in certain circles so wool is occasionally donated to Olive to continue her work. Olive needs 3- or 4-ply soft baby wool for her projects. She sometimes buys wool herself if the donated supply has run out.
If you want to get involved with this knitting project for the Kiwoko babies you can do so by doing some knitting, donating some wool or helping us with the shipping costs. It costs approximately $65 to send a 5 pound box to Uganda.
Adara thanks all of its volunteers around the globe and send a big hug and huge thanks to Olive and Altrusa International for their loving work for the babies of Kiwoko!