When you think of ‘Winter,’ what comes to mind? Is it food like roasted sweet potatoes or activities like ice-skating? As the weather becomes colder, a growing number of people need help. Lots of people volunteer during winter. Some people might say “Volunteering is only for people who have the money and the time.” However, there are new kinds of volunteering activities that allow everyone to participate. One is the campaign of knitting a wool hat for an infant by Save the Children. Kim Dana, a reporter of the Sookmyung Times, participated in this wonderful volunteer campaign.
• Save the Children, Save the World
Save the Children started the campaign in 2007. Before starting the campaign, lots of infants especially in Africa and Asia died because of a deficiency in their immune system. There were over one million infants who died immediately after birth and about three million infants who died within a month of their birth.1 It was hard to live long since it was hard for the babies to protect themselves from viruses and colds. It was hard for them to boost their immune system. However, after Save the Children started the campaign, the number of early fatalities decreased to one third. The campaign not only helps others without direct person-to-person contact, it is also recognized as formal volunteer hours, so more and more people are participating in the programme.
• Do You Wanna Make a Wool Hat?
Lots of people think that because they are not good at knitting, they can’t participate in the campaign. I also used to think like that before I started making a wool hat. However, Save the Children offered me lots of videos on how to knit. So it was not that hard. In my case, I was an absolutely beginner, so it took about twenty minutes to start my first stitch.
To participate in the campaign, I went to Save the Children’s website (http://moja.sc.or.kr/) and ordered a knitting package. It cost 15,000 won. Some may feel it too be a bit pricy, but when you think you are saving children with that 15,000 won, it is not that costly at all. There are two kinds of packages I could choose from. One is for beginners, and it contains two kinds of skein and a circular needle. The other is for experts, and it only contains three kinds of skein; there is no circular needle. Since I was a beginner, I ordered the first one. I received the package a few days later. In the package, there were various other things besides the skeins. There was a bag for wrapping up the finished wool hat. After checking all components, I started to watch “Learn to Knit” videos. With the package, I could make either a wool hat or a small blanket. I chose to make a wool hat since it seemed easier than the blanket. There were also various levels from beginner to expert. Since I had never knit before, I watched carefully the video for beginners. It was not hard at first. However, when I started to change the thread color, it became tricky, so I asked my mother for help as she was more skilled at knitting than I. Since she had more experience, she solved my problem with adroitness. Finally, I finished the wool hat. After finishing the hat, I washed it in cold water. Since the thread contains germs, it needs to be cleansed by washing. After washing the hat, I put it in an envelope. Also, in the envelope, I include a sticker that has my name, home address, e-mail address, and contact number so that Save the Children can inform me as to my hat’s status. That is, I will know when the hat arrives at Save the Children.
At first, I thought it would take two days to complete the hat. However, after starting to knit, I began to concentrate and I finished it in just eight hours. It proves that anyone can participate in the campaign without the need to invest much time. Since I could see the result of my effort, unlike other volunteer activities, it was more worthwhile. Knitting was a challenge to me but once it was done, I felt both a sense of accomplishment and confidence. The campaign benefited both the infant it was given to and me.
• Anyone, Anywhere and Anytime
Everyone knows that there are lots of people who need help. Nevertheless, people rarely take action. They make excuses like being busy or having no money. This campaign can fit people living a demanding life. Since people can do it anywhere and it doesn’t take that much time, it is really time efficient. Also, after sending the wool hat to Save the Children, you can receive a document certifying your volunteer work. With these advantages, from 2006 to 2013, 794,920 hats have been knit by people.2 Why not be the wonderful hand that saves children?
1 Retrieved from http://moja.sc.or.kr, Save the Children
2 Same as Footnote 1