Elizabeth Gowing, co-founder of The Ideas Partnership, is a guest contributor this week to tell us about her lovely charity and how they provide blankets to newborns in Kosovo. Read on to find out how you can help!
In my village in Cornwall, UK there is an 80 year old lady who knits and crochets as if her life depends on it. Stuck on her fridge door is a photograph I brought her the last time I came back to England. It shows a little boy she has never met. He’s called Abdullah and he was born into the community of rubbish-pickers where our charity, The Ideas Partnership, works in Kosovo. The picture shows him wrapped in a blanket made by the Cornish village knitting group. Abdullah is snuggled into the blanket as if his life depends on it too. And perhaps it does.
Kosovo has one of the highest rates of child mortality in Europe and in the community where we work it’s three times higher – 41 of every 1000 babies born don’t see their first birthday.
The blankets knitted with such love in Port Isaac in the UK are part of The Ideas Partnership’s initiative to give these babies the best start in life. Particularly during the winter (when temperatures can reach -30°C/-22°F) these are essential in poorly insulated homes made from whatever materials families have been able to cobble together. Our community health assistant visits newborn babies taking these precious blankets as a gift but also as a way in to having a conversation with mothers about birth registration and vaccination. We also make sure that parents know the dates of their little ones’ checkups, and have understood the bewildering written instructions in their hospital discharge papers.
Any blankets that come to us at collection points in London, Oxfordshire or Cornwall can then be taken out to Kosovo when volunteers come out to our charity. We are one of British Airways’ registered charities and are therefore given free excess baggage when anyone travels to Kosovo as a volunteer with us.
Get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you think you can help Abdullah and other babies, and knit the world together. Thank you!
If you’d like to knit a blanket but don’t know where to begin, here are a few free patterns for inspiration!
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