Friday, August 07, 2009

Friends of Colombian Orphans a story and a cry for help!

Stick with me, it turned out a bit of a long story but you will not be sorry you read it:

About a year ago I found on Ravelry a group called Friends of Colombian Orphans, I joined and soon found out that the moderator is a wonderful energetic woman that has a child from Colombia. Jane and her husband lead FRIENDS OF COLOMBIAN ORPHANS .
The idea in Ravelry was to knit hats and scarves and collect toys and things to take to the girls from an orphanage that I had happened to volunteer at when I was in high school.
I thought,yeah that is good, thanks in behalf of my fellow Colombians BUT: "give them a fish and you feed them for a day...."

I asked Jane why not do something that would have more impact on the lives of these girls. We got on the phone and I told her I thought we should set up a workshop at the orphanage, teach them machine knitting skills and maybe the girls could:

1. Become a co-op to get funding for the program so it could become self sufficient
2. Have a life skill that would allow them to make a living once they had to leave the orphanage at age 18.

This was a dream I had since way back then and I really did not think much would come out of it..... Next thing I know, Jane and her husband John are asking all kinds of questions about machine knitting: where is the best place to buy machines, what kind of yarn, who can teach? how can we do this? I called The Singer Shop in Bogota talked to the owner (who I had met way back then also), got back to Jane and John who in turn had made contacts in Bogota to find a manager, a place to set the program at, etc. etc. and the plan was rolling! ROLLING FOR REAL!

Today we have:

-John and Jane have gone twice to Colombia
-At least two knitting machines have been purchased
-The room for where the machines are to be set up is being remodeled
-We have two very experienced machine knitting instructors who will teach the girls
- We have a project manager
-The orphanage has approved the program
-The organization has been registered in Colombia as not-for profit "Fundacion para Una Vida Mejor'
-Friends of Colombian Orphans in the USA is a not-for profit organization that can take donations.
- Contacts have been made, grants submitted with some likelihood of ongoing donations from at least one large agency to keep the program going.

There is more story behind Friends of Colombian Orphans, they have already remodeled sections of an orphanage in Bogota and taken numerous donations. Here are pictures of some of the the projects

The workshop as it was a couple of months ago:

At this moment there is enough money to get started and carry us to the end of the year, but we need money to continue on until we get the grants. We need knitters to help us help these girls, teach them a life skill and help them become self sufficient. With this we will prevent these girls from going out in the street and living lives they do not deserve.

You can help in several ways:

Cash donations at Donations for Friends of Colombian Orphans

Join us in the online auction we are planning for October.

Help us spread the word. The Fiber Art Community is wonderful and I know that together we can do this.

Either way you can help, just thing that every penny counts.

Thank you!


Jack said...

Great idea and I send wishes of good luck. And for some added inspiration, check out this video -- -- about the "aha moment" of a man that changed his life and led him dedicate a large part of his life to working with and for children. It's quite moving.

Again, all the best of luck,

Tan said...

That is very cool. I hope I can find a way to help.

fleegle said...

That's a wonderful thing you are doing! Congrats on getting it going.