Who said that donations are only done by money? The Hat Knitting Campaign defines another type of donation in the global world.
When people think about the world ‘volunteer’ or ‘donation’ we often think about the red charity boxes that we put money into. Or often people relate volunteer work to cleaning up after messes or other physical activities. However, Save the Children’s Hat Knitting Campaign is defining a new type of volunteer for the people across the world. Since 2007, Save the Children, an international organization helping the world’s child poverty, has been pursuing the ‘Hat Knitting Campaign’. This campaign is meant to help infants dying due to diseases that can easily be treated. What makes this campaign special is the fact that instead of just simply donating money; participants knit hats with their own hands to ship to infants in developing countries. Now beyond just money, there are efforts sent along with the donations.
The ‘Hat Knitting Campaign’ is growing steadily with lots of attentions. Now this campaign is celebrating its 5th year and stands with a goal to ship 15 thousand knitted hats to Zimbabwe and Bangladesh. To hear about the enormous spread of contribution-culture set by this campaign, I interviewed Park Young Ee from the Save the Children Communication Team.
The ‘Hat Knitting Campaign’ holds its significance for defining a new type of ‘volunteer’ and ‘donation’. Instead of just donation money, each time I knit I can think about the infants that will be wearing the hat in my hands after a couple months. The participants love, effort and care will be shipped across the Zimbabwe and Bangladesh. The positive energy this campaign is sending not only to the participants but also to the people across the world is making the world feel like a warmer place.
Photos are credited to Save the Children
Q. What is the starting background of the ‘Save the Children Hat Knitting Campaign’?
A. Annually Save the Children publishes ‘State of the World’s Mothers’. In this, there was a rank for ‘good countries to be a mother at’. According to this ranking, in the whole world, every year about 7 million infants under 5 have their breath taken away. Out of these infants 2 million babies die on their day of birth, and 4 million lose their precious lives within a month.
The deaths of these infants are due to easily cured diseases such as pneumonia, diarrhea and malaria. There are easy and quick ways to save the infants from losing their lives such as malaria prevention mosquito net, antibiotic, moisture supplement and etc. To provide easy ways for people to help these infants, we have started this campaign.
Save the Children has started the ‘Hat Knitting Campaign’ in South Korea 2007 and is continuing the 5th season this year with United States, Canada, Germany, United Kingdom, Australia and Hong Kong.
Q. When most people think about ‘volunteer’, people think about doing chores for the neglected class of people or doing their works for them. However, the ‘Hat Knitting Campaign’ is a unique type of volunteer. You knit the hats at home and send them on a plane to be shipped across to countries such as Africa. What do you believe is the unique way of volunteering that this only this campaign offers?
A. The ‘Hat Knitting Campaign’ is not only a donation type of giving. Instead it holds great significance for settling a new type of contribution culture-giving by making by the hand. Also in the hat knitting kit cost, along with the cost for the kit, there is also a donation included to sponsor foreign nutrition business. When you buy the kit, you can donate and knit the hat and contribute it. Since in this campaign, you can contribute twice, the fact that the happiness will be twice is something that makes ‘Hat Knitting Campaign’ different with other volunteers.
Q. The campaign could’ve been called ‘Sock Knitting Campaign’ or ‘Scarf Knitting Campaign’. Out of so many products, why did Save the Children specifically choose ‘hats’? Was there a special situation related with hats?
A. Wool hats are known to keep the baby’s body heat and act as an incubator like a kangaroo care. Through this way, the percentage of the death of infants can be lowered to about 70 percent- the reason why Save the Children started the ‘Hat Knitting Campaign’.
Q. This campaign started in 2007 and is already continuing its 5th season. What is the special key to maintain a campaign for continuous times?
A. Since the campaign started in 2007, as the years pass the number of participants in the campaign and the number of hats have been increasing steadily. Especially last year, in the season 4, with 61,488 participants and 141,574 hats have been gathered from all over the country, allowing it a byname of ‘national campaign’. The reason that this campaign can be continued is due to the participants. Even though the knitting process is hard, many participants are willing to challenge themselves to knit to contribute. The participants who have been calling for the kits even before the season started, participants participating in every season, participants knitting all winter long and sending a whole basket and etc. are the people who has made this campaign and raised this campaign.
Q. Is there an ultimate goal for the ‘Hat Knitting Campaign?
A. The ‘Hat Knitting Campaign’ progressed as the save the infants under 5, as a part of the EVERY ONE Campaign. (EVERY ONE Campaign is a campaign to save help children grow healthily until the age of 5. The reason why we help children until they are 5 is because if they are healthy until 5 years old they grow a level of immunity that allows them to age until their 70s.) This campaign is a global campaign that started in 2009 to protect children’s dying from diseases that can be easily cured, in about 50 countries across the world. Every year about 8.1 million infants are dying due to easily cured diseases. Save the Children is working in countries with high infant mortality rates such as Mali, Nigeria and etc. They are supplying medicines and medical supplies and training region medical treatment human resources to protect babies against unnecessary deaths.
The ultimate goal of EVERY ONE Campaign is the 4th and the 5th goal in the MDGs, reduce child mortality and improve maternal health. United Nation’s MDG(Millennium Development Goals) is an agenda adopted by the agreement of 191 participating countries in 2000. The MDG is 8 international promises to make poverty in half by the year of 2015.
* Goal 4(Reduce child mortality): By the year of 2015, according to the standard measured in 1990, reduce the child mortality in to 2/3rd.
*Goal 5(Improve maternal health): Between the years of 1990~2015 reduce the death of mothers with babies to 3/4th.
Do you wish to participate in Save the Children ‘Hat Knitting Campaign’?
1. Type ‘save the children’ at gsshop.com
2. Buy the ‘Hat Knitting Campaign’ Kit
3. Learn how to knit on http://moja.sc.or.kr/moja_season/moja_5/menu2/way_tab1_1.php
5. Send it to ‘Save the Children’ by February 29th of 2012.