Knit for Sewa Group.
On the occasion of Diwali – the Hindu festival of lights – Sewa USA delivered 150 hand-knit scarves and baby blankets to Chicago-based women’s shelters. (Philanthropy, #SEWA, #SEWAUSA, #KnitforSewa, @Siliconeer, #Siliconeer)
Sewa USA launched the ‘Knit for Sewa’ drive in August 2015. Sixty people from 15 states participated in the drive by knitting and mailing in their handmade items. Participants included knitting novices as well as experts, and ranged from the ages of 10 to 75. In some families, mothers and grandmothers used this project as an opportunity to teach their children the art of knitting and crocheting.
Indira Kathavate, from Chicago, said she enjoyed learning new patterns just for the sake of giving the best gift possible. Knit for Sewa provided an opportunity to practice a fun hobby while also helping someone in need.
Seema Naik, from Washington DC, said she became motivated to learn crochet after hearing about Knit for Sewa. “The cause is one that’s dear to my heart,” Naik said. “I’ve seen my parents giving shelter to such families while growing up. Listening to the stories of what those kids and women went through has ingrained the importance of providing a helping hand in addition to empathy.”
The scarves and blankets were delivered to Chicago’s South Suburban Family Shelter (SSFS) and Connections for Abused Women and their Children (CAWC). These organizations serve victims of domestic violence by providing counseling, legal services, and emergency shelter.
“These women have been through so much suffering, and our aim is to bring warmth to their lives – both literally and figuratively,” said Aparna Soni, coordinator of Knit for Sewa. “We hope that the women who received these scarves can gather strength and comfort from them, knowing that they were made with love by someone who cares about them.”
Abused women often feel isolated and have low self-esteem, according to Vicki Meilach, coordinator of SSFS. These women rarely receive such personal, handmade gifts, and they will truly appreciate the scarves made with such love and care, Meilach said.
Sewa USA conducted its “Knit for Sewa” drive around the time of Diwali, the festival of lights.
“Diwali is a time of year when we try to bring the light of love and service into our own lives, as well as the lives of others,” said Sreevidya Radhakrishna, coordinator of Knit for Sewa. “We thought this would be a perfect time to start this new project.”
Knit for Sewa coordinators were overwhelmed by the enthusiastic response of volunteers, according to Soni. “We initiated publicity for this project through a simple Facebook group, and before we knew it, people were signing up in the dozens,” Soni said. “People started telling their friends about Knit for Sewa and posting pictures of their works in progress on our Facebook group. With everyone’s support, we were really able to create a vibrant community of knitters.”
The group plans to continue such knitting drives in the future. For more information on upcoming knitting drives, contact KnitForSewa@sewausa.org.