I founded a global social initiative called Knit Aid whilst on maternity leave in 2015. Here's what it's all about and how it started:
Knit Aid is a global social movement empowering refugees and bringing communities together through knitting.
We collect quality and much-needed warm handmade donations from knitters all over the world and distribute them in refugee camps across Europe and the Middle East.
Each knitted gift comes with a handwritten message of love and hope, written by the knitter.
Though Knit Aid still remains as a collection point, it has developed into refugee rights advocacy, campaigning, activism (or ‘craftivism’), empowerment and support, especially for some of the most vulnerable within that group: young people and women.
We empower refugees by sending them knitting and crochet supplies enabling them to knit garments for themselves and their loved ones and sell to help sustain themselves.
We also run knitting workshops for resettled women and young people in the UK using the benefits of a craft like knitting to help with social integration and help battle isolation and depression.
Some of these organisations started calling out to the public for donations, including warm clothes like beanies, snoods, gloves, blankets and more.
Having been a keen knitter since I was a little girl, I found myself naturally beginning to knit for the cause. After noticing that there were no other organisations collecting and distributing warm donations for refugees in Europe, I decided to set up my own – and Knit Aid was born.
What started as a Facebook page, developed into a website, multiple social media accounts and global initiative.
How Knit Aid started
I founded Knit Aid as a direct response to the refugee crisis. Whilst I was on my maternity leave in the summer of 2015, the refugee crisis had reached an all time high in western media.
Global humanitarian responses were unable to cope with the influx of new refugees entering Europe, resulting in smaller local grass roots organisations started to address the issue directly.
To date, Knit Aid has distributed over 10,000 knitted donations and hundreds of knit kits to camps across Europe and the Middle East, including France, Italy, Greece, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria.
We collectively have 10,000 social followers (and growing) from around the world who regularly knit for us, whether on their own, with their friends, in schools, universities, or in their local communities.
Knit Aid uses the power of social media, digital tools as well as physical tools to build communities, create change and connect people.
Knit Aid has been featured in a wide variety of press and publications, including Vogue, Time Out, London Live News, Oh Comely, Londonist, Huffington Post, and United Nations Refugee Agency.
We even spent a month as the background images for WeTransfer, receiving millions of impressions resulting in more knitters and more donations.
Knit Aid USA
In September 2017, due to popular demand, we opened Knit Aid USA run by two volunteers based in New York and led by me in the UK. We receive double the number of donations stateside than we do in the UK, and there is scope for growth globally.
- Everything! From Director, to Art Director, to Strategist to hands-on donation sorting and sending.
Knit Aid is a passion project made from the heart, and I absolutely love running and growing the initiative on the side of my day job. I direct a small group of volunteers both in the UK, USA and in camps to help the entire operation happen.