My Krochet Kids Story
Normally when I write, I am inspired by the world around me. Circumstances or people propel me to project words onto paper. I moved to Lima in the middle of June to begin working for a nonprofit called Krochet Kids International. It is September now and I still find trouble finding the words to share. I think it is because there is so much to say, so much to process, so much to understand. I’m here, in the thick of it, yet even I cannot fully understand what is going on every day. It all flashes before my eyes — my gaze is not averted; my gaze is focused. But it is flashes. Brief glimpses: a conversation, a shared laugh, a home cooked meal, a cone of gelato, a painfully bumpy bus ride.
What I do know? That the organization I intern for is unique and special and important. So, I have decided to use my sharing space with The Rising this month to speak on what Krochet Kids does.
Krochet Kids’ mission is to empower women “of Northern Uganda and Peru with the assets, skills, and knowledge to life themselves and their families out of poverty. The result is long lasting and sustainable change.” Each of the women is given the opportunity to work, be educated, and be mentored.
The job is making clothes: each woman makes a multitude of the products sold on Krochet Kids’ website. Each product is hand-signed by the woman who made it so that each customer can see the direct impact of their purchase. The education is business classes throughout their time in the program: each woman is a part of Krochet Kids’ impactful program for three years. During those years, the women are taking classes at Krochet Kids to equip them to enter the business world when they graduate. Whether they move on to start their own business or work in another endeavor, the skills and knowledge given to them through their time creating and learning will support them long-term. Finally, the mentorship is another crucial factor: each woman in the program is mentored by a local, older, successful woman who can be there to process life’s difficulties alongside them.
Krochet Kids has had tangible impacts on the communities it serves. According to its website, a woman’s “personal income grows to be ten times larger than pre-Krochet Kids levels,” her savings level “increases by twenty-five times,” her family is “five times more likely to have access to healthcare,” she is “forty percent less likely to be physically abused,” she is “twenty-five percent more likely to participate in major family decisions,” and her “children are eight times more likely to attend high school.”
Interning for Krochet Kids, I can honestly say that the impact goes even beyond this. It isn’t just numbers with this organization. Krochet Kids here in Peru is rich community, deep honesty, true vulnerability, hearty laughter, vibrant mixtures of Spanish and English, a whole lot of beautiful yarn, hours-long conversations about Peruvian cuisine, and a massive helping of grace. This is most evident to me in the women in the program. They show so much grace to us interns.
From the very beginning when we had no idea what we were doing and I could barely remember my Spanish, they showed us grace. Still, grace is the common theme. Even when I mess up and it frustrates one of the ladies, it is only for a moment. I know that the next morning I will be greeted with a “buenos días,” and a kiss on the cheek. They answer all my questions, they help me figure out what kind of yarn is needed for their product, they listen patiently when I struggle to articulate in Spanish.
Shameless plug: I’d seriously encourage you to check out www.krochetkids.org. This type of non-profit is the kind that makes a sustainable impact. This type of non-profit is the kind you don’t want to ignore. And the best part? You can make a difference and look cool in a beanie at the same time.