Since I finally learned to crochet more than a basic chain of stitches last year, I have been gradually increasing my skills by trying out various crocheted projects. My projects have been increasing in difficulty and physical size, with my largest and most ambitious project to date being my crocheted blanket. Because crochet is a suitable pasttime for me while recuperating from foot surgery, I have several projects lined up for my period of convalescence, including a small crochet blanket/shawl.
This second blanket, however, is not for me or anyone I know, but is a project destined for Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia. For those of you who haven't heard about this organisation, I encourage you to look through their website and do some research into obstetric fistulae. Just briefly, an obstetric fistula is a medical condition which can occur when a woman goes through traumatic childbirth without proper medical care or intervention. This condition is easily prevented in developed nations, but can still commonly occur in developing nations and is especially prevalent in many African countries.
Hamlin Fistuala Ethiopia supports the work of the Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital in Ethiopia, the only hospital to exclusively treat and to help women recover from this debilitating condition. The hospital not only treats women suffering from obstetric fistulae, but also has a midwifery training college which trains up competent birth attendants who can greatly help to improve the medical situation for pregnant women in Africa.
As a woman who received impeccable medical care during my pregnancies and labours, I am horrified that many women are not so fortunate. I wanted to help and was pleased to find that I could help in a crafty, creative way. So after my very long ramble, let me explain how crochet can help! Not only does the Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital treat the medical conditions of the women who come to them, but the hospital also provides each patient with gowns and shoes to wear during their hospital stay and a knitted or crocheted shawl to keep and take home with them. Those of you who knit or crochet, can whip up a special shawl (or small blanket) for these needy women to show them that someone on the other side of the world cares. There are specific requirements for the shawls (because these women can't afford much, let alone a washing machine), so please look through the various websites listed below for information. If you can't knit or crochet, there are other ways to help out too, just look through their website.
To Addis with love (a Facebook group for those wishing to make a shawl).