Knitted Teddy Bears in South Africa
8th April 2014
... Comments

Elaine Turner from Lutterworth Rotary, instigator of our Teddy Bear Campaign for use where traumatised children benefit from owning a toy of their own was contacted by Christine James from Wales (who had seen an article in Rotary Today) asking for a pattern that could be used by knitters in South Africa.

Since then she has had a letter saying that the project they were involved with is called Thandu Jesu in Wlderness, near George.

All the mums and grans with children up to 2 years old had been invited for a cup of tea and some were very interested to see how the teddies were made.  The pattern instructions have now been translated into Affrikaans and they will be helped to make them, then sell them at charity events.  The manager there also took some teddies to a local hospital.

The trip was marvellous, they were invited to visit the project, which was an eye opener and also visited the location.

Other teddies have been taken up to Johannesburg to a sexual assault clinic and were most gratefully received.

One man here had knitted her two very small teddies and they particularly liked those to make mobiles for babies to encourage them to reach up etc. So he’s now got an order for lots more!!!

She will be going back out in July and people are carrying on knitting, with new people joining in too, so she will be keeping Elaine informed of the numbers going out then.

Christine James received the following letter from the “Sexual Assault Clinic” in Johannesburg.

Quote The Sexual Assault Clinic is a non-profit organisation which helps children with a physical, medical examination after sexual molestation, assault or physical injury.  We work hand-in-hand with the South African Police Services to ensure that each child is able to receive prompt medical assistance after a traumatic incident.  Not only do we carry out the examination but we collect DNA and trace evidence, photographically record all injuries, complete the necessary police and court documentation, administer preventative medications and give expert testimony in regional courts and refer to further trusted services for psycho-social help.

Can you imagine  how a child feels when visiting a strange place and people ?  Not only are they suffering from a range of tumultuous emotions but are most likely terrified about what is going to happen to them next.  We, at the clinic, try to comfort and reassure little ones and what better way to do this than by offering them a teddy bear of their choice to hold close to them during and after the examination.  We have nicknamed these knitted bears “Squeezy Bears” asking a child to squeeze the bear as tight as they can when they feel a little scared.  It is absolutely amazing to see the child’s response.  The “Squeezy Bears” bring comfort and a sense of peace to the child and we  see the change in them almost immediately.

So it is with heartfelt thanks that we write this letter to you, assuring you that through your kindness and generosity these bears play an active part in the child’s healing.

About the Author

Carol M

Member since: 10th July 2012

Shy retiring (!) red-head, working hard to showcase everything great about our town and villages. Loves her son, her man & Bruce Springsteen (but not always in that order!)

Popular Categories