Students outside class hours Colégio Adventista de Joinville (Saguaçu Unit) crochet blankets to help families in need and the homeless during the winter.
Entitled “Croche que Aquece”, the project began its activities in April of this year with pupils from primary to secondary school. In addition to helping those in need, the workshop aims to improve students’ attention to study, develop motor skills, and relieve anxiety and depression.
During the course, students learn basic and advanced techniques for handling crochet needles and yarn. Classes are held in class on Tuesday afternoons. Helena Duarte, a ninth grade student, is the one teaching crochet in the workshop, along with teacher Mariana Primo, who created and coordinates the initiative.
Helena explains that she started learning to crochet with her grandmother and then deepened her knowledge through video lessons on the internet. “After that I got excited. I bought some yarn and made my first piece, a rug, because it was very easy and quick to learn. Today crochet calms me down and makes me very happy, especially when I see a finished piece. I did it,” she says.
Emanuella Sena Wasilewski is a high school student and project manager. She says that at first she didn’t know how to crochet and got help from the creator of the project. “I had no knowledge; I was even very nervous about it, but Professor Mariana was super patient with me. She spent half an hour teaching me how to make chains, which is the point of easiest hook.”
Still, according to Emanuella, the workshop is helping her emotional health, especially after a period of confinement at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “It has been a very rich experience for me. It has helped me a lot to control my anxiety, and being in a helping community with the same mission is very contagious. To see that our art allows us to serve people, it’s is fine,” she says.
Family involvement in school
The project aroused the curiosity and interest of parents. Therefore, some began to participate in the courses. Currently, the project has 50 people engaged in making the blankets, including students and family members.
Zenilda Machado participates in the workshop with her daughter, Ana Gabriela, a fifth grade student. They started taking the course after being invited by Kemilly Carvalho, a friend of Ana Gabriela. According to Zenilda, the crochet lessons were what she was looking to occupy her mind and time for. “I’m off work for cancer treatment. And talking to God, I asked him to show me something I could do and help other people,” she says.
Zenilda also says that at first she thought the workshop was just another crochet class like so many others, but she was surprised to learn the purpose of the project. “When I knew it had a purpose, I was even more excited. To do something with my daughter and the young people is very good. We are very happy to be invited; it’s love for the [community].”
Steps in the manufacture and donation of material
First, the students make small crochet squares of about 20 centimeters on each side. Then these pieces are joined to form the covers, following the color combination. Family members who are not available to go to school do the squares at home. The threads and needles used in the workshop are the result of donations from course students, parents, school staff and entities that admire the project, such as Acão Solidaria Adventista (ASA).
Project for the next semester
In the second semester of 2022, the school will launch a strictly handmade scarf-making workshop. The aim is to help students who have difficulty handling threads and needles or who are not available to be at school on Tuesday afternoons.
“Our intention is to deliver these scarves to nursing homes and other institutions that serve people in need,” says Primo.