A group of women knit and crochet blankets, quilts and hats for babies from underprivileged families in Bangalore.
Last week, they distributed 17 quilts and 16 hats at a BBMP maternity hospital in Srirampuram. They have held at least five such campaigns here, distributing 15-25 blankets each time. The idea was mooted in October 2020 by citizens’ group Malleswaram Social to keep older people in the neighborhood engaged as they stayed at home due to the pandemic.
As the news spread, more and more people from other parts of Bengaluru, Sandur, Hubballi and Dharwad in the state, and major cities like Hyderabad and Chennai joined the cause, informs Lakshmi K , group member. About 15-20 of them are active volunteers today, 35-40% of them are grandmothers, many in their 80s, and most of them have never met. .
This is a participatory initiative in more ways than one. Each volunteer makes a granny square or a few in the colors, styles and sizes they like and sends them in. These are then tied by a trained Ila volunteer, who corrects size issues and also sews a lining of soft sarees, dupattas and dhotis. That’s why they call the initiative Caring Squares. They have no plans to expand the initiative as they want volunteers to enjoy the process at a pace they like, without worrying about deadlines. In fact, they would like volunteers to run similar distribution campaigns at a community center or hospital near them, says Aparna Desraj Urs, another member of the group.
The results are encouraging, they say. An elderly lady, who took over her daughter’s crochet to participate in the initiative, now makes whole quilts herself. A man, an origami artist, had shown interest in picking up the needle and thread. “On our last ride, two female hospital cops inquired about our initiative. One of them said she would like a quilt for her niece and we gladly gave it to her,” recalls a volunteer.
Now these squares can also be found “hugging” two trees at Malleswaram Station. They were sewn together like a pair of hands to symbolically protect these trees from being cut down, an issue that has recently sparked protests from locals.
Contact Aparna on 98860 02171 to join the initiative