Bellevue-WA-krochet

In a corner of the trendy Nordstrom department store in the new open air Santa Monica Place mall on a breezy sunny day in California, is a small area where crocheted caps and scarves are displayed and sold.   They are the sort of accessories that are seen in fashion magazine photos worn by young hip models and in the mall worn by stylish young shoppers. Some of the headwear is found in bright reds and yellow stripes and some in shades of gray or taupe.  Perfect choices on the ski slope or near the surf.

Inside the hats and on the scarves, are sewn small labels, and on the labels are written names like Adokorach Proscovia, who along with eighty-six other women, crochet the hats and other accessories in a compound in northern Uganda, half way around the world.

Adokorach’s smiling face and her inspiring life story of success after a difficult life in strife torn Uganda can be found on the Krochet Kids website.   www.krochetkids.org

cache_320_280_1_sticker_packKrochet Kids is a not-for-profit business, founded by three college boys from Washington State that operates in a secure compound in northern Uganda, where the “crochet ladies” along with other members of the production team, including personnel from the US, produce and ship the colorful scarves, hats and other accessories to the US.

The crochet products are sold in Nordstrom stores across the country and working for the business has brought some stability to the lives of those who crochet the headwear in Uganda.

Uganda lies in eastern Africa with a population of thirty-two million and an average age of fifteen. Freed from Great Britain in 1962, its residents are mainly Christian, (81 %) and Muslim (12%).  The country is bordered on the west by Congo, Sudan to the north, Kenya to the west and Rwanda and Tanzania to the south.  The world’s second largest lake, Lake Victoria, is partly in Uganda and is the source of the Nile River.  It is a very poor country with thirty different languages spoken.

Uganda offers the wildlife tourism with the largest number of gorillas in the wild and other scenic wonders. The government has a tourism site, and tour operators can be found on the site:  www.visituganda.com

After independence, there was a great period of unrest and civil war.  During the rule of Amin from 1971-1979, estimates of three hundred thousand citizens were killed.  While the current government is attempting to ensure safety in the entire country, tourists from the US should review the US State Departments travel advisories as a part of their planning: www.travel.state.gov

With the unrest, civil war and the weak economy, Ugandans have suffered greatly and have found a normal life impossible.

For the last twenty years or so in Northern Uganda, a rebel army ravaged the area killing many and abducting thirty thousand women and children for their use as soldiers or as wives of officers.  The Ugandan government  provides safety camps for residents to protect them from the rebels.  So for the last twenty years, residents have had to leave home to live in camps, with social and economic life becoming tattered.

helm_insideKrochet Kits was founded after Stewart Ramsey’s visit to a refugee camp in Uganda. Kohl Crecelius, Travis Hartanov and Ramsey, were inspired to try and help refugees. They started the not-for-profit to provide employment and income to help the workers better their lives and provide stability for their families.

The company's motto,  “buy a hat, change a life”  is found on their website, along with the story of the business, photos of the ladies who crochet the hats and scarves, and financial statements of the not-for-profit.

A visit to the site and a click on “the ladies” will find Adokorach Proscovia’s beaming face and her story.  There is a page for each of the eighty seven women and their stories.  All have hope for the future and seldom can a purchase of a fashion accessory lead to direct help to someone, far away in a remote country, to help rebuild a life.

For more information, visit: www.krochetkids.org/