From my email:
Hot heads: Calling all knitters!
In the chilly mountains of rural Rwanda, where last year PIH's partner organization began working with the Burera District Hospital, resources are very limited and the temperature often drops into the 50s. Newborn babies, particularly those born prematurely, often struggle to keep warm. In a country where one in 10 babies dies before her first birthday, hypothermia is a serious threat.
A simple solution that can help save some of these little ones is to provide them all with beanies to keep them warm.
We are looking for knitters to help us put a warm beanie cap on every baby born in Burer--as is done in American hospitals. The Burera District Hospital welcomes about 100 new babies into the world each month, so our current goal is to provide 100 caps per month.
All beanie styles and colors are welcome. Hats can be made to fit either premature babies (head about the size of an orange) or full-term babies (head about the size of a grapefruit). We will arrange shipping from Boston to northern Rwanda.
Hats and donations may be sent to:
Partners In Health, Attn: Baby hats
888 Commonwealth Ave, 3rd floor
Boston, MA 02215
More information about this initiative and pattern samples can be found at: http://hotheadknitters.blogspot.com/
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A little background:
I first heard of Paul Farmer, the founder of Partners in Health, when I listened to the audiobook of Mountains Beyond Mountains:The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, the Man Who Would Save the World by Tracy Kidder. From www.bookbrowse.com:
At the center of Mountains Beyond Mountains stands Paul Farmer. Doctor, Harvard professor, renowned infectious-disease specialist, anthropologist, the recipient of a MacArthur "genius" grant, world-class Robin Hood, Farmer was brought up in a bus and on a boat, and in medical school found his life’s calling: to diagnose and cure infectious diseases and to bring the lifesaving tools of modern medicine to those who need them most. This magnificent book shows how radical change can be fostered in situations that seem insurmountable, and it also shows how a meaningful life can be created, as Farmer—brilliant, charismatic, charming, both a leader in international health and a doctor who finds time to make house calls in Boston and the mountains of Haiti—blasts through convention to get results.
Mountains Beyond Mountains takes us from Harvard to Haiti, Peru, Cuba, and Russia as Farmer changes minds and practices through his dedication to the philosophy that "the only real nation is humanity" - a philosophy that is embodied in the small public charity he founded, Partners In Health. He enlists the help of the Gates Foundation, George Soros, the U.N.’s World Health Organization, and others in his quest to cure the world. At the heart of this book is the example of a life based on hope, and on an understanding of the truth of the Haitian proverb "Beyond mountains there are mountains": as you solve one problem, another problem presents itself, and so you go on and try to solve that one too.
One of Dr. Farmer's major contributions is to have figured out ways to deliver quality health care at a cost affordable in the Third World. People, that is HUGE.
To summarize, PiH is a great organization that does excellent work. When I got their email about needing knitted or crocheted baby hats, I knew what I had to do: get the knitters on board!
This project is a little different than many I see in blogland. Instead of needed X number of items by Y date, they need 100 hats every month.
Can we do it? Of course. We can do ANYTHING!
And that is why I won't be donating as many hats to the preemie project this January. There are some babies in Rwanda that need them even more.