A few months ago I decided to learn how to knit for a cause that I am particularly passionate about.
The ivory trade has long since spiralled out of control, with an estimated 1054 rhinos poached last in South Africa alone, according to Minister Molewa’s annual report. Hundreds of baby rhinos become orphans every year, making charitable organisations like the Fundimvelo Thula Thula Rhino Orphanage more and more important in protecting and conserving the numbers of these beautiful creatures.
|Baby J’aime with some of the donated blankets.
Photo credit: Jamie Traynor, Thula Thula.
I came across a group on Facebook – Blankets for Baby Rhinos – with people who were using their knitting and crochet skills to create blankets for the orphans at Thula Thula, and I just had to get involved too. Not that I knew how to knit or crochet, but I could learn.
The Facebook page was started by Sue Brown, founder of the organisation Rhino Alerts, and friend of the director of Thula Thula – Karen Trendler – at the beginning of the year. It may sound a bit daft to be making blankets for animals that live in hot climates like South Africa, but baby rhinos rely heavily on their mothers for warmth and comfort, since they can’t maintain their body temperatures very well on their own. The blankets are basically a substitute mother, keeping them warm so that they can ensure that they can gain weight and grow in the best condition they can. 1,889 members later, and Blankets for Baby Rhinos are now making blankets for rhinos, elephants, vervet monkeys, baboons, and chimpanzees.
|Getting there slowly but surely!|
I thought knitting would be easier, so I’ve started with that first; I’ll try my hand at crochet after this current project. So far I’ve managed to get the width of the blanket, and just need to finish the length of it. It’s taking a long time, and meanwhile my mum is throwing squares off her crochet hook like it’s the easiest thing in the world. But I’m getting there, and I’ve found that knitting is actually very therapeutic. And the cause keeps me motivated enough to work towards a constant feeling of accomplishment, which really helps.