A couple of weeks ago I mentioned that my niece, Sarah, and I are working on a project together. I promised I'd come back and tell you what we're doing.
Recently Sarah was sitting in a hospital waiting room while Addison was having some tests done and of course she was reading a magazine. She came across an article that inspired her to contact me. I've been known to crochet a few things in my time. Addison was the latest recipient of my great-auntiness - a very pretty pink baby afghan. :-)
Millions of babies born prematurely in underprivileged countries die every year for want of something as simple as antibiotics, training for skilled birth attendants, immunizations, education on breastfeeding and basic care such as drying a newborn baby and keeping it warm. It's estimated that these simple measures could save 70% of these babies.
Something as simple as a knitted or crocheted cap can save a premature newborn by helping keep it warm. This is where our project is aimed. When Sarah told me a simple cap could save a baby, I was overwhelmed. We take these things for granted in America.
The Save The Children organization teamed up with the Warm-Up America Foundation, a charity dedicated to providing knitted and crocheted items to people in need, and issued a call for knitters and crocheters across America to make a simple cap for a preemie. They're calling this program Caps to the Capital. They're collecting the caps and presenting them to President Bush as a demonstration that our country can and must do more to help these babies.
If you are interested in doing this worthwhile thing, go here for all the information and a kit you can print out. The kit includes knit and crochet patterns, tags to put on the caps, instructions for getting them to Save The Children in time for their White House presentation and a format you can use to write a letter to our President.
These are the caps I made:
I made twelve of them. They only take about an hour and a half each to make and I made these while Cameron was here and I couldn't do anything else. You'd be amazed how small they are. Sarah told me that when she finished her first one (a pink one :-) her husband Chris questioned the fact that it's so tiny. So she measured it against one of Addison's preemie caps and it's exactly the same size. Addison weighed four pounds at birth.
I did not spend a dime on these - they're all made from leftover baby yarn I had on hand. The only thing this cost me is a little of my otherwise wasted time and a small amount of postage.
This is what I'll be sending to Save The Children:
This is: my twelve little crocheted caps with tags attached that tell my name, where I live, and the message I wrote on them, "God bless the child who wears this cap."
I'm putting them in a plastic bag and using the largest padded envelope I could find. It doesn't matter if they get smooshed - they're crocheted caps.
This is my letter to President Bush. I wrote:
Dear President Bush,
When you present your budget to Congress in January, I urge you to remember that each year two million babies born in developing countries die within the first twenty-four hours after they are born.
These little babies are dying for want of such simple things as training for skilled birth attendants, education on breastfeeding, antibiotics and immunizations. They're dying for lack of something as simple as a warm cap to wear during the critical few days after they are born.
Here is a warm cap to keep one precious baby's little head warm. This is my humble contribution to help save the life of a baby.
Our country can do so much more to help these babies survive. Please tell Congress that we can save millions of babies by putting a little more of our budget towards health programs for mothers, babies and children in developing countries.
You are always in my prayers, Mr. President.
The Save The Children organization is only asking us to make one cap (I'm an overachiever). That's only three quarters of an ounce of yarn and an hour and a half of time.
I wanted to put this out here early enough for anyone who'd like to do this to have plenty of notice. Save The Children needs them by January 2nd.
You know, I don't think about these issues as often as I should. But while I was working on these little caps, I thought about these babies constantly. To think that the little caps I made are eventually going to be on the tiny heads of newborns in a country far away from me just takes my breath away. It's a very good feeling.
I hope you'll consider doing this, too.
While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them at the inn.
Top photo by Malawi