If you’re an avid knitter or crocheter, chances are you’ve had this familiar thought while walking through the department store: “$40 for THAT?! I could MAKE that!” It’s always more satisfying to make a sweater or a scarf on your own than it is to just buy one – for one, you’re saving money, and for another, there’s that warm and fuzzy feeling you get from seeing the surprised look on peoples’ faces when they found out you made it yourself. Still, there are always times when you HAVE to shell out for a store-bought item, whether it’s a last-minute gift or you just don’t have the time. If that’s the case, though, I have a way to make you feel a little better about it.
These organizations are all dedicated to empowering women around the world by teaching them to knit and crochet! By teaching women in struggling countries a marketable skill, they’re given agency and a way to produce income for themselves and for their families, resulting in a higher quality of life. By purchasing a knit or crochet item from these websites, you’re giving back to women around the globe (and scoring a cute new gift for yourself in the process!)
1. Krochet Kids
Krochet Kids, based out of Uganda and Peru, provides women with jobs, education, and mentorship to help them create a sustainable career for themselves. This offers them opportunity far beyond just learning to crochet – it results in lasting change for the women and for the countries’ economies. Their products are extremely affordable and can be purchased from their website here – they offer clothes, accessories, bags, and hats for men, women, and children, so the whole family can score some new digs! Each product is hand-signed by the person who made it so you know you’re making a difference.
Aptec Peru teaches hand knitting to the women of Peru, where the skill has mostly fallen out of common knowledge due to the rise in manufacturing. By teaching women – including many widows, single mothers, students, and grandmothers – to knit, they give these women back a part of their heritage and allow them to be self-sufficient. You can learn more and meet the designers on their website here, or purchase their products here!
3. Artesania Sorata
Artesania Sorata works with Bolivian women to teach them how to knit and provide them with education and medical care services that would otherwise not be available to them. These services, along with the skill of knitting, help the women develop confidence in themselves and improve their quality of life. They create beautiful hand knit items, from fingerless gloves to baby booties, that can be purchased here! You can also learn more about them at their website here.
Naguska’s focus is female farmers from the highlands of Peru. They’re a family-run organization who works to provide these women with the skill to knit. As farming is the main source of income for the women and their families, they can’t leave their homes during the day to take up a job – therefore, learning to make their own handmade goods is essential to their ability to have a career. You can purchase their products, made from alpaca wool, right here!
5. Manuela Ramos
Based out of Peru, Manuela Ramos seeks out women in rural areas and teaches them artisanal skills, which is often the only opportunity these women have to make money – many of these places are without electricity, so there is a limited potential for growth. Manuela Ramos is also politically active in campaigning for better conditions for these women and working to improve society as a whole. Their website is in Spanish, but you can buy their adorable handmade knit goods right here!
How do you give back to your community? Have you ever taught someone to knit or crochet?
P.S. If you haven’t yet entered our #StitchWithLove giveaway, check it out – it ends on February 14th!