Saturday, December 14, 2013

Winter Cold and Lots and Lots of Hats!

In September Studio Syria started a yarn club in Zaatari Refugee Camp. It was fun and successful with many women and kids making their own warm clothing and enjoying the therapy of creating, learning and teaching. Hats, gloves and sweaters were made and worn proudly.

It soon became clear, however, that the need in the camp for warm clothing was dire, so with winter approaching Studio Syria's Laurie Balbo decided to keep as many children warm as she could. Partnering with her friend in Ireland, Virginia Nitz, the women collected 4000 donated hats! With shipping donated by DHL and a hefty customs duty fee paid by Laurie's fundraising effort, the hats were delivered to Zaatari Camp on Wednesday. The American organization International Relief and Developement coordianted. The next day the camp was hit with snow that became the worst storm Jordan has seen in many years. You can see Virginia's Facebook about her hat collecting adventures here. And read about Laurie's customs adventures here.

Studio Syria, based in Seattle, served as a collection point for American hat makers involved in the project. We collected over 500 hats and gave some to our local friends the Salaam Cultural Museum who have already distributed them to refugees in Jordan. We also sent a selection to refugees in Turkey with Play4 Syria. The rest will be hand carried by Jean to Jordan in December. See photos of all the American hats on the Studio Syria Facebook. 

Meanwhile Canadian knitters did not want to be left out and have been adding to the mix.

What a crazy wonderful scheme Laurie and Virginia. And what glorious results! Laurie's next plan is to raise cash for shoes and socks. Having warmed the heads and hearts of 4000 kids already she is taking care of cold and wet feet too. Donations of money for shoes can be made to Studio Syria or directly to Laurie's Paypal. If you don't think kids should have bare feet and sandals in freezing weather please donate. We'll buy new socks and used shoes in Amman.

And if you are in the Seattle area you can drop off donations of new socks, pajamas and underwear - as well as clean blankets and warm clothing (used is fine) at the Salaam Cultural Museum. Rita will ship them to Jordan for refugees there. She also needs vitamins and children's cold medicine. Containers leave from Seattle regularly. Read about Rita's efforts on her blog.

Give money to Studio Syria here.

Give blankets and supplies here:

Studio Syria
1618-10th Avenue W
Seattle, WA 98119

The Salaam Cultural Museum
3806 Whitman Ave. N, Seattle WA 98103 (Wallingford)
Thank you.

Opal looks at an aerial photograph of Zaatari camp and guards some of the Seattle hat collection.

Hats on heads. Seattle's Salaam Cultural Museum distributed these hats in November.

These hats were distributed at a SCM clinic in January.