My first year in university one of my house mates taught me to crochet. I made a scarf that was hilariously crooked and the stitches were far too tight, but it was a start!
From there I made a few more scarves for Christmas presents, and even managed to tackle a blanket for my sister-in-law (which she still faithfully has, 12 years later :D). However, once I had kids, that hobby faded. I really wish I had kept it up, but in the super busy season of life we are in, I know it’s going to have to wait for a future date.
Knowing the work and skill it takes to make really good crocheted products, I love seeing the creativity and passion of others through the work of their hands. It’s even better when that work is providing opportunity upon opportunity for the artists themselves, where they might not otherwise have a chance.
Krochet Kids started to begin doing just that – equipping people living in poverty to receive the skills, education and resources they need to change their circumstances forever. We’re not just talking about the income provided from crocheting hats and scarves or sewing other items. We’re talking about lifelong impact. And that impact is tremendous.
Krochet Kids is committed to not just providing a job, but taking things to the next level. The women in their program receive a job, yes, but the also received education to move beyond the need for outside aid, and mentorship to form a plan and sustainable career for their future.
Empowering and equipping one or two people to be able to change their current lives and future doesn’t just stop there. The impact ripples throughout everyone connected to them, and so on and so forth. Studies show that violence decreases, families are physically healthier, more children are able to and do attend school, and women are given greater respect.
Krochet Kids graciously gave me an interview I’m excited to share with you!
How did Krochet Kids get its start?
It started as the high school business by our three founders, Kohl Crecelius, Stewart Ramsey, and Travis Hartanov. They began a custom beanie business on their school campus, and would crochet the beanies themselves. A local newspaper heard of their entrepreneurship and gave them the monicker, Krochet Kids. It stuck.
A few years later while in college, Stewart was on a service trip to Uganda and was helping out at an orphanage. He struck up a conversation with one of the people there, and it became clear that in war torn Uganda, what help the people there really needed was employment rather than a handout. They wanted to provide for their own families in a way that aid wasn’t allowing them to. So upon Stewart’s return to the States and after a conversation around a campfire, the three guys decided they wanted to help. They started with what they already knew how to do: crochet.
They started with 10 ladies in Uganda and taught them how to crochet, and then that number grew and the program expanded to include education and mentorship. In 2008, we became a registered 503(c)3 non-profit organization and today, we’re empowering more than 180 women in Uganda and Peru to rise above poverty.
The mission of Krochet Kids intl. is to empower people to rise above poverty. We want the empowerment to be sustainable though, and the impact to be long-lasting for our beneficiaries.
Can you explain a bit about the model and how KK works to provide and empower?
Our model is holistic. It is a combination of employment, education, and mentorship. We want to address all of the factors that contribute to a person’s vulnerability. We employ the women, most of whom have very little education, and we teach them how to knit, crochet, and sew.
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Our education model consists of classes in subjects ranging from learning how to save for their futures to healthy conflict resolution, and proper nutrition.
Why have you chosen to currently focus on Uganda and Peru?
Both locations found us in some way. Uganda was where Stewart had been volunteering and it was clear that the people there had both the need for help and the desire to work. It was the same in Peru, and it helped that we already had connections to Lima.
I understand Krochet Kids has a bit of a unique status as a non-profit business – can you explain in a nutshell how you stand out from other non-profits?
We’re different in a lot of ways. Each item is hand-signed by the person who made it, so you can get to know the person behind your products and see their lives change.
Also, the holistic, sustainable, and quantifiable aspects of our impact are unique. We have systems in place to measure the impact which allow us to make sure our beneficiaries are improving.
What are some of the different ways people can be involved in furthering your message of hope and empowerment?
There are many ways people can help support what we’re doing. They can make a purchase online. 85% of our product sales go directly to our initiatives, and allow the work to continue. People can also donate directly, and spread the word by sharing our story with friends.
What can you say to convince others of the great need to reevaluate how and where our products are made and the impact they have on others?
Products have worth because of the people behind them.
The hours and craftsmanship that go into each and every item we wear is significant, and often goes unnoticed because we’re so removed from the process. This isn’t how it should be.
Those people and their work is important and with a signature, that separation cannot continue and the importance is recognized. You know the person behind your products. You know their story, and you know that their life is changing for the better.
A homeschooled student turned homeschooling mom of 5. Passionate about teaching my children the truth of God's word through his creation and his-tory, spending time as a family and outdoors, learning how to be more creative, and giving glory to God. Seeking to serve Christ and set a godly example for my children, to grow in love and encouragement, failing forward, learning to lean on God's grace and trust in his strength.