A Small Woolen Cap Can Save Children in Africa
A Small Woolen Cap Can Save Children in Africa
  • Reporter Ahn Joon-hyung
  • 승인 2009.11.18 20:51
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Last Friday night when most Postechians began to enjoy their anticipated weekends, several students of different backgrounds and nationalities gathered together in the DICE community hall and were eager to knit something out of wool. Can you guess for why they did that? As it is getting colder day by day, were they making winter clothes for themselves or for their loved ones? What was going on there?

Delphine organizes the knitting group activity!
To tell the truth, it was a group activity (GA) organized by Delphine, an exchange student from France whose hobby is knitting. In DICE, the Dormitory for International Culture Exchange, it is encouraged to make any kind of GA to facilitate attachment among residents and she collected students who wanted to make winter clothes by themselves. Several students have shown interest in this GA and she has taught them how to knit woolen caps since about a month ago.

▲ Delphine (left), the organizer of the knitting GA, is teachig a participant how to knit a woolen cap.
What, more exactly, do the participants do in this GA? At the regular meeting on Friday, they learn how to knit a cap from Delphine and check the progress on their work. Although most of them had no experience in knitting before, they could make rapid progress because Delphine kindly taught them what was wrong and what they should do whenever there were some problems. In addition to learning the knitting skills, they talk to each other about various subjects. Sharing their experiences and opinions, they were enlarging their capacity to understand other cultures. But that was not enough. There was something special in this GA.

Jaepil connects knitting GA with the Saving Newborn Baby Project
At first, this GA was planned to make the participants’ own clothes. Along the way, Jaepil Koh, a resident in DICE, happened to learn that there was a campaign to save new-born babies in Africa by sending them hand-made woolen caps which prevent their body temperatures from falling, and suggested to the knitting GA that participants join this campaign. All of them were enthusiastic to his idea and decided to take part in the campaign.
This Saving Newborn Baby Project, which is built up by a world-wide nonprofit organization SaveTheChildren, helps children in Third World countries in two ways. First, the organization sells the kits for making woolen caps and uses the proceeds from the sales to improve public health services for infants in Africa. Second, the organization collects the hand-made caps from people who bought the kits and delivers those caps to new-born babies in Africa. Although generally it is very hot in Africa, these small caps can be lifesaving because the temperature difference between day and night time is too broad, which is a prominent threat to the babies.

▲ African newborn babies wearing a woolen cap.
According to a report, each year two million babies over the world die on the day they were born, and four million in their first month every year just due to some trivial problems. We can save sixty percent of the babies through small things like disinfected knifes used for removing the umbilical cord, inexpensive pneumonia antibiotics, and woolen caps preventing hypothermia. This is why the Saving Newborn Baby Project was launched.

Small but of great worth
Now, a total of eight DICE residents are joining the knitting GA and are making woolen caps. Participating in this activity, what did they feel?
“I have done knitting as a hobby from an early age, so at first I decided to join this GA just on purpose to make good use of my spare time. But as the meaning of saving children was added to the primary aim, I could find this experience was very rewarding, much more than I expected, and I am very pleased that I could share what I have,” said participant Choi Myungwon (Undergraduate student of the Department of Chemistry).
And another person said, “Most people think that there are few opportunities to help other people because they consider it as something enormous and hard. But by changing this viewpoint, we can find many things of great worth very easily around us. So I hope that we Postechians will contribute to our global human society by searching for those things and by taking an active part in the activities."