A bit of Canadiana in Africa

A bit of Canadiana in Africa

Gifts come in all shapes and sizes. Sometimes, they even come in the form of an iconic part of Canadian culture.

One of the projects at Seeds of Change, the Kibale Health and Conservation Project in Uganda, receives a donation of a different kind:  tuques made in Vancouver, B.C. They are hand-knitted by Edith Leroy, whose nephew, McGill Anthropology Professor Colin Chapman, co-founded the Kibale Project six years ago.

Edith uses wool that is given to her for free from a second-hand store in her community. From there, she knits one hat per day – and has been doing so for about 10 months. (That’s quite a collection for a town halfway around the world to appreciate!) Colin brings the tuques along when he flies to Africa to visit the Kibale health centre, where they are given to children who receive treatment at the clinic or as prizes for the outreach program.

Colin is lucky that he gets to see first-hand how much this donation makes an impact on the community. “The children are surprised they are getting something without any strings attached,” he says.

When the children ask him where the tuques come from, he explains that his aunt knits the hats especially for them. “When the children find out it’s a family member who made them, it’s even more special than something you could buy them in a store.”

Kibale's nurse, Dennis, and a few local children

Kibale's Project Director, Patrick Omeja, and a few local children

Instead of memories of a painful malaria shot or a scary operation, the children return home with a hat and something that is more valuable: happiness. When walking around the community in Kibale, you can see the hundreds of people touched by Edith’s gifts, as children and adults alike wear their colourful tuques with pride.

The result is clear: simple act, big impact.

To find out more about the Kibale Health and Conservation Project, click here.

If you want to read more about the other projects we support at Seeds of Change, click here.

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