We started partnering with the people of Karogoto in 2007. One of the reasons (besides having strong community leadership) was their first priority… They asked if we could help establish a knitting program for the poorest women in the community.
Pastor Harrison was the chairman of the Leadership Council at the time, and I asked him why he was prioritizing a women’s business over a project for the men. It was clear to everyone involved that there were many men sitting idle in the community and it seemed only logical that they do something to get the men to work. Pastor Harrison’s response was simple. “If we can put the poorest of the poor women to work, we know that food will get to the children. If we put the men to work, they will only drink the profits.”
Paul McGuinness (from Parker Hill Community Church) sent me an interesting article confirming Pastor Harrison’s comment. You can read the article here… http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/23/opinion/23kristof.html
I visited Karogoto a couple weeks ago. They now have about 100 women trained in knitting and ready to begin work. Their challenge, however, is that they only have enough knitting machines for about 50-60 of the women to produce product. The cost of a single machine is about $1,200, and each machine can be shared by 2-3 women. The women recently pooled their resources and purchased one additional machine, but they’re asking for help with another 20+ machines.
Over the past 18 months, the women have produced enough pullover sweaters for all of the school children in five 410 Bridge communities. We’re close to securing a permanent facility for them and we are very excited for the future. If you’d like to assist the women of Karogoto with a knitting machine, or even a portion of one, click here to make an online contribution. Your assistance will not only help the women in the community, but their children as well.