A couple of years ago, I started crocheting this blanket after reading Half the Sky and then learning about an organization in Ethiopia - the Hamlin Fistula - that treats women who are suffering from obstetric fistulas, a medical condition that occurs almost exclusively in developing countries as a result of poor access to health care. In Half the Sky, the stories of women with obstetric fistulas, most often caused by prolonged labor without medical intervention but sometimes also caused by rape or sexual abuse, touched me deeply. I found myself thinking about them all the time, and when I talked to my sister about it, she pointed me toward Hamlin Fistula.
When women arrive at the hospital, often after a long journey, they are given a hospital gown and a hand-knitted or crocheted blanket. They use the blankets on their beds but also wear them as shawls, and the blankets are theirs to keep forever. Crocheting a blanket feels like such a small thing for such a big problem. And yet, perhaps the best we can all do is start where we are - find a way to share our individual gifts with people who can benefit from them. I hope that the woman who receives my blanket finds warmth in it. And I hope that one day I will be in a position to do more for her and for all of these women.
After I finished, I discovered that they are only able to accept blankets in January and June because of storage issues where they receive mail. Since I missed the January shipment date, I'll be mailing this in June. I thought I'd pass along the information on making a blanket in case there are any other knitters or crocheters out there who would be interested in doing so before June (obviously, much faster than me). Please let me know if you do. If you're not a knitter or crocheter but would like to donate to Hamlin Fistula, you can do so here. And even if you're not in a position to make anything or donate, I encourage you to read about Hamlin Fistula - it is an inspiring organization.