BENGALURU : You could say Dina Sengupta has barely got any spare time on her hands. And it wouldn’t be an uncommon sight to find strands of wool or crochet hooks between her fingers either. The educator has been busy making blankets for the underprivileged children of Bengaluru and will finish making her first one in 10 days or so. Sengupta’s work is part of her volunteering efforts for the Blanket of Love initiative, which aims to ensure that children don’t get cold this winter. It was announced by city-based non-profit organisation, A Hundred Hands, last week.
“We want to encourage people to take up a craft and associate it with a good cause,” explains Mala Dhawan, a founder trustee of the organisation, which tries to bring back handmade textiles and empower artisans. The idea came from an interaction Dhawan had with some crochet enthusiasts at the annual handmade collective held by the organisation.
“A couple of people told me that their families were tired of getting crochet gifts, and they had almost stopped pursuing the craft,” she recalls, adding that the initiative, thus, has a two-fold purpose. “We want to ensure that the art of knitting and crochet doesn’t get lost. And the first thing that comes to mind when one mentions the skill is blankets,” she adds.
Understanding that not everyone may have the time to knit an entire blanket themselves, the organisation also gives people the option of sending in 20 separate or joined granny squares (where each is made of eight rounds and eight inch squares). “Our volunteers will join these to make a blanket,” says Dhawan, who wants to start the donation drive for children in hospital wards, orphanages and on the streets by mid-December.
The organisation had made a similar announcement some years ago and were overwhelmed by the response received. “We received squares from groups in the Gulf, USA and UK. Now that we have a small team of volunteers, we thought we could make the announcement again,” says Dhawan, adding that other individuals too have come forward to volunteer. The most surprising contribution has been that of youngsters who are showing an interest in crochet. “In an age when it’s easy to plug in to a gadget or screen, it’s nice to make something tangible with their hands,” says Dhawan. The organisation hopes to give out at least 1,000 blankets this year.