12th June, 2013

Helping the Fish and Chip Babies

In a conversation last week with his mum Dotty, Jeremy (Bensons MD) seriously began to question whether his mum had finally lost the plot when she said she was knitting for the “fish and chip babies”! Several curious questions further Jeremy discovered that Dotty was actually referring to a knitting scheme that appeared to have started in New Zealand several years ago.

The term fish and chip baby was coined after babies born in the poorest areas of Africa are wrapped in newspaper to keep them warm. The mother’s don’t have any clothes for their tiny newborns and often the babies leave hospital still wrapped in the newspaper and therefore reducing a baby’s ability to survive longer than a few weeks.

So to help improve the chances of survival the knitting scheme was started and busy knitters across the globe have been making jumpers, vests, beanies and blankets.

Dotty has been using the wool she has left over from other projects. She said “when I was told about the scheme I thought how wonderful to be involved. So my friends and I decided to get together and began knitting the vests and now blankets”.

It certainly seems a fantastic way to catch up with friends socially, have a good old natter (gossip? Jeremy’s observation! ) about life and still be productive by knitting at the same time for such a great cause.

The great news is that the situation has improved to such an extent that many of the babies born are surviving beyond the first few weeks. Since the scheme started the charities involved have received an overwhelming amount of knitted vests and now the focus of the knit has switched to other items that help to keep the babies warm both at birth at in the longer term. As a result the need for vests has diminished but now there is a greater need for knitted and crocheted squares to make baby blankets and cotton vests, and jumpers and cardigans for older babies and children.

If you are a keen knitter or crocheter (is that a word?) and want to get involved then you can find out more by visiting http://knitforafrica.weebly.com/index.html