Snowflakes for Uganda


Alice is making crocheted snowflakes to help pay for her children's school fees in Uganda. Photo courtesy of Susan Hall. 
Snowflakes arrive at the Trading Post for Fiber Arts. Photo: Kate Larson.

Susan Markle, owner of the Trading Post for Fiber Arts in Pendleton, Indiana, just received a box of snowflakes from Uganda. You might be thinking that there isn't any snow in Uganda, and you would be correct! Several Ugandan women are providing for their own families and others by crocheting snowflakes. Here is how the project came about.

Seattle-based mental health counselor and feminist theorist Susan Hall is currently living in Uganda. While there, she has helped take on the financial needs of four local families. She knew she wanted to help the families create some type of small business to help with school fees and medical costs, so she began brainstorming. Susan remembers, "My mind went back to the delicate snowflakes my grandmother had made years ago that I put on my Christmas tree every year. I did a bunch of research to figure out how long it took to make a snowflake, how much yarn they used, if the pattern rights were available, how much they sell for, the cost of packaging and postage, etc., and my analysis convinced me that we could make money selling the flakes. Thankfully, my hunch turned out to be correct.  I'm about to pay school fees and childcare costs for four kids, and that will be the last of the $1,800 raised with this initiative for 2013." The first one hundred packages of a dozen snowflakes each were crocheted by Beatrice and Alice, whom you can see on the Snowflakes for Uganda Facebook page. Both women had crocheted before, but the snowflake patterns were new to them. 

Spinner, weaver, and fiber-enabler Susan Markle is a friend of Susan Hall's family and heard about the Snowflakes for Uganda project. She ordered a box of beautiful snowflakes and has them for sale in her shop, connecting her spinning community with fellow fiber artists in Africa.

Susan Hall, Beatrice, and Alice are planning to continue making snowflakes. For more information, visit Snowflakes for Uganda and click on About.

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