My son, Julian, gave me this hand-knitted monkey a few Christmases ago, and it’s one of my favorite crafts! He got it at our local Whole Foods. The company, Kenana Knitted Critters, that coordinates these crafts is one of the models I am researching as I expand the work I do (art/craft therapy). What works? What doesn’t? Is it sustainable? Well, there is no doubt that the quality and charm of the work is top notch. And the overall message is beautiful.
Kenana Knitters started in Njoro, Kenya 1998, to help rural women find some much needed form of income using their spinning and knitting skills.
Njoro is mainly a farming area – agricultural work for the men is easier to come by than for the women-folk, yet agricultural wages are insufficient to support large and extended families. What we produce helps us to support our farming communities here in Kenya and to build a secure future for our children.
We are a self-supporting knitting co-operative and pay ourselves a fair wage. In addition our sales fund a range of welfare projects here in Njoro, Kenya.
Knitting is ideal. It requires minimal equipment, can be done in snatches when time permits. When the rains come and the family crops and vegetables need tending, not much knitting gets done, but in times of drought and crop failure, when the family garden is bare of supplementary vegetables, money can now be earned to purchase the necessities of life.
The group generates two forms of income; buying the wool locally then creating more work by turning the wool into marketable products such as toys, bed-covers, scarves, hats and other accessories.
We promote the work of other local artisans such as the Ziwani Weavers, based in Nyahururu, helping to bring their beautiful hand-spun, woven shawls & blankets to a wider market.
From our Kenya knitting base, we export directly to our Distributors around the globe. Worldwide sales fund a range of welfare projects for the benefit of the knitters, their families and the wider community:
- Eye tests
- HIV/AIDS Counselling
- Friends of Kenana