A few weeks ago, I was sitting at Denpasar airport frantically googling Garuda Air to check out their safety ratings before I got on one of their (potentially death trap) flights with the World Vision team headed to Palu in Indonesia. This seems like strange behaviour and something I really should have thought about well before the 5 seconds previous to boarding but that’s how my brain functions sometimes. Super fun.
The reason why I was there is because I was travelling with World Vision as one of their blogging ambassadors. This was my second trip with WVA – I went to India in 2011 and when everything fell into place this year to go to Palu I jumped at the chance. I always feel so incredibly privileged to go on these trips.
Firstly, it’s a travel experience like no other. I get to go to places no one usually goes with local guides and I get to meet people I would never have met in my regular life. People who live in villages that have no internet. Kids that can’t go to school because their parents can’t afford uniforms. Communities who despite their perceived disadvantages are some of the happiest, most joyful and relaxed people I’ve ever met in my life. I walk away from these trips feeling different, which is a really big thing for me because I don’t feel feelings very often. I don’t bury them I just don’t have them. I have a very even temperament (generally happy with high energy and I’m only low if I’m tired or feeling down for a very specific reason) so these trips are like a state altering drug for me. They make me feel small which is excellent. Every middle class, educated white person should be made to feel like they don’t matter every now and then. It’s very healthy. On the other hand, these trips also make me feel powerful. I have skills and an audience. I can do some shit here.
I’ve been mulling over an idea for a while now and everything fell into place for it to work for World Vision. Fundraising is really hard because there are so many awesome charities out there that deserve your money but I’m fully aware that resources are limited. Most people can’t afford to support every person who takes on a charity challenge and it’s heart breaking. You want to do what you can but when seven of your cousins and everyone you went to high school with signs up for a charity challenge, it’s just not possible to support everyone. I also feel like giving to charity can feel so empty – you give them your money and you don’t really see or understand what it was for.
I’m not dissing fundraising campaigns in general (it’s f-ing hard!) but just simply asking for money doesn’t feel good to me and it’s never felt good to me to give charity money like that either. That’s why I did Silly Things For A Bus a few years ago. Money is precious and I want to earn it.
I wanted to create a fundraising and awareness raising campaign that could include everyone, so whoever wants to contribute to the project can contribute with whatever resources they have. Time, money or skills. There’s an opportunity for everyone here.
What is it?
It’s a charity group blanket project called the Vision In Blue Blanket Project. I’m requesting granny square donations from keen bean crocheters and then there will be a sewing it all up party in Melbourne when I have all the pieces.
Once the blanket is complete, it will be raffled off. So non-crocheters (or crocheters!) can buy raffle tickets if they’re keen to go into the drawer to win it or even if they’d simply like to support the cause.
I have a free granny square tutorial available for anyone who wants to learn to crochet too. To grab your free lesson just sign up here.
Hang on a minute, what is this even for?
World Vision never ask their bloggers to fundraise – their KPI is actually awareness raising not fundraising but I was like ‘FUNDRAISING I SHALL DO!!!’ and they were like ‘Cool Carly. Whatever. Go nuts.’
The money that is raised through raffle ticket sales will be given to the livelihood sector of World Vision Australia. This is my favourite of the sectors because it provides practical solutions for continued livelihood like providing training for locals to make their own organic fertiliser in their villages rather than continually having to provide commercial fertiliser through fundraising programs that might fall through and cause the collapse of entire villages.
This sector also provides training for women to learn to make handicrafts from local sources and recycled materials. They then sell these handicrafts, mainly coconut baskets and soap flowers to generate income for their family and their community. This gives women autonomy in their own communities and allows them to purchase things like uniforms and books for their children to attend school. Growing up in Australia where public education is free and mandatory and having spent several years as a teacher myself, seeing kids not attending school because they can’t afford it makes me so angry. Especially when the price of ‘affording it’ in Indonesia is often pretty similar to a cheap dinner out in Australia. It’s so incredibly unfair.
Fundraising can be a band-aid solution for a lot of charities so this is why I chose the livelihood sector. The money will be used to create sustainable solutions so eventually World Vision can phase out sponsorship in these areas as they become self sufficient, more handicraft vendors are set up and more kids can go to school with the supplies they need from the community generated income.
What can you do to help?
1. You can share this post with all the people
If you don’t crochet, don’t want to learn to crochet and you don’t have spare funds to purchase raffle tickets, a share would be amazing. Even if you just tell someone about the project at work today or send this post around in an email or whack it up on your Facebook page. I’d really appreciate it. You can even go old school and print it out and pin it to your office pin board. Are office pin boards still a thing?
2. You can crochet and donate a square
This is a super fun option and I’ve got so many of my Crochettes on stand by for this already but the more the merrier! If you crochet or you’d like to learn here’s the particulars of what I need.
- Granny squares with 5 rounds
- Made in 8ply 100% cotton yarn with a 4mm hook
- In shades of blue and cream
And (pretty please!) with all the ends woven in
I know it seems like I’m being very bossy but it’s the only way to get a gorgeous blanket that people will actually want to buy tickets for.
Here’s a picture of some of my first squares for a style guide:
You can send your granny squares to
Parcel Locker 10012 12897
371-385 Gore Street
Fitzroy VIC 3065
When you’re done, just chuck it in an envelope and make sure it reaches me by Friday 7th July. Don’t wait until the last minute though – send them as soon as you can!
3. You can come along to the sew together party
The Sew It Up party will be on a date to be confirmed in July. The venue is also to be confirmed but anyone is welcome to come along. It will be Melbourne and most likely on a Sunday afternoon. Stay tuned!
4. You can buy a raffle ticket to win the blanket
When the blanket is all ready to go,s I’ll launch the raffle for it. Anyone can buy tickets and you can buy as many as you like!
That’s it! I’d really love your support in any way on this project and if you have any questions at all just give me a yell.
Keen to help? Are you going to donate a square? Share the post? Buy a raffle ticket? Or all three?
Don’t forget to sign up for the Smaggle newsletter so you can get in first when the raffle tickets go on sale!