Elizabeth Museo Muema is the founder of Crochet Kenya. The 33 year-old is a Public Relations professional and has been married for eight years. She and her husband are blessed with two daughters. She tells us more about Crotchet Kenya.
Maryanne: What is Crotchet Kenya all About?
Liz: Crochet Kenya is a community-based organization. It was founded on the basis of donating chemo caps to cancer patients in hospital –both adults and children. The caps are intended to make patients feel warm and loved as they go through chemotherapy. The hats also act as accessories to female patients whose hair is falling or has already fallen off, and who feel that they need some cover up.
Maryanne: Who Makes up Crotchet Kenya?
Liz: Crochet Kenya has membership of 38 people; 35 women and 3 men. 25 of these women have skills in crotcheting and they volunteer to crochet for our donations cause. Since starting our operations a year ago -in September 2014, we have so far crocheted and donated over 500 chemo hats. We have donated twice to Kenyatta National Hospital’s children’s ward, and twice –in partnership with the Faraja Cancer support center. We donate based on how fast we make items for donation.
Maryanne: How and Where did it all Start?
Liz: The idea started off when I was pregnant with my second born. I was soul searching and asking God what it was that I could do to give Him glory that is in line with my talents. While doing so, I started buying yarn in local shops, knitting needles and hooks, with the intention of making baby items for my coming baby.
During the pregnancy, I was put on total bed rest for three weeks and during that time, I had all time to knit. However, I soon abandoned after I realized it was too slow and I just couldn’t read patterns anyway. So I tried to crochet and surprised myself when I found it to be super-fast and plus I was also able to easily read patterns! I researched and read free pattern designs via YouTube and I found out that I could make a dress, booties and hairbands.
When my baby was born in March 2014, she would wear the items I had made for her, which I would also share with my friends on Facebook. Somewhere along the way, I saw online groups and crochet clubs that were giving back to community. They were crocheting and raising funds for HIV, for heart disease, for premature babies, for cancer patients and other such ventures.
So I shared the idea with my husband David Muema who suggested I register it as a community-based organization, then share the concept with my family and friends and hopefully build membership from there. Registration was also important because we wanted to ensure we were legitimate in our cause. My husband helped me understand the value of keeping a project sustainable and not always going deep into our pocket or joint account to fund the program because it is expensive.
I prayed about it and my heart settled at crocheting to donate to cancer patients, especially children in hospitals. I then registered the community-based organization at the DC’s office in Ngong. Then I started crocheting. My sister and friend soon joined me.
In September 2014, we gave our first donation -45 hats. By October, we realized we needed more help to ensure we had more hats to donate. Then more and more ladies started calling to donate yarn and others to volunteer in crocheting the hats. Today, we have over 30 volunteers. Some are donors of yarn, packaging material, and marketers of group. But majority just crochet for donation.
Most of these volunteers are working mothers with very busy schedules but hooked to crocheting as their way of unwinding and relaxing (crocheting helps relieve stress). So they just sacrifice and create time for the group. Crochet Kenya would not be where we are without these ladies. God put this idea together and brought the right people to support me. We need to remember the sick in hospitals, widowed and helpless.
Maryanne: How do you Fund your Activities?
Liz: Within our group we have sponsors. They sponsor yarn, packaging material, printed cards, cloth logo labels etc. However, our main funding initiative is the crochet items we sell, which include; baby sweaters, blankets, dresses, booties, shawls, ponchos, adult scarves, hats, toilet/bathroom sets, afghans, house slippers, blouses and many more. 70 percent of the sales go to Crochet Kenya while the volunteer keeps 30 percent.
Maryanne: Where does Crotchet Kenya Operate From?
Liz: We all work from our homes. Crochet Kenya has no employee as we’re all volunteers. What we do is set targets. For example, 10 days ago we started the 40 hats and 40 verses in 40 days challenge. As Christians, this is meant to help us remember what our cause is and pray for strength for ourselves and for those to whom we are donating the chemo hats to, that they may receive God’s healing.
We meet every two months to package the hats and teach each other new stitches and designs. Most of us are Christians and prayerful women. For many of us, and especially me, this is a Ministry.
Maryanne: You’re a Mum of Two Beautiful Girls. Tell us a Little about Your Motherhood Experience.
Liz: Motherhood has taught me to be careful of children’s feelings, to be patient, to forgive and the ability to have so much love. I can say that from the moment you give birth, it’s like there is something that is birthed in you to grow up and be responsible for little hearts.
Sometimes though motherhood is not easy and if not careful, it can break you, especially the pressures of being ‘perfect mum’. However, I have discovered that there is the reassurance that nothing is new under the sun and that God is there to help you be a good mum.
Above all, I have chosen to have fun with my girls no matter what. So, we play together, we dance all the time to kid’s songs and hold campfires. Oh, and we also draw all the time. As a parent, I can tell my fellow parents that what you do with your children makes all the difference for you and them.
Maryanne: Thank you Museo for your time and kudos for the good work you are doing.
Are you a woman who is giving back to society, or do you know of one who is? We would like to feature you or her, as the story might inspire someone else to do the same. Email me on firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll get back to you.