By Chris Curtland
For Emily Brink and thousands of children in Africa, happiness comes from two needles and some string.
In two years of being involved with the Mother Bear Project, the UI freshman has donated more than 30 hand-knitted bears to children affected by HIV/AIDS in Africa.
“It lets them know there’s someone out there who cares about them,” the stitcher of eight years said.
After getting a how-to-knit kit for Christmas as a fifth-grader, she has made scarves, mittens, hats, and one dog sweater. After learning about the Mother Bear Project in a book called Knitting for Peace, 18-year-old Brink seized her first chance to knit a bear.
“The pattern was also one of the only ones in the book I could actually make,” the Bloomington, Minn., native said.
Participants mostly use their own materials, but Brink uses donations, including stuffing out of her mom’s bedspread or yarn from church rummage sales.
Each bear takes Brink approximately six to eight hours to complete, which helped her log volunteer hours for National Honor Society in high school. In her first semester of college, between balancing classes and becoming a novice women’s rower, she has made two bears.
Contributed with permission from The Daily Iowan.