Silvan Primary School students helped to make teddies for orphans in Syria.
The 23 students and their teachers worked with local Aussies Knitting for War Affected Kids (AKWAK) member Jenny O’Brien to fill the colourful, hand-knitted bear skins with stuffing.
They’ll be sent, along with knitted clothing and blankets, directly into Syrian orphanages and Displaced Persons’ Camps.
Each child named their bear and attached a card with that name, the knitter’s name and the student’s name, plus a photo of the student with the bear.
“We had such a fun afternoon,” Ms O’Brien said.
“I showed the kids pictures of the cold, wet conditions in the Syrian camps, and told them a little bit about the difficult conditions in which these families live.
“The kids were so pleased to be able to do their bit to help these children.
“They took to the stuffing like ducks to water, and several of them asked could they learn to knit.
“I’ll be starting a knitting group at the school next term.
“I suspect the kids want to make bears for themselves, as well as for the Syrian children!”
School principal Damian Tirchett said the project was a real eye-opener for his students, to learn about the terrible conditions that children were exposed to as a result of war in their country.
“We have all enjoyed contributing in an effort to help others less fortunate than us,” he said.
The bears are based on the trauma teddy pattern distributed by the Red Cross, and are very simple to knit.
Many people all over Australia are knitting bears as well as clothing and blankets to help AKWAK fill a shipping container each year, packed in the Yarra Ranges each August and shipped to Syria with help from the Australia Syria Association.
Volunteers in Syria distribute the items directly to children in orphanages and camps.
Last August the Silvan students dropped into the Silvan Hall to see the thousands of toys, garments and blankets being sorted into individual packs for Syrian children.
This year they jumped at the chance to participate in creating toys themselves.
AKWAK is growing fast and always welcomes new knitters and crocheters.
Find them on Facebook or visit www.akwak.org.