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How Three Young Men Used Their Crochet Skills To Change The Lives of Hundreds Of People

March 6th, 2014

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Kohl Crecelius and two of his friends from high school wanted to do something meaningful with their lives and they decided to use their crochet skills to make it happen. When I first heard their idea five years ago — California surfer guy who loves to crochet beanies and wants to use that skill to lift people out of poverty — I could not have imagined how that story would develop.

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They weren’t exactly sure how they would use their crochet skills for good until one of the friends took a trip to Uganda. There he met people who had been living in government camps for over 20 years. Rebels had attacked their villages and these people had no other means of survival.  They were poor, uneducated and had little hope for their future.  A generation of children had grown up in the camps knowing no other life.

The “Krochet Kids,” as they were later described by their local newspaper, taught the women in the camps how to crochet hats, and they then helped them sell those hats back in the U.S.  That’s when we got the request in 2009 to help get them started with a donation of yarn.

It sounded like an incredibly ambitious idea.  They would have to get yarn to a third-world country, teach a group of people they had never met (and who were living in unfathomable conditions) to crochet, make sure that the hats that were made were of good enough quality to warrant a fair price, market the hats, and sell them in stores in the U.S.  It seemed like a long shot but we believed in them.


To see more about what the Krochet Kids are doing, take a look at this video:

This is empowerment. from Krochet Kids intl. on Vimeo.

Today, Krochet Kids International is a registered charity.  They have lifted over 400 people out of poverty by employing about 120 women in Uganda. They have started a similar program in Peru and their product line has expanded to include garments and home decor that are hand-sewn.  The handmade goods are sold in select independent clothing stores around the U.S., as well as at Nordstrom, Whole Foods and Urban Outfitters.

I really love the fact that each hat has a hand-sewn label with the name of the maker on it.  Not only do you know where in the world your hat came from, but you know who actually made the one you’re wearing. Through the Krochet Kids web site, you can even send a thank you note to the woman who made your hat.

If you’ve ever taught someone to knit or crochet, you know how it can change their life.  We look forward to bringing you more stories about the Krochet Kids in the next couple of months and to hearing your stories and ideas about how knitting and crochet can empower people.

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  • Kekepania

    The link on this blog, to see the LB Collection yarns, does not work. These yarns are the ones from which 10% of sales goes to Krochet Kids. Please fix the hyperlink ASAP. Thank you.

    • http://www.lionbrand.com/ Petrina

      Kekepania, the link should now be fixed. Thank you for bringing it to our attention. Happy shopping!

  • Sunnie Mitchell

    I love this! I live in the UK – is there a programme here I can purchase from the collection in order to support it? Shipping and Customs from the US on things like this are eye-wateringly expensive and so out of my budget, I’m afraid.

    I’m forwarding this to a friend in the US, though, who will love it, and she’ll pass it on to others in the US as well. The old saying ‘Give a man a fish…’ has rarely been applied so beautifully before!

  • Pingback: How 3 Young Men Used Their Crochet Skills Change The Lives of 100′s Of People | Cali Crochet

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  • Deborah Schuler

    This is what I love about young people. They see things that need doing and they don’t understand why they can’t be done so they do them.

  • Cindy Shortall

    I love how this program helps people by giving them a hand up, rather than a hand out. It is wonderful to see people given the chance to live with dignity. Thank you.

  • Sharmeen

    This is really similar to Ricefield Collective. http://ricefield.co/

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  • RenaissanceMum

    This is SO impressive!! I have to get me some yarn!

  • epad 51

    I think the Crochet Kids is a wonderful program keep up the good work.

  • Just curious

    Headline says, “How 3 Young Men….”
    But the caption between the photo says, “….of the person who made it, carrying her story wherever it goes.”
    3 young men….person who made it…her story?

    • http://www.lionbrand.com/ Petrina

      Just curious:

      The caption refers to the person who made the item you’ve bought from Krochet Kids International, and will have written their name on the inside label. This way you will know who made it whenever you wear it!

  • Monique Ouma

    This innitiative is fantastic. I moved from Canada 3 years ago to Kenya and I would like to participate in making items for donation and to encourage Kenyans to restart doing handcraft items. 2nd hand clothes have killed the local production of clothes here and needlecraft, crochet and knitting is forgotten even wool is hard to buy/find. As one of the comment below stated, shipping of wool, etc. is very expensive and wool and cotton, previously part of local agriculture is pretty dead in Kenya. Any idea how I can get the material without breaking my budget?

  • Celine

    that is so cool!!

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  • Judy

    First time here gang but a long time LB member. I understand that items are crochet or knitted. Then what happens?

    • http://www.lionbrand.com/ Petrina

      They are then sold through Krochet Kids website. Each person who makes an item signs their name on the label, so when you make a purchase you know who exactly made it and where it came from.

      Hope that helps.

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