Knitting toques for Nepal

Fundraising dinner slated for Oct. 26 at conference centre

There are a whole lot of young orphans in Nepal who will be able to don woolly toques against the biting cold of the Kathmandu winter this year, thanks to a group of 50 local women who call themselves the Jjajas.

It’s an informal group who meet to sew, knit and collect clothes and school supplies for the Compassionate Resource Warehouse in Victoria for shipment to underdeveloped countries around the globe.

This year, the Jjajas — the word is a derivation for an African word for grandmother — have joined forces with Child Haven International, raising $1,000 to build a shelter at one of that charity’s orphanages in Nepal. They also supplied toques for the children, along with the cash donation.

Spokesperson Maureen Hanright said the group has also collected an additional $1,400 to donate to Child Haven at the upcoming  Child Haven Dinner, slated for Friday, Oct. 26 at the Parksville Community and Conference Centre.

That donation, she said, will be put towards the Child Haven needs tree, which allows donations to be targeted to specific requirements at each of the nine Child Haven International orphanages around the world.

“The needs tree is for special expenses that the various homes have,” said fellow supporter Edith Kenny. “It could be dental work for the children, construction of an extension, vitamins, building funds — anything outside the normal. The orphanages house, clothe, feed and provide medical care, but other expenses arise.”

Inspired by the ideals and philosophy of Mahatma Gandhi, Child Haven International is a registered charity founded in 1985 that helps children and women in developing countries, who are in need of food, education, health care, shelter and clothing, emotional and moral support.

Hanright said the Child Haven dinner raised a whopping $37,000 in a single night last year and she’s hopeful it will do as well this time.

“The community is very generous,” she said.

Entertainment for the dinner will be provided by Kumbana Marimba and local columnist Nancy Whelan will do a question and answer session with Child Haven founders Fred and Bonnie Cappuccino.

“We’ve never done this before,” Hanright said. “There are lots of questions people have for them. Where did you meet? What brought you together? What about overhead expenses?”

As in past years, the dinner will feature to-flight Indian food, along with a silent auction of exotic items from businesses around the area and items brought from India specifically by the Cappuccinos for the event.

Tickets are $40 each — $13 for those under five years of age — and can be purchased at Amrikkos, Fireside Books and The Shoe Inn.

“There will be no tickets available at the door because we always sell out about two weeks early,” she said. “It’s very popular.”