Dorset knitters come to the rescue with Lullaby Africa teddies

Knitters from Burton [near Christchurch, Dorset] have come to the rescue before Lullaby Africa leaves for Uganda at the beginning of September.

Helen Howes and Isobel Tutt-Leppard are due to run baby-bonding classes in the Ugandan town of Kisoro in September. But they were running short of the knitted teddies they take to provide a toy for the babies and toddlers who attend their clinics.

Step forward Rosemary Reeves and fellow members of the Burton Ladies’ Sewing Group, which meets at St Luke’s church hall. “We heard about Lullaby Africa and realised that we could help. Many of our projects are for charity and we were touched by the need to help parents form an attachment to their children.”

After several weeks of hard work, the club has provided 55 teddies, which Helen and Isobel will distribute to the families they meet. The teddies they take are all produced to the same pattern so all children receive the same gift.

The picture here shows members of The Burton Ladies Sewing Group, with some of the teddies they have knitted for Lullaby Africa. Left to right are Gill Gillham, Rai Warren, Sue Epsom, Diana Martin, Gill Farwell, Pauline Pritchard and Denise Webb.

Helen Howes, Lullaby Africa’s founder and a qualified play therapist, said, “The babies love to play with these teddies. As we see more and more children with each visit, we need a constant fresh supply, so we are very grateful to the Burton Ladies Sewing Group for their support.”

During the day, many of Africa’s slums are silent places. At Lullaby Africa workshops, mothers and carers learn how to sing and talk to their babies, massage them, play and laugh with them. Helen says, “It seems so natural for us, but when you are facing violence and deprivation every day, the softer side of parenting can go out of the window. Yet all the research shows that a healthy bond between carers and their babies is vital to the health and well-being of both parties.” Lullaby Africa also works with local leaders, social workers and volunteers to build ongoing support for the families they reach.