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Knitting Calmness

crochet

A group of volunteers crocheting therapeutic dolls 

Knitting Calmness (סורגות הרגעה) is the title of a WhatsApp group that is the brainchild of Naama Bramson Yohananov. Naama and her family were holidaying in a hotel on the Dead Sea on that terrible October 7. She was there on the following days when the first bus loads of evacuee families arrived from Kibbutz Be'eri and she saw the desolation and despair in the eyes of the children who had survived the trauma, bringing nothing with them but the clothes they were wearing. This experience left a deep impression on Naama, who, like so many other concerned citizens, was desperate to help the victims of those horrific events in any way possible. Being a special needs teacher and a busy mom, Naama decided to take advantage of her experience and her own and her friends' crocheting skills to knit small dolls for the evacuee children, hoping that they would bring them some comfort. A WhatsApp group was set up giving exact instructions of how to crochet the dolls and what yarn to use and very quickly the group grew to over 300 active volunteer knitters. 

From feedback Naama received in those early days, she and her group of volunteers came to understand that the dolls are not only comforting, but also have a potential for healing, and that it would be most helpful to give them to therapists as an aid when working with children suffering from trauma. They started by contacting social workers and community coordinators in the welfare services who enthusiastically agreed to distribute the dolls to therapists to include in their workshops and therapy sessions with the children. They have found that the dolls are needed by children of all ages, and even older ones need not be shy to own one. They are little creations that can be carried in a pocket, in a satchel or even hidden under a pillow at night. The children can enjoy their soft comforting feel, and share with them their fears and frustrations and their longing for the home, the friends and the routine that they no longer have.

As time goes on, awareness of the therapeutic potential of these sweet little dolls continues to grow. Therapists have found that adults can also be helped by them, and they are now becoming part of the trauma therapy workshops for adults being held around the country. As of February 2024, over 3000 dolls have been distributed to people in need throughout the country.

Some of the stories shared with Naama's group of dedicated crocheters demonstrate how the dolls are often finding their place in tragic circumstances. At a condolence visit for five murdered members of Kibbutz Be'eri who were temporarily buried in the center of the country, a member of the group gave a doll to one of the mourners and it was passed along from hand to hand with each mourner feeling the connection and warmth that brought them all together. Another story was from a mother from the Gaza area whose child went to school without her doll. She called her mother anxiously asking her to bring her the doll as she could not face the possibility of a rocket alert without her doll. In addition, many requests for dolls have come from parents of traumatized children and children suffering from serious afflictions. Recently a special delivery of dolls was received with great pleasure at the nursery school attached to the children's cancer ward of Sheba Hospital.

Small and comforting, these are dolls on which to project your innermost thoughts and feelings, who will listen to your prayers, your yearnings, your nightmares and your stories and dolls that will console you when you are sad. They are made by people who care. People who are hoping to bring some relief to those suffering from the terrible ravages of personal trauma.

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Monday, 22 April 2024

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