A letter from me to you

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by sandy on April 12, 2012

It really has been a long time between posts.

Many of you reading this will have received the recent Square Circle ezine, so you will be familiar with the latest developments in KasCare, most excitingly that we are venturing into Zimbabwe, the birthplace of all of the family currently involved in KAS, here in Australia and in South Africa.

The fact that Knit-a-square has continued to grow, indeed flourish under the ministrations of many committed and good-hearted people is a source of constant inspiration to us all. It speaks volumes about the power of community and what people can do when they are invested in a common cause.

As others picked up when we were forced to retire from daily activity, I watched with delight, not a little humility and some personal frustration for my inability to get really stuck in once again!

A return to All For Orphans and re-involvement in KasCare and Knit-a-square is not without its personal complications. Whatever isn’t that’s worth anything?

The whole story will be told one day, when it can do the most good for the children.

But for the moment, I wanted to share with you just a little about this journey of the last 18 months, by way of explaining the gap and now a return, as I can to All For Orphans.

While our personal circumstances are greatly altered, we would not have it any other way. We have learned a great deal and not least of all from the remarkable KasCommunity.

A key learning is how little material issues really matter. From this to this below, is a case in point.

From this to this.

It caused us all so much stress and anxiety to sell our much loved family home, but now that it is done, does it matter?

Not really, our lives have not stopped, our love for each other has not changed. We still eat and celebrate, have friends and are able to function in business. It has indeed been a cause for re-evaluating what does matter, what should count and how much we still have to offer.

Our new home, dilapidated as it looks, is roomy inside, warm and very close to where Cressida and Sunny now live. So how fortunate are we and how much more do we all have then the children whose cause we champion.

While it has taken time, at last I’ve been able to bring a synergy between my new business, Why You Must Blog and KasCare.

Our involvement with KAS was so much about building the community. Part of that process was impassioned communication about the dreadful circumstances facing so many million children.

Impassioned communication is really dedicated blogging by another name. Many businesses acknowledge they need to blog, but they don’t know how or why.

So why not bring that knowledge to business owners and work with them to build their own community. The reasons were multi-fold.

Yes of course, they would need to pay. But more importantly, could I inspire them to see their community as a vehicle for doing good beyond just selling more product or gaining more custom. Might they understand the power of community to achieve the unachievable?

A decision to become involved in some additional study has offered many further insights.

It has involved me in a 30 week business development program, the first part of which was identifying exactly what it was I could offer from a business perspective and to whom. Part of that was working on ‘the big picture’.

It was a privilege to be given this opportunity for reflection. What came into focus was just how great an impact the KasCommunity has had on how we both see life and wish to be involved in business.

As an example, few can surpass what has been achieved by a world-wide community of caring women and men, whose other passion is knitting and crochet.

It showed me how to put the two together. Then I realised that could not happen without a return to a real involvement in KAS. The two could not occur in isolation.

The ultimate goal is daunting. I plan to present to large audiences on the power of community, possibly around the world, which may be a bit ambitious, but without a dream, not much happens. As an insurance policy, if I don’t make it, it won’t be for lack of trying!

By default, that means that more people will know about the children, more people will go about their business thinking perhaps they could do something similar, and more people will swell the ranks of our KasCommunity.

The starting point is the book I’m writing. It is due for completion at the end of May and I will write more about it in Why You Must Blog.

We look forward to bringing you news about the children, people who are doing amazing work in southern Africa to improve their lives and government initiatives too. Despite the problems that beset many countries in Africa, there are attempts to make things right and for that we should all be grateful.

Thank you for taking the time to read this. Please let me know if there are areas you would like to know more about that concern the children. With warmest best wishes, Sandy

PS. This cannot be written without acknowledgement of Dawne, who kept All For Orphans going at a rollicking pace with her considered commentary on all things to do with the children, and with knitting and crocheting for knit-a-square. She is now immersed in study, but we hope very much one day that she will reappear in All For Orphans.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Pam Antink April 13, 2012 at 13:00

Thank you Sandy for being open and honest about the family and the developments you have faced in the past 18 months. KAS has carried on, but only because you and the family lit the fire until it became a roaring blaze – the rest of us just took up the responsibility of adding the logs to ensure that this wonderful institution continued to gather momentum. We are so glad that you are able to spare some of your precious free-time to revamp not only All for Orphans, but the website too. Without doubt the McDonald family have pioneered the way forward – a charity that makes a DIRECT difference to the lives of orphaned children in a manner that makes each one of us realise our own personal value, and, that by connecting with KAS members from around the world our strength has created a formidable team!

Anne Powell April 14, 2012 at 15:39

Sandy, thank you for posting this. I have been on the KAS journey since way back in 2009, almost since its beginning, and I am aware of the ups and downs and life-changes you and your family have gone through. On the way, you certainly have gained experience in what can happen when you launch a dream that might seem impossible, but once given wings, and with enough commitment, can change a whole lot of things for the better.

I am excited to hear about your book ‘Why You Must Blog” and I’m hoping that you will inspire many business folk and others to turn an idea into a passion and begin to change the world. It has worked so well for KAS…what a business model!…. from the first few squares that arrived in January 2009…. to the community that stretches around the world, that it is today. We are changing thousands of lives.. one 8 inch square at a time…. the lives of vulnerable children, yes… but also the lives of those who participate as knitters, as donors, as friends and as part of the KAS community.It’s a win-win situation for all of us.

St. Francis of Assisi said at the end of one of his benedictions “And may God bless you with enough foolishness to believe that you can make a difference in the world, so that you can do what others claim cannot be done to bring justice and kindness to all our children and the poor”

Are we foolish?? Maybe.. but sometimes “foolish” works..and with your experience and enthusiasm, you can pass on all that has been learned from KAS…

Mary April 14, 2012 at 19:32

Hi Sandy!
Every time we hear from you, we are inspired to make even more items for the children in South Africa, and to spread the word to all we know.
Thank you so much for everything you do! A many thanks to all your family, too! Through KAS I truly have new friends in Australia and many other parts of the world, too!
All the best,

sandy April 16, 2012 at 09:03

Pam, what a lovely analogy, lighting the fire, stoked by the community lovingly fanning its embers. Think it needs an illustration. Indeed you are right, KAS is a formidable team.

Anne, I’m excited that you see the potential for businesses to realise they can make a difference too. Along the way I hope we can garner support from many of them for KAS. And if it is not us, then the fact that they are doing good elsewhere is cause for celebration. It’s been quite a journey so far, watch out the next few years! What an apt benediction from St Francis, thank you for sharing it. Who could have imagined one square at time could impact on so many?

Mary, your creativity is also an inspiration. Do you remember laying the squares on the floor of your local cafe and sending us a photograph in 09?. It was the first time that we saw the potential of lots of squares and we were SO excited. Thank you all.

Erica April 18, 2012 at 11:09

I’m so glad you’re writing for the blog again! I always look forward to seeing new posts. (I think your new house looks lovely, by the way!)

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