"Afghans for Afghans" spreads warmth and knowledge

Lauren Pitts

Issue date: 10/21/05 Section: News
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In a cozy corner of campus, six women sit around tables and work on their knitting while exchanging conversation. Their discussions range from government policies, to important world issues, to their most recent reads. Half a world away, as the temperature drops and the winter weather draws nearer, the impoverished women of Afghanistan have different concerns: survival for themselves and their families.

In the wake of the war that has left their country in shambles, many Afghan people worry about how they are going to keep warm this winter, as Afghanistan is known for its dry and freezing temperatures, especially in the mountainous areas of the country.

Luckily, they aren't the only ones aware of the quandary they face each winter, and many Americans and Canadians have joined in their battle with the elements, including many students from UNH and women from the Durham community.

Their knitting projects vary in size, shape and color. One scarf hangs loosely from its needles onto a woman's lap, in tight, precise stitches of lavender and deep green. One is a cream-colored blanket, thrown in a massive heap on a table, while two small crochet needles work busily on a bottom corner. One is a simple, bright pink square, and though the project doesn't look like much now, soon it will be assembled with other squares of knitting into a large, quilt-like afghan.

In just a few months time, all of these projects will join thousands of others at The American Friends Service Committee in San Francisco, Calif., and begin their journey to the people of Afghanistan.

The project, "afghans for Afghans," was started by Ann Rubin in December of 2001, and has sent around 30,000 articles to Afghanistan in the past four years. It was brought to the UNH campus with the help of Carly Hellen, Katie Carten and Sylvia Foster, three women from the community. These women are joined weekly by ten to twelve students, as well as four to six other women from the Durham community.
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