Hello dear members

Knit-a-Square South Africa has some news that we believe everyone is will be interested to hear …

Today (Tuesday 11th) we will be moving downstairs in the same office block … to a bigger office on the GROUND floor.  We are excited to share that the new office has a large roller-door garage type opening onto the parking area which will make for much easier loading and unloading … and NO MORE STAIRS !!!

This new office space is 150 square metres, as compared with the 100 square metres we are occupying at present in two rooms – and out of which we are already bursting, due to the large the volumes of parcels coming through each week !

We are also happy to say that our landlord has agreed to keep the basic rental cost at exactly the same level – at least until end February, in accordance with an addendum we will sign on the existing lease.  Having said that, there will be an increase in costs in respect of the monthly “shared” costs which are raised in respect of utilities, rates, Wi-Fi, services, parking and so on.  These must be calculated in line with the increased space … in fairness to the other tenants.  There was no way to avoid this aspect, but we are hopeful that the difference will amount to no more than another R1500 per month (US$120) extra.


Speaking further about the financial situation with KAS SA …….

As is well known, in this financial year we attracted help from MedLemon to collect navy scarves and run two knitting training schools on their behalf, one in Soweto and one in Diepsloot.  In support of this, we were given a sum of money as a budget to cover all the costs involved in running the training schools ourselves.  We, separately, received a sum of money towards our rental costs in lieu of the scarf project (an amount which potentially gave us 3 month’s office rent in hand.) 

This, coupled with the wonderful forum “Pay the Rent” campaign via PAYPAL button on the website, has been instrumental in enabling us to pay the rent each month without anxietyIndeed, we must say how sincerely we appreciate every single donation we receive from you, our contributors. 

We will, however, keep exploring other avenues of income, though at present Knit-a-Square in South Africa is in an extremely labour intensive distribution phase, and, we are not finding time to make effective inroads in this area.  Hopefully, after September when the distribution workload eases off, we should be able to focus on this aspect of finding additional funding.

Feedback received from MedLemon indicates that they have been extremely happy with the way the project worked in this first, experimental operation.  Nevertheless, we are by no means assured that they will want to work with us again. Nor do we feel that you, as our overseas contributor base, were entirely happy that we became involved with corporate South Africa in this way. 

Certainly, we did fall far short of our initially stated target of achieving 6700 navy scarves by Mandela Day in July, which we had, with hindsight, been over-confident about !  We simply based our calculations on the thousands of squares we receive every month and did not sensibly take into account the realities.


All’s well that ends well though, of course … and Wendy had cleverly built into our training budget, a contingency amount which allowed us to buy 3000 scarves, as most of you will know by now.  This means, in fact, that MedLemon themselves paid in full for those scarves, without extra financial cost to Knit-a-Square.  Although we may, perhaps, allow ourselves a modicum of disappointment that not even a small amount of “fat on the bone” will have remained by the end, with which we might have rewarded Wendy after she has so loyally shouldered a massive workload in her professional capacity.

Also, it is true to say that, from October, once the training project has ended, the MedLemon budget will have dissipated to zero in our bank account,  while our monthly operational costs remain at a level of between R25,000 - R30,000 (US$2000 - US$2500).

Knit-a-Square is an incredibly labour-intensive operation – currently, we are not coping on a purely volunteer basis any longer, but our costs would double if we were to “employ” expertise where needed.  In order to give members a picture of operational costs, we are working to produce the true cost figure of wrapping a child in a blanket. Something, perhaps we should have done a long time ago!


We do so hope that the practical reality of Knit-a-Square’s current situation is well-received and understood by all our valued contributors – and that we can find the best way forward from here. 


Let’s comfort ourselves with the knowledge that Knit-a-Square is powered by love, not only of crafting, but also for the orphaned and vulnerable children of South Africa. We can, therefore, comfort ourselves in the knowledge that there will be a way forward. Thank you.


Ronda Lowrie


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  • Also, I've read a lot here about the possibility of producing some sort of brochure to promote the KAS work.

    I can offer my reasonably professional graphic design and publishing skills here if they are needed - I could design some sort of brochure from clear guidelines and a selection of photos, at no cost to KAS... just a thought.

    However, you've probably got plenty of people your end who could do that but if not...

    • Heather, judging from your wonderful composite photos, I would say you have skills that some of the rest of us don't have.  Will email you later about this.

    • Heather are you sending your donation directly to Ronda through the South Africa KAS page?  You can avoid Paypal exchange rates from Australia to SA if you contribute directly through the SA page to Ronda.  You will find it on the first page of Knit-a-Square.com before you click on the Forum button.  Look in the column to the left.  Click on it and Paypal directly to Ronda will come up.

      • Thanks Helen - I'll do that in future. It's a standing order payment, though, so I'll have to work out how to cancel it first.

        • Cancelling is easy - I think I did it by just going into "My Account" on Paypal.

          Right now we are not set up for ongoing payments to SA, so you might have to remind yourself once a month til we get a Subscribe button installed on the SA account.

  • I have always given a certain proportion of my monthly salary to my church and various charities that God puts on my heart. Not long after joining KAS, I set up a regular monthly payment of £10 to KAS through the main page 'donate' button.

    Earlier this year, a regular monthly payment to missionary work came to an end, as the people concerned changed direction. I started to pray about where God now wanted this money to go now - it was £30 - and very soon, the 'Pay the office rent' discussion was opened on the forum - how much? - £30 a month! A definite answer to prayer! So this is now committed to KAS as well as the other £10.

    Just a drop in the ocean, I know, but many drops make a puddle and many puddles make a river...

  • I have just read every word and The Suggestions are sound and I am sure have been written in an IDEAS LIST.

    So good to hear all the honest discussion. We all hoped that a SA corporate would be now have 'adopted' KAS but amazingly that has not happened to date. So many people there know about KAS now. It will be a lot of work to attract help but let's hope the Sun shines on us soon. The rent is very high isn't it. I am so glad Linda has that KAS VAN game going, as ever since I started knitting in July 2011 Ronda has been dragging bags of squares from here to there and back again. If someone could do a cartoon of that Ronda dear I am sure you could get a laugh from it. 

    I won't say any more but hope the wheels turn. Anne your fact exposure is very eye opening, thank you.

    I spent such a lot of money on publishing the Wool-Girl and the Balls of Wool fund-raiser book that I only knit with donated yarn or very low cost op.shop yarn. To buy yarn, knit or crochet and mail enough squares for a blanket is a very expensive activity which I cannot afford. I will not send a parcel for ages and will just send more cash as I can. 

    • Maudie, it is very kind of you to offer to stop sending parcels and send cash instead. but even if several of us do that, it will not solve our financial problem - it will be a drop in the bucket. 

      We have to seek out other sources of income for KAS and in the long-term, as has been mentioned several times already in this discussion, some sort of corporate sponsorship must be found within South Africa if we are to carry on.

      Unforunately, Ronda's message about fundraising got lost in cyberspace the other day, but she promised to re-post it today.  Stay tuned....

      • A question - Does the fee to make the monthly transfer stay the same i.e. a set fee or is it a % of the amount?

        • Paypal takes a percentage, I believe.

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