Winters in Mongolia are extreme. Warm, well-made clothing can allow a child to go to school or an adult to go to work. In some cases, it can literally save a life.
The Dulaan Project, a cooperative effort of the Flagstaff International Relief Effort (F.I.R.E.), Mossy Cottage Knits and the Kunzang Palyul Choling (KPC) Buddhist community of Sedona, is asking the people of northern Arizona to help meet the needs of Mongolia's impoverished people.
Dulaan is the Mongolian word for warm, not just physical warmth, but also the warm heart of human love and compassion.
The knitted items will be included in the yearly delivery made by F.I.R.E. The nonprofit was started in 1993 by David Edwards, an internationally known local photographer.
Through the years, many of the recipients of the clothing have been orphans in Ulan Bator and in more rural areas.
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"Our Dulaan Project has received almost 1,000 hand-knitted items for the children of Mongolia," said Meredith Potts, director of F.I.R.E. and director and studio manager for Edwards. "We always accept donations all year long. Our current most-pressing needs are for children's clothing and money. We are also looking for a 1,000 square-foot warehouse."
Local knitters have been asked to create simple sweaters, hats, mittens, socks, neck gaiters and scarves for all ages from babies to adults, especially for children ages 2-10. Knitters participating in The Dulaan Project can use whatever yarn and colors they like. Clothing should be warm and simple.
There are also patterns for double-thick fleece blankets that require no knitting or sewing. Volunteers need to cut the fringe around the edges of the fabric, stretch them out and tie a knot in each strip, close to the blanket.
Links to knitting and blanket patterns are posted on The Dulaan Project Web page: www.fireprojects.org/dulaan.htm.
Knitted winter clothing is needed by July 1, in time to be packed and shipped to Mongolia sometime in August.
Packed items should include a paper with the name and address of the maker and the number and types of goods included. This information should be put into an envelope which is taped securely to the box.
Send items to The Dulaan Project, F.I.R.E., 107 N. San Francisco St., Studio 4, Flagstaff, AZ 86001.
For more information, call 779-1966.