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Prisoners’ gift from the heart for bushfire victims


When the devastation from the recent bushfires in South Australia became clear, a group of female prisoners in Adelaide decided they wanted to help those affected in some way.

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In what they describe as a project that ‘comes from the heart’, in recent weeks a group from the Adelaide Women’s Prison has been busy making Amigurumi animals (the Japanese art of knitting or crocheting small, stuffed wool creatures), and crocheting cuddle dolls and blankets to be donated to families impacted by the fires.

In addition they have been crocheting ‘nests’ which have been sent to Kangaroo Island to be used in the rehabilitation of wildlife.

Prison chaplain Helena, who distributed the items at the Lobethal Crisis Centre, said she had received some “moving responses from grateful recipients” who appreciated the efforts of the group.

A prison spokeswoman said the six women involved in the project started learning the art of crochet last year during weekly classes with a volunteer facilitator.

“She taught the women how to make Amigurumi animals which the women took to with great gusto,” she said.

“Making these ‘giraffes’ were the first time some of the women have made such items and in a couple of instances, the first time some of them had even held a crochet hook and learnt how to crochet.”

The spokeswoman said when the bushfires devastated large areas in the Adelaide Hills and on Kangaroo Island the group was determined to help in some small way. They agreed to put their crocheting skills to good use and make items for families and animals that were impacted.

One of the participants admitted she “got a bit teary” when asked to speak about the project.

“All I want to say is that is comes from the heart,” she said.

“I just want to pay it forward. I think of all the farmers that have given to us. I just want to give back to them,” said another participant.

The group of women continues to crochet for a good cause and is committed to making blankets for inclusion in ‘nurture boxes’ which are given to families of patients who are reaching end of life and are in palliative care. Nursing homes and other institutions offering care to the sick and vulnerable have also benefitted from the hard work of the group.


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