Limerick group knit jumpers for underprivileged kids in Africa

CHIP SHOP BABIES: JUMPERS KNITTED FOR AFRICAN NEWBORNS

Elaine Holmes

Reporter:

Elaine Holmes

Limerick group knit jumpers for underprivileged kids in Africa

Margaret O’Connor and Fr Pat Seaver holding some of the many small and brightly-coloured jumpers. Below, the group

OVER 60 tiny, brightly-coloured jumpers are hanging on a clothesline in Munchin’s Centre ready to be delivered to poverty-stricken newborn babies in Africa.

As part of the international Chip Shop Babies initiative, members of the senior club in the centre knitted the jumpers for the underprivileged children. 

The term Chip Shop Babies began when it was discovered that many newborn babies in developing countries were born without any clothes to put on.

As a result, the newborns were then wrapped in newspaper, similar to a traditional fish and chips supper.

Tutor at the Limerick and Clare Education and Training Board Bernadette Bourke, who has knitted some of the jumpers, said: “A Reparation sister travels all over the developing world. She was in contact with a midwife in Africa where children were being brought home in newspaper because their mothers were so poor. She then developed a simple knitting pattern. It’s a lot nicer and warmer than a piece of newspaper.”

The jumpers are knitted with acrylic wool in bright colours so that they are attractive looking and easy to wash.

“We might be more inclined to put white, pink, or blue on our babies, but those colours aren’t attractive culturally to people in Africa. For example, white is a symbol of death over there,” explained Ms Bourke.

The jumpers are delivered in person by the sister, to poverty-stricken or sick children.

“Some of the babies are born with Aids or are born in war-torn countries where children are rearing children themselves,” she said.

She added: “It’s a lovely thing (handing over the jumpers). It’s like when people fall in love and get married or have a baby and everybody gathers around and gives them presents. 

“Everyone is very touched by the gesture.”