The Helen Bamber Foundation is a UK-based human rights organisation
We help to mend what was broken in a safe and supportive environment
We help people who have experienced torture, trafficking and other forms of cruelty.
‘I am what I am today because of Helen Bamber Foundation.’ – Anita, survivor.
The Knitting Group started in November 2008 with the idea of bringing women together in a supportive setting. There is no formal plan, so people come and learn from each other. Some bring a lot of experience and skills from their own traditions, while others come with no knowledge of knitting or crochet and just want to learn and have fun.
The activity allows people to talk as much or as little as they want. Sometimes there are spells of silence when everyone is deep in concentration. Usually people talk more about present day-to-day matters than about painful past experiences. Some friendships have formed in the group, and there is often a happy atmosphere with people laughing and joking. There have been several moments of celebration when members have received the long-awaited news that they have been granted asylum. In addition, one of the members had a baby last year and we were very pleased when she came back with the baby to visit.
There have been unexpected benefits from knitting – for example some people find it therapeutic in itself, in that having to concentrate on knitting can take their minds off intrusive memories. Some people have made garments for themselves or their families, which can be very satisfying. Now that we have a collection of completed blankets, shawls, cushions, we have started putting on stalls, the first one at a Christmas Fair in Islington last year. We are hoping for more opportunities to sell our goods and raise money for HBF.
This autumn the knitting group are commissioning items to allow our supporters to enjoy the beautiful things that clients have made – read more about it here.