Saturday, 18 January 2020

Where should the money go?

You are being asked to donate money to a worthy cause. The problem is that there is more than one organisation asking for money for that cause.
You know the sort of thing I mean. The Red Cross, the Salvation Army, the Save the Children Fund, Greenpeace, the World Wildlife Fund....just some of the obvious ones for a start.
There are plenty more - far too many in fact. So, how do you choose?
The problem has been a very real one of late. The bush/wild fires here have meant a rush of people wanting to give and/or do something to help. 
For my family any help - financial or practical - will go towards helping those in need on Kangaroo Island. There is a good reason for this. We lived there for four years.
The Senior Cat was the principal of the Area School at Parndana back in the sixties. Yes, it was a long time ago but memories of the island and the people on it are still very strong. 
Kangaroo Island is different. The strip of water known as Backstairs Passage isolates it from the mainland. When we were there it could isolate the island altogether in bad weather. The "airport" at that time was nothing more than a landing strip and a tin shed. The weather could stop the planes from landing. The only sealed road there was "the chicken strip" road between Parndana and Kingscote. It was so narrow that the vehicle which moved out of the way of an oncoming vehicle was "the chicken". 
At the time the Senior Cat was posted there it was the largest Area School in the state. It also had the most and longest school bus runs - right into Flinders Chase. Most of the children were the sons and daughters of "soldier settlers" - settlers sent over there to farm after the war.
Things have changed drastically since then. The school is now a third of the size it once was. There are sealed roads to all the main tourist attractions.  The airport has been upgraded and the planes can land more easily. Tourism has taken over from farming.
But some things have not changed - and yet everything has changed. 
The island still has a lot of wild and inaccessible terrain. It is of immense environmental importance. They have lost a quarter of the beehives and the food supply for the remaining bees is of deep concern. One particular species of cockatoo has lost most of its food supply as well. Kangaroos, wallabies, wombats and koalas are among the 1500 or more species to be found there. There are more 60 plants not found anywhere else in the world. The damage to all these is immense. Some may have been lost forever. It still isn't safe to go in to all areas so it will take a long time to assess the overall damage.
It was all that which made me write the pattern for the koala hat and then, on the other side of the world on an island in Orkney, a knitting friend and colleague has added a kangaroo and a kookaburra to the pattern. We have published both of them jointly. Hers is available from her website - Northern Lace
Mine, which is simpler and more suited to knitters with less experience of colour work, will be available from other sources here in Downunder shortly. 
The proceeds from both will go to the Kangaroo Island Wildlife Fund. We hope that it will help the animals and the humans who work with them - and that, in turn, this will help all the islanders in their reliance on the tourist industry.
The idea is to help people help themselves. It is where money should go.

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