Support comes in many forms. Armed with a basket of rainbow-coloured wool and apparently bionic knitting needles, this is the story of a retired granny in West Yorkshire who’s touching the lives of young girls and their babies thousands of miles away in Kenya.
The stats are grim. Around 25% of Kenyan children will be sexually abused in their lifetime. The situation has left deep scars on the social fabric of the country. At the Beehive Nakuru (www.beehiveafrica.org), Jane and Alan Hutt are working with very young mothers and their babies to love, restore and heal them in a family setting, encouraging them to return to education or vocational work while giving them the precious gift of a loving family home. As full-time Christian workers, they live entirely on support which is where Diane Macdonald, our retired knitting granny, comes in.
Diane met Jane and Alan when she and her husband Colin were pastoring a church in Suffolk. She followed them on Facebook, touched by the stories of girls’ lives being torn apart by abuse but then knitted back together by the love and support at the Beehive. In 2018, Diane had an epiphany. “I’ve always loved knitting. I made a few items for some friends who suggested donating money to the Beehive in lieu of payment. I realised I could do something to help and that’s how BuzzKnits came into being.”
The Beehive is the only home of its kind in Western Kenya – girls are referred by the local government children’s officer and the numbers are rising. With no financial contribution from the Kenyan authorities, Jane and Alan need to find all their income through support raising. BuzzKnits has been both an emotional and financial support, as Diane explains. “The full purchase price of all items is donated to the Beehive, with no deductions. It’s a small drop in a vast ocean of need, but it does help! At first, I didn’t have much confidence in myself, but then I realised that my Heavenly Father had equipped me for just this task.”
Diane isn’t one to let the grass grow under her feet. As soon as BuzzKnits was up and running, a veritable torrent of knitted crocodiles, elephants, giraffes, owls and zebras began to pour from her talented needles. Her Facebook page has attracted a warm and supportive community of knitting fans and clients.
The roots of BuzzKnits reach far into Diane’s past. “From my teenage years, I’d always felt that some kind of missionary work was my path in life. I visualised myself flying off round the world to help those in dire need, but that’s not how my life turned out. Now I realise that God has given me the chance to have this ministry after all. I don’t particularly think of myself as generous – I love knitting and it seems good stewardship to me to add value by taking wool worth a couple of pounds and turning it into much-needed income for the Beehive. Better yet, I now know of people who follow and contribute to the Beehive because of my little enterprise.”
“Those precious girls and their beautiful babies have found their way into my heart and I care about each one of them. I am totally in awe of what Jane and Alan do. They’re where God wants them to be, doing His will and they have an amazing amount of God-given love for the girls and their babies.”
Jane and Alan treasure all the support they receive from home. “It’s amazed us just how generously Diane has taken the Beehive family under her wing. She’s a huge support to us. She messages often and sends many words of comfort and support for us all, which is so needed. Her gift from God, her knitting ability, is a wonderful thing which not only helps to raise much-needed funds for our ongoing work here in Nakuru, but also shares our story with people we’d otherwise be unable to reach.”
Following a pattern of God-given talent and generosity, the retired knitting granny from West Yorkshire is changing lives, a stitch at a time.