67 Blankets teamed up with humanitarian Catherine Constantinides to hand out blankets to the community of Booysens Informal Settlement.
Johannesburg, South Africa (26 January 2021) – The community of Booysens Informal Settlement lost everything in a fire on Friday the 22nd of January. 500 shacks were burned to the ground, leaving people without any food, warmth or a roof over their heads.
With the wind whipping through Gauteng yesterday, humanitarian Catherine Constantinides couldn’t bear to think of the people who had lost everything going without warmth. Hence, she partnered with 67 Blankets to go hand out blankets to the community.
In December 2013, Zelda la Grange, late former President Nelson Mandela’s trusted assistant, presented philanthropist and ‘Arts Angel’, Carolyn Steyn, with a challenge: knit, sew or crochet 67 blankets!
These blankets would then be distributed to those in need on Mandela Day. In honour of Nelson Mandela, celebrated each year on the 18th of July, Mandela’s birthday. The United Nations officially declared the day in 2009.
Carolyn gladly accepted Zelda’s challenge, but soon she called on her friends for help and developed a Facebook group called “67 Blankets for Nelson Mandela Day”. In just days, hundreds of people from around the world had pledged to knit a blanket for Nelson Mandela Day.
Since then, 67 Blankets for Nelson Mandela Day has transformed into what some are calling a “movement” – a movement that has captured the attention of many South African and international celebrities as well as corporates and “KnitWits for Madiba” in Australia, Belgium, Canada, Germany, Cyprus, London, the US and India.
“Never doubt that a small group of committed people can change the world. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has.” #BeBRAVE #LeadFromWithin #HumanitarianAid #CommunityRelief #BooysensFire 🙏🏽🕯♥️🇿🇦 pic.twitter.com/a5L59HNkBh
— CATHERINE Constantinides (@ChangeAgentSA) January 26, 2021
Catherine has been at ground zero of the fire since it happened, coordinating the various groups who have been there feeding and clothing the people who lost everything.
67 Blankets reached out to partner with her, to make sure everyone got a warm blanket knitted with love by the various donors from 67 Blankets. Carolyn Steyn, the founder of 67 Blankets, shared the donation’s news on the 67 Blankets Facebook Group. She added thanks to everyone that helped get enough blankets together to assist the community.
“Today 67 Blankets reached out to the amazing Catherine Constantinides who has had her feet firmly on the ground assisting with the rescue efforts in Booysens where thousands of people have lost their homes and pretty much all their possessions. Jaco Lötter came to collect blankets from head office, mostly made by the employees of Absa South Africa. Thank you Angela Kilian for sending these our way. They certainly came in handy today. I cannot imagine the huge pressure these displaced people are under right now. First the fires. And now the heavy rains and cold. Thank you to our 67 Blankets family members who work tirelessly to make distributions such as this possible. Each and every KnitWit is a ROCK for this organisation and stitch by stitch, TOGETHER we are able to make a difference in so many thousands of lives.” – Carolyn Steyn