Knitting group raises money for Filipino farmers

Knitting group raises money for Filipino farmers (iStockphoto)

A knitting group based in New York is helping to raise money for rice farmers in the Philippines.

The Ricefield Collective, founded by Meredith Taluson, aims to provide employment to a community of farmers in the country's Ifugao region and sells handknitted products locally and internationally, The Cornell Daily Sun reports.

Started in 2011, Ms Taluson, who grew up in the area, befriended a local rice farmer who was suffering with financial difficulties and decided that she must help the community.

She then used Kickstarter to help fund the project and went to the region to teach knitting to her Filipino team.

It has since grown to 20 employees and is encouraging the spread of traditional crafts skills.

After surpassing its goal of raising $24,600 (£16,055), Ricefield Collective has more than trebled its target and is looking to create a facility for the program, which may also be used as a community centre.

It uses knitwear patterns by popular Dutch knitwear designer Stephen West, many of which draw inspiration from the Philippine mountains.

They feature cable and rib designs down the sides and are each made with thick American wool and given a homemade appearance.

Commenting on the project, Ms Talusen said: "We wanted to give people an opportunity to give themselves employment and be able to have control over money that they make rather than being given things directly."

She explained that using charity money in this way ensures that it is more sustainable and people know exactly where their funds are going to.

"It's important that we employ them and provide income for them, but it's also really important that the quality of their life improves apart from the money or financial aspect," Ms Talusen went on to add.

She also noted how following knitting patterns was a great way to teach basic literacy and numeracy skills to women in Ifugao.

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