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Hanging on by Teddy's Thread
Marvic Tours and Tales
June 20, 2005

Victoria Koning from Marvic Tours and Tales was deeply saddened after reading a news article, dated the 16th June 2005, which stated that 50 children get raped every day in South Africa. She found the words almost incomprehensible ... and quite devestating. But a small glimmer of hope was found when she learned about the Mother Bear Project (

Amy Berman founded the Mother Bear Project, which requests that volunteers knit a teddy bear based on her mother’s World War II pattern. The teddy bear then gets a little face and red felt heart sewn on to it and is shipped off to a little child in South Africa, and other countries.

Berman had read a similar article about these children getting raped, "I could not just close the magazine and continue with my everyday life knowing there were children in such pain," said Berman. "I knew I could not solve the 'big problem' from here, but I thought maybe I could bring awareness of this problem and provide comfort to the young victims in the form of a teddy," she said. “I believe every bear has a story, and we only hear a few of the thousands. “In Zambia, a little 7-year old girl who had AIDS was being stigmatised by her peers because it was known she had the disease. She stopped going to school and before she died she asked that she be buried with her bear because it was her only friend.“

“One 8-year old boy in South Africa who was living in a child-headed household, had to evacuate his home with his siblings a few months ago during torrential rains because his home was falling apart. He told his sister that he had to go and get his bear. His teen sister told him not to go because he would be risking his life. He said he had to because the bear had a heart on it and that meant someone loved him. He did get his bear before his home was totally destroyed.”

Koning contacted Berman to express her heart-felt thanks and appreciation of what was being done, and asked how they [Marvic] could be of help. Berman replied, “I am always touched by hearing from others who find out about this project and want to help. It is incredible how the Internet can bring people together.” Berman continued, “I have now sent over 6,300 bears from knitters all over the U.S. and the world. These knitters have ranged in age from 8 - 97 years old, and they come from all faiths and backgrounds. Each person has their own reason for knitting a bear, and I feel like it is my primary duty to make sure these bears are given out unconditionally as they were intended.”

In response to how Marvic and others can help, Berman replied, “People can send for a pattern and knit bears...I ask $3 and a self-addressed envelope (stamped if in the U.S.) be sent to: Mother Bear Project, P.O. Box 62188, Minneapolis, MN 55426, U.S.A. This $3 helps to pay to ship the bears and pay duty fees on the receiving end. I send each knitter a pattern and a tag. If the knitters make more than 1 bear, I ask that they send $3 for the extra bears. There are many knitters who cannot afford to pay for their bears and I will always accept the bears without money. I always need donations for shipping the bears and for all the expenses such as the P.O. Box, shipping supplies, trademark fees, printing expenses (brochures, etc) and all the costs of the things it takes to keep this project going strong. I pay the duty fees on the receiving end because I believe the people giving out the bears should not be financially burdened. I do not use the money for anything except the project expenses. I work full time in addition to running this project. All donations are tax deductible.”

Marvic aims to help increase awareness of this worthy project and the full article can be read at



                                            Mother Bear Project • PO Box 62188 • Minneapolis, MN 55426 • Email Contact