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     Issue 18: April 2013 • Visit Mother Bear Project online at www.motherbearproject.org
News from Mother Bear Project.

Mother's Day is May 12!
Send comfort to a child in Africa in honor/memory of your mother or grandmother by sponsoring a bear!

For $10.00 we will name a bear for the gift recipient and send a gift card out.
Learn more ›

Donations of Forever stamps are always needed and appreciated!

Mother Bear recipient
Mother Bear Lyra
Mother Bear recipient
Mother Bear Nancy
Mother Bear recipient
Mother Bear Sarah
Mother Bear recipient
Mother Bear Joanne
Mother Bear recipient
Mother Bear Corinne
Mother Bear Recipient
Mother Bear Jussara
Mother Bear Recipient
Mother Bear Marga
Featured Mother Bear: Priscilla Homola

Like many Mother Bear Project knitters, Priscilla Homola describes herself as being "hooked" on knitting bears. Over the past 6 years she has knit 444 bears and she doesn't appear to be slowing down anytime soon.

"I aim for 100 bears a year. About two a week," Homola said. "Mother Bear Project is my number one charity I donate to."

Homola first read about Mother Bear Project in a book called Knitting for Peace: Make the World a Better Place One Stitch at a Time by Betty Christiansen.

"At first I knit just two bears," Homola said. "After a year, I tried again, and I was hooked! Every time I try to quit, I keep thinking about those beautiful children waiting for my bears, and I’m spurred on again."

Child with Donated Bear

Homola explained her initial slow start to knitting bears: "At first I didn't think of our bears as primary—after all, they're not food or clothing or medicine or education. But the more I consider, this is as important as food or drink. It is tangible love, direct from our needles. Often, I'll see a photo of a child holding one of my bears, and I think this child may never have had a toy to love, ever. And now they have someone to tell stories to, to sing to, to hug close."

Homola is creative with her bear designs. She knits themed bears, such as bears for holidays and characters out of storybooks, like her Red Riding Hood Bear.

"I had fun figuring out panda bears!" she remarked.

Featured Mother Bear Priscilla Homola

Homola is thankful to her mother - a self-taught knitter for Church World Service - who passed down to Priscilla the itch to knit. She is also eager to give thanks to the "yarn shop ladies all over the country who support us in our projects" and to the many people she knits with: her good friend Diana Standen, her knitting group, and her sisters Margaret and Cindi - all of whom have sent at least a bear or two to Mother Bear Project.

Homola remembers looking through a few Mother Bear Project photos of children with their bear and making a delightful discovery.

"I studied a group shot of about a dozen primary school girls in South Africa," Homola recalled. "I saw Cindi's bear, but standing next to her - it could have been her sister - was a girl holding my bear. Two sisters - or best friends - had received bears from two sisters who live a thousand miles from each other. It was probably the most touching moment for me."

Through photos like these, Homola appreciates that Mother Bear Project gives her the opportunity to see her direct impact on the children she knits for.

"What I love about Mother Bear Project is that, somehow, through Amy's devotion, industry, and organizational know-how, we are participating in a grass-roots organization that we know is reaching the children we want to connect with,” she said. "There are few places that give such a reward to the giver."

Amy's Corner


Dear Friends,

As I write, I am listening to the birds chirping and the hippos grunting as well as the lions calling—noises I have been enjoying for the last few days in my tent by the Zambezi River. I have been distributing Mother Bears in Zimbabwe and in addition to visiting schools, clinics, a hospital and an orphanage in villages around Victoria Falls, I had a chance to visit one of the Children in the Wilderness Camps and distributed our bears to 30 campers while participating in their well-run program that serves orphans and vulnerable children that live in rural areas. Mother Bears have been going to several of their camps in Sub-Saharan Africa for many years, and to see this program in action was truly a privilege.

I have had the opportunity to learn about the circle of life up close with these children and even watched "The Lion King" with them under the stars. Watching their reactions to everything has been so touching. Nothing however prepared me for their reactions to our Mother Bears. I explained to the children how these bears, made by people who care about them all over the world, have been sent to be their new forever friends, and that if they love their bears, their bears will love them back. They can talk to their bears, play with their bears, and sleep with them at night.

Bears on Jeep
Thirty bears went to camp.

I saw huge smiles and many kids wanted their bears tied on their backs the way moms carry babies in Africa. To see many of these children carry their bears around with them everywhere, from game drives to meals, warmed my heart. Usually when I have distributed bears, I am only around very briefly, but at camp I got to interact with the children and see how these bears will be a source of happiness and comfort for a very long time.

On the last day of camp, we got the children situated in their vehicles as we said our goodbyes. There were hugs and tears all around. A teacher named Sylvester who accompanied these children to camp turned to me with a big smile and said, "Keep on shining Mother Bear!" Click here to view photos from this trip.

Amy red flag

Zimbabwe Group Photo
Click photo to enlarge +