Stacey Gibson is a Hamlin champion determined to help out the best way she knows: through getting crafty with knitting and crocheting. After hand-crafting a series of beanies and adorable toys called 'octopals', Stacey chose to donate them to the Hamlin Shop to help raise funds for obstetric fistula patients in Ethiopia
Altruism is a key motivator for much of what Stacey does. After moving to Lennox Head in New South Wales' Far North Coast roughly eight years ago, Stacey started working for a foster care agency, supporting foster carers, children and birth families who are often in complex situations. Her values shaped her support for Hamlin's work in Ethiopia as well. "I'm quite a feminist and support anything that improves the lot of women around the world. Women's rights are human rights - giving them more support to education, health care and services. I read the books about how sad some of the women's cases are in Ethiopia and how poorly they can be treated - and how Hamlin is helping change that, free of charge thanks to fundraising here," says Stacey.
Stacey learnt about Dr Catherine Hamlin's work through reading her autobiography, The Hospital By the River. "It picked up on my interest on amazing women's work around the world. I'm in awe of Catherine and Reg, and the kindness and generosity that they were trying to spread throughout Ethiopia - and across the world with the people they trained. It's an amazing thing."
Stacey's journey with knitting and crocheting only started a few years ago, when she taught herself how to knit and crochet after walking past a craft store. "I got on the internet, stated watching youtube and reading websites and stated teaching myself knitting, and then crocheting. I found crocheting to be a bit more creative and haven't really stopped since then!" recalls Stacey.
For Stacey, getting crafty helps in switching off from the rigours of daily life: "I've always been a creative kind of person, it's my main hobby to help relax in the evenings. It helps balance out a busy work life."
Hand-knitted in a variety of fantastic colours, Stacey's knitted beanies are a wonderful accessory for the colder months. Available in small, medium and large sizes, these beanies are great for a variety of ages.
"Someone at work mentioned the octopals, and I thought 'Oh, that's crochet, I could probably have a go at that!' They also mentioned that the octopals are apparently very good for premature babies in hospitals because it resembles the umbilical cord so the little bubs can play at the tentacles instead of pulling out the tubes they're attached to," explains Stacey.
Lovingly handmade, and available in a variety of delightful colourways, Stacey's octopus plush toys, adorably named octopals, are now available on the Hamlin Shop site. It takes Stacey around one day, or a couple of evenings, to make both the octopals and the beanies.
A fantastic gift for a babies and toddlers, these octopus toys are one of a kind. As each octopal is unique, sizes and colours may vary, however they are approximately 20 centimetres in height.
After lovingly creating her beanies and octopals, Stacey chose to kindly donate them to the Hamlin Shop to help raise funds for fistula patients. They are available in a new collection on the Hamlin Shop site called Hamlin Homemade 2021.
"After running out people to give gifts to, I started making things for charities and organisations. It gives me something to do, keeps my fingers busy and goes to a good cause!" explains Stacey.
100% of proceeds from the Hamlin Handmade collection help the Catherine Hamlin Fistula Foundation continue Catherine's work to build a fistula-free Ethiopia. It's reasons like this that made Stacey such a fan of the Hamlin Shop in the first place: "I found the website and started buying things from the shop, for myself or as gifts for my friends. With the Hamlin Shop, you were helping a good cause as well as getting something lovely so it's a win-win."
Learn about how you can help raise funds for fistula patients by reading our blog on 17 fundraising ideas that actually work.