Victoria Koning from Marvic Tours and Tales was deeply saddened after reading a news article, dated 16th June 2005, which stated that 50 children get raped every day in South Africa. She found words almost incomprehensible ... and quite devestating. But a small glimmer of hope was found when she learned about Mother Bear Project (http://www.motherbearproject.org).
Amy Berman founded 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 magazine and continue with my everyday life knowing there were children in such pain," said Berman. "I knew I could not solve 'big problem' from here, but I thought maybe I could bring awareness of this problem and provide comfort to young victims in form of a teddy," she said. “I believe every bear has a story, and we only hear a few of thousands.
“In Zambia, a little 7-year old girl who had AIDS was being stigmatised by her peers because it was known she had 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 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 Internet can bring people together.” Berman continued, “I have now sent over 6,300 bears from knitters all over U.S. and 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.”