(Story written by Joanne Ditmer, columnist for the Denver Post, who was in charge of distributing Scarves4Peace to children at the end of their dental exam.)
Cuddly soft hand knit scarves in luscious colors are valued accents in fashion-conscious wardrobes of women around the world. But for several hundred Nepali youngsters such scarves show that someone believes that each child is special, and deserves a tangible reminder of that esteem.
The scarves, a flower garden of colors and patterns, were gifts from women4women-knitting4peace to youngsters receiving free dental care from Global Dental Relief in Kathmandu. Global Dental Relief, a Colorado based non-profit, provides care to impoverished youngsters at fifteen week-long dental camps held in India, Nepal, Vietnam and Guatemala. The children are examined for teeth health, receive needed fillings and extractions, and new toothbrushes and instructions on brushing teeth, twice a day. Volunteer dentists, hygienists and non-medical personnel from across the United States provide care.
During the October and November Nepal 2011 clinics, the children received their coveted scarves after dental work was complete. A huge green duffle bag, bulging with scarves, was irresistible. Invited to “take one, any one,” the youngsters dove right in to the muffler bonanza, digging to the bottom of the bag, holding up several scarves before making their final selection. Every child seemed to pounce upon his/her choice; interestingly, pink was favored by both boys and girls.
Some youngsters wound their scarves closely around their neck while others dramatically flung one end of the scarf over their shoulder or twisted the scarf into intricate loops and configurations. For these children who regularly wear uniforms, the opportunity to make a choice in any clothing item was a rare privilege. Their pleasure and satisfaction were clearly evident for weeks afterward.
One imaginative little boy ignored the advice of the dental volunteers who told him the scarf he wanted was too long for someone his size. The volunteers were amused and amazed to watch him proudly wearing & playing with his long lilac scarf – he joyously “skipped rope” day after day, pausing occasionally to wrap it round and round his neck. When the cold winter wind whips into his village, it will bring warmth to his neck and shoulders, as well as to his heart.
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