Two West Island sisters knit for a cause
Elementary students Isabel and Jane Szollosy have raised $1,200 knitting dishcloths to help Haitian children
Two sisters, Isabel and Jane Szollosy are putting the knitting skills their grandmother taught them to good use.
The girls from Dorset elementary school in Baie D'Urfe are making dishcloths to raise money to help Haitian children who are living in the Dominican Republic.
“When someone donates a donation of $3 we give them a dishcloth,” said Isabel.
It all started when Isabel, 12, and her sister Jane, 10, first heard about a school in the Dominican Republic just for Haitian children.
The school was founded by another young West Islander, Katelyn Bateman.
Bateman was 17 years old when she went on a family vacation to Puerto Plata, in the Dominican Republic.
She was shocked by all the children she saw living on the street.
“What I learned is that most of these children are Haitian and that they didn't have the opportunity to go to school,” said Bateman, who founded her own organization called Youth Upliftment International.
Bateman, now 22, raised enough money to start an elementary school in the Dominican Republic called Collège Amélioration Jeunesse, where 140 Haitian children are enrolled.
Bateman says she’s grateful the sisters want to help with her cause.
“It's so inspiring — 10 and 12 years old, and they have the biggest heart.”
The Szollosy sisters have raised $1,200 so far from their hand-knitted dishcloths. The money will feed the students — one $3-dishcloth pays for 12 lunches.
“With having the clean water that we have, we can wash our dishes. We said, ‘You know what, if they don't have clean water to wash their dishes — or have any kind of water to drink — we should give them out for gratitude for us,’” Jane said.
The sisters’ community is getting involved too.
“It's amazing to know there are kids that are looking up to us too. We're just in awe of Kate and to see that there's kids that want to participate with us, it's really amazing,” Isabel said.
Their teacher Elizabeth Ballantyne is raising money as a seamstress to pay for a teacher’s aid at the Dominican Republic school.
“Knowing that all the proceeds go and they help children, they help to save lives,” Ballantyne said.
Bateman is heading to the school in the Dominican Republic next week to deliver some donations.
Her organization is now working on a new program to send the students to summer camp.
Bateman is looking for volunteers to help out, and the Szollosy sisters say they hope they’ll be able to go.