| The seeds of kogo (knit one give one) were planted in July 2004. It was a particularly cold winter in Melbourne and we decided to get friends and family to direct their knitting energy towards making scarves for people who were experiencing homelessness. That year we knitted 180 scarves (with our own wool) which were distributed by the Emerald Hill Mission to those in need.
The following year saw the official launch of kogo. Australian Country Spinners came on board as our sponsors and supplied us with yarn. It was decided to knit scarves and beanies for children in need and these items were distributed to schools that were supported by the Ardoch Youth Foundation. Publicity in the local press led to an overwhelming response and before we knew it, kogo had grown to over 200 volunteer knitters and we had over 2,000 finished items!
In 2009 as well as making scarves and beanies, we took on the task of making woollies and blankets for the Bushfire Survivors. We received many beautiful items and amongst these were lots of babies’ clothes. We decided to use some of these garments to put together with a selection of essential items e.g. nappies, toiletries, bibs, wipes etc to make up gift packs for disadvantaged mums. They have now become a permanent part of the project and we distribute over 500 of these gift packs anually. Many of these women would never have had anything new for their babies. As you can imagine, they have been really well received and much appreciated.
In 2010, due to the continuing growth of the project as well as the economic conditions, we were no longer able to supply wool to our volunteer knitters and so we asked them to supply their own wool. The generosity of our knitters is such that the number of garments we received in 2010 was actually more than the previous year!
In September 2012, we started a project of knitting toys to give as Christmas presents to children in need. We collected over 550 knitted toys which were distributed to children living in women's refuges. Last year we widened the Christmas project to accept all toys (not just knitted) and we were able to collect and distribute over 1200 gifts to children in women's refuges.
To date kogo has distributed over 200,000 warm winter woollies to the most vulnerable in our community. Our volunteer knitters make a whole range of items – including scarves, beanies, blankets, adults’, children’s and babies’ clothing and knitted toys.
The finished items are distributed to people in need such as those who are homeless, refugees, children who are at risk, remote indigenous communities, women in refuges and families who are struggling to make ends meet. This is achieved via a network of over 250 different Public Benevolent Institutions, charities and government agencies who enable kogo to identify those in need and distribute appropriate items.