#imapiece of the solution (but only with some help from my craft blogging friends!)

Craft Bloggers + Craftivists + Charity = An amazing creative approach to raising awareness about the race against hunger  (and this is why I am on board with this craftivist project!)

This post is not like any I have posted before - I'd really love to hear from you, so please do leave a comment with some feedback once you have digested all the info I'm sharing today.  Maybe get some coffee too (I found it really difficult to edit this post down any shorter- sorry!)

Would you like to get involved with this crafty project and  become a piece of the solution too?  

Do you like hand stitching? I've discovered it's amazingly cathartic, even if you're a bit rubbish at it! I haven't quite mastered it - check the bottom of this post for my schoolboy error of forgetting to use interfacing (stiffener) when embroidering, I'll have to start all over!  But I'm going to be getting a lot of practise over the next few months with the "I'm a piece" campaign.

The web-hub for the campaign is here http://imapiece.craftivist-collective.com/. This will be a place where we share everybody's work who gets involved - a wall we can all be really proud of collectively as the campaign grows.

I'm hoping we can all share stitching tips - so novice hand stitchers should definitely take part too.  I'd really love all of your help with this one craft bloggers!

What is #imapiece ?

Using jigsaw pieces stitched by crafters, today we (craftivists and craft bloggers) are launching together with Save the Children, an art installation to raise awareness of the issues of world hunger and injustice. 
As well as joining in and making a jigsaw piece for the big artwork installation, we’re encouraging creative people to make one to keep as a reminder to be part of the solution, and to give a piece stitched with the words "I'm a piece" to your MP.  

Today is a very important Tuesday

Today, October the 16th is World Food Day and this evening sees the launch of our "I'm a piece" national campaign. I am 100% behind it and I'm hoping to encourage craft bloggers all around the UK to get involved too.

I'm joining this campaign to change the ugly, downright unbelievable, statistic that three hundred children die of totally preventable hunger related causes every single hour. That's more children dying every hour than make up an entire typical primary school. That's the equivalent of twenty four primary schools of children dying of preventable causes every day.  

The keyword that I latched onto when I read this statistic is 'preventable' - I have learned that it is not wishful 'Miss World speech' style thinking, but it is really possible, albeit tricky and needing time and commitment from world leaders, to save millions of children dying completely unnecessarily every year. I can't begin to imagine how devastated I would be if one of my own two beautiful children (8 and 4) died from something that I know is preventable, the catastrophic effect that would have on my family.

I'm a piece of the solution!

I've always believed that handmade is code for "I care about this; I have spent a lot of time on it, I chose the material, decided on the design and I sewed every single stitch myself".  With the right motivation - creativity, time and effort can be transformed into a really potent message, and potentially a life changing message in this instance!

My first jigsaw piece! Not yet completed :) 

In the summer I received an invitation from Sarah Corbett of the Craftivist Collective to get involved in a Save the Children campaign they are supporting called 'the race against hunger'.  Along with bloggers Lauren O'Farrell aka Deadly Knitshade of Stitch London and Jamie Chalmers aka Mr X Stitch we are going to be visiting a nutrition project Save the Children are working on in Aceh, in Northern Sumatra.

Save the Children want to show us exactly why this nutritional project in Bener Meriah and many like it across the world are really important and how they make a difference to a childs future potential.

If children are fed they learn and grow better, their development is not stunted and this has a big impact on the future of their communities - it can eradicate the long term need for aid.

Why pay to send bloggers across the world - is it a waste of money?

I have to admit, this was my first thought and made me feel uncomfortable. The simple answer is that Save the Children have worked with bloggers before and found it to be a really cost effective way of getting the word out there compared to more standard advertising, especially via social media.  They have a budget and they are using it creatively because they know that this has a bigger net effect than traditional marketing methods.

Craft Bloggers + Charity = Huge Awareness!

Save the children have proved this on previous trips with Mum bloggers and food bloggers, but they haven't had the amazing craft scene involved before!

Hopefully we can blow their socks off with our creative campaign - but we really need lots of help, making jigsaw pieces and taking pics of them along the way and sending / giving them to your MP (we can help with all of this - please ask in the comments or email me).

Download the jigsaw template here - Jigsaw Template

Follow the Craftivist Campaigns web hub to see people's pieces popping up and for news of events in your area "I'm a piece" as well as for details on how to make your own piece of the puzzle.  I'm having a little stitching session with a few of my friends, but there are bigger events happening all around the country.

Just so you know, I'm not and never will be asking you for any money.  If you can spare the time, I'm just asking for a bit of extra curricular crafting from the comfort of your own home, time spent that I hope you will also cherish.  I was quite taken aback by how stitching the word 'hunger' made me stop and think and really evaluate what the word means to me.

Craft meets Politics 101 (if like me you're not exactly a political animal and wonder how jigsaw pieces can save childrens lives)

David Cameron, our Prime Minister will be hosting the G8 conference in the Lake District in 2013, to be attended by the most powerful and influential people in the world. This is why this campaign is important right now, because it's actually something tangible; to get David Cameron to tackle this issue head on and not just give it a nod so he can tick the "world hunger" box on the agenda.  

We need him to give international aid, food distribution issues and food price spikes the great importance they deserve at this amazing forum of world leaders.  

Also we want to let the other world leaders know that the British public believe preventing children dying needlessly and allowing children to fulfil their future potential, is something we take very seriously - regardless of where a child comes from - it makes sense to nurture and educate children, it creates more stable, robust economies.

Our local MP's can genuinely make a difference.  They speak for us and tell Parliament what concerns their constituents have. I can arrange to have a chat with my MP, David Gauke and he has to see me and hear my concerns. I won't be waving a placard or my fists, this is craftivism, it's about positive not aggressive engagement.

My MP is called David Gauke, he is the Treasury Minister and he knows a lot about tax, money and spending.  He has three kids and is just a few years older than me so I'm hoping we'll have quite a lot in common.  I'm going to be giving David Gauke, a jigsaw piece that I have hand stitched with the message

"Education increases our ability to thrive, malnutrition reduces our ability to learn - Hunger destroys economies as well as lives"

and also a piece that simply says "I'm a piece"

I'm working on this piece today, I have a few more important words to stitch on :)

I want to show my MP for Herts west, David Gauke, how much I care about this campaign, I really hope that he remembers it, I confess that I didn't remember his name, when I was asked who my local MP is a few months ago (I did know he was a Tory!)

Get in touch

If you want to email me and ask me any questions about this campaign and how you can get involved (even if you can't stitch for toffee) or you're interested in more details about the trip etc please send messages to haptree@gmail.com or leave me a comment.

The trip I'll be taking will be 8 days leaving on the 9th of November, a lot of travelling and will more than likely be one of the most emotionally eye opening things I'll ever do.  I just hope that I can commit to my part of the bargain and persuade enough of you  talented craft bloggers to get involved.

Should have used interfacing before I started stitching! Do you think ironing it will help?

What I'll learn on the trip (other than improving my stitching!) will hopefully equip me with some pretty compelling evidence, I'll be recording and sharing my experiences of meeting families in Sumatra along the way - I hope that you'll join me and we can keep the #imapiece conversation going over the next few months as we approach the G8 next spring.

I'd love to get your feedback, I hope you're keen to make a jigsaw piece with us :)