-  Elderly Are Inspired by Tag to Share Globally  -

January 14, 2014

I love it when projects take an unexpected twist. I know that planning is all-important, but opportunity is more dynamic than our predictive powers.

In a joint project of Tag International Development and Tag Institute we ran an innovative project aiming to better understand how to enrich the lives of older people. We came up with the idea of a project called ‘Creative Giving’, whereby older people are invited to share their creativity to make a difference to vulnerable individuals and communities in developing countries around the world.

This initiative is part of an ageing enrichment project that celebrates the dignity and creativity of older people in society and champions their ability to make a meaningful contribution to the lives of others, even in such remote locations

Tag has partnered with Age UK in Staffordshire to share hundreds of hand knitted teddy bears with children and families in villages in Indonesia, Guatemala and Burundi. Jenny Bell, Social Activities Service Organiser at Age UK, said “it is lovely to see that they have gone to such deserving homes. The photos will keep them motivated to knit more bears.”

As you can see in the pictures, I had the pleasure of handing out some of the bears in a remote village in central Java, Indonesia. The recipients of these gifts were surprised and delighted in equal measure that older people so many thousands of miles away had shared with them something they had themselves made. Building on the initial success of this partnership, the teddy bears knitting project will now be extended to include creating knitted blankets to be used by the traditional birth attendants. In addition, hand knitted mother and baby sets will be created as teaching aids for the health promotion project Tag is undertaking in Indonesia together with our local partner organisation YAKKUM.

In addition, a generous selection of beautiful jewellery crafted by day centre participants at the Michael Sobell Jewish Community Centre in London was shared with young women in Shan State in Myanmar (Burma). Participants of several other arts groups meeting at the daycentre are now fashioning their own artistic items – from paintings to glassware – that would be shared with suitable recipients in developing countries.

Centre Manager Belinda Topliff says of the project, “This creative project touches so many people’s lives, giving meaning and promoting the wellbeing of everyone involved. We look forward to working in collaboration with TAG on further projects.”

It has been incredibly moving to see how inspired people are to be able to affect people’s lives in distant places. We have indeed seen how this leads to the enrichment of the lives of older people, which is a key aim of the project.

This project has shown even more than I had anticipated that everyone can truly make a life changing difference, even many thousands of miles away.

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