400 sweaters (and counting), zero sign of quitting

Conventional wisdom says people burn out on coverage of long conflicts, and that this media fatigue makes them tune out and turn away. But sometimes a person comes along who proves conventional wisdom dead wrong.

92-year-old Doris from Swindon, England is one such person. She has knitted 400 sweaters for Syrians in need—and shows no sign of fatigue. “She was really happy about the jumpers going to help children who are facing a very cold winter,” says Iman Murphy, a trustee of Hand-in-Hand for Syria, the charity to which Doris donated her handiwork. Its latest aid drive gathered 160 tons of aid—seven trucks full of clothing, bedding, and medical and infant supplies—plus USD $57,000.

Hand-in-Hand, which also supports over 70 healthcare facilities across Syria, delivers aid to “90% of Syria…not just the border areas,” explains HiH member Hoda Abdelhady. “What is also great about these aid drops is that they unite people regardless of faith or nationality: everyone works together for the same cause.”

With this winter predicted to be the Middle East’s coldest in a century, cash donations are urgently needed to buy supplies in areas where aid transports cannot now reach.

As for Doris, she refuses any compensation—but she is accepting donations of wool, so she can keep on knitting.

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Jennifer MacKenzie

Poet, writer and teacher Jennifer MacKenzie grew up on Bloomcrest Dr. in Bloomfield Hills, MI, which inspired her to wonder about places with patterns other than floral. Following her education at Wesleyan University's College of Letters and the University of Iowa's Writers Workshop, she followed a zig-zag course that included a pilgrimage across the top of Spain and a long sojourn in Syria in pursuit of the language of Muhammad al-Maghout and Moudthaffar al-Nawwab. While in Damascus she completed the books of poems "Distant City" and "My Not-My Soldier" (forthcoming from Fence Books) and edited the magazine Syria Today. Her poems and essays can be found in numerous journals including the Kenyon Review online, Guernica, Quarterly West, and Lungfull. She currently lives in New York.

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