Craft Aid International was established by Susie Hart and a team of dedicated volunteers. Popular Patchwork met Natasha Nathan, a volunteer with the group at Festival of Quilts and she was excited to share the work of Craft Aid International with us.

There are three main aspects to Craft Aid International's mission. 

  • CRAFT-BASED SKILLS - Giving people with disabilities ( differently-able people) an opportunity to learn craft-based skills, and use these to serve disabled people living in poverty in the developing world through social enterprise.

  • SOCIAL INTERACTION - Providing a fun and caring environment in which to learn new skills, interact with others and work as part of a team towards a common goal. 

  • OUTWARD PERSPECTIVE - Establishing craft-based social enterprises in the developing world, to provide training & employment for people with disabilities, who would otherwise be living in poverty.  
    This year Craft Aid International is planting a new project in Peru

Susie Hart previously founded Neema Crafts Centre in Tanzania in 2003, and was its director until 2012.  The centre trained and employed over 120 people with disabilities who were previously living in abject poverty, and has transformed the way that disabled people are perceived in Tanzania. 

Susie has recently handed over the management of Neema Crafts Centre and has now returned to Harrogate, where she and her team are developing Craft Aid International to similarly serve disabled people both locally and globally. 

Craft Aid International is founded on Christian principles of love, service and inclusion, and serves people of all faiths and none.

What does Craft Aid do?

Craft Aid is involved in 2 main activities:  

  1. Running weekly craft workshop sessions for adults with disabilities and / or learning differences, providing a fun and caring environment in which to learn new craft skills, interact with others and work together towards a common task. Furthermore, to use these new skills to serve people with disabilities in the developing world, through social enterprise. (Crafts include Paper-making, Mosaics, Textiles and more).
  2. Training skilled volunteers to work with faith-based organisations in the developing world, to set up employment-generating craft workshops for people with disabilities, who would otherwise be living in extreme poverty. The first of these will be in Peru.   

Until recently, a third activity was supporting Neema Crafts Centre in Tanzania, through fundraising activities and marketing the crafts. We're delighted to say that the centre is now almost entirely self-supporting however and no longer needs our help, thanks to the fantastic efforts of all the staff there and especially Ben and Katy Ray, who took over from Susie three years ago. We're still here to support them when needed, but for now this is rarely, if ever, necessary. 

To find out more, please visit Craft Aid International