The #RareBearProject was launched as part of Rare Diseases South Africa's 2nd birthday. Rare Diseases SA (RDSA) had made the decision to commission bears for their newly registered rare disease patients, which could be gifted to them so that they could have a companion to encourage them in their journey of survival.
BUT, due to the nature of rare diseases, RDSA was looking for unique, handcrafted bears - they wanted BEARS that were RARE.
At the same time a local community project were looking to host a skills clinic for unemployed ladies in the Kya Sands community.
A joint initiative was born, whereby the ladies were taught the skills to crotchet #RareBears, and a platform to generate income was provided.
This project is now able to address 2 needs:
1) It creates a "community of love" for Rare Diseases SA patients whereby #RareBears are donated to a rare disease patient via the #Care4Rare programme.
2) Empowers the ladies of KyaSands and provides them with a skill that enables them to provide for their families.
To date, this project has seen over 60 woman up-skilled in the art of crocheting, and provided them with a sustainable, income generating opportunity by making #RareBears which in turn are either donated to a patient, or sold to the public.