A simple knitted square can change a life!

TIAO is a blanket program provides warmth to Orphaned and Vulnerable Children and raises awareness of their plight. Many of these children – 1.5 million in South Africa: 1 million in Malawi alone – live in unheated homes and sleep on the floor.

Since 2009, St. Paul’s Leaskdale has sent 32,500 knitted or crocheted eight-inch squares to Africa which have been sewn into 928 blankets by groups grandmothers and distributed to children who need them. For many years these squares were sent to South Africa.

Two years ago, for the first time, we found an opportunity to send the squares made by the SPL community to Malawi. This is a new program there. Groups of widows assemble the blankets, and the EI Malawi team plus the Widows’ Welfare program of the Evangelical Baptist Church of Malawi are working together to run the program. In the past two years we have sent about 10,000 squares to Malawi.

Once a year we ask for help from the Congregation of SPL to help raise funds to mail these squares. Our annual cost for postage is $3000. Special envelopes are provided for your donations in the foyer at SPL. These can be returned today, next week, or any time during the year. We are most grateful for your participation.

We are excited to announce that we have a new name for our program. Because it is important the Malawians have ‘ownership’ of the project, the sewing ladies were asked to come up with their own name for the blanket program. They have chosen Tilere Ife Ana Ovukita (TIAO) in Chichewa or We Care for Needy Children in English.

After two years, we are barely getting started. Both the need and the potential are great, and the program is being greeted with great joy and enthusiasm in Malawi.


If you knit or crochet, please help us by making 8” squares. These can be left at St. Paul’s Leaskdale for mailing (please include a note with your name).

-use worsted weight (double knitting) or equivalent, acrylic or wool
-knit or crochet 8″ squares leaving a 20″ tail of yarn when ending off
-please wind tail into a ‘butterfly’ and attach to square with a stitch
-knitting: approximately 32 stitches on 5mm needles (or as needed for 8″)
-crochet: approximately 24 single crochet on 5mm hook (or as needed for 8”)
-garter stitch, single crochet or pattern in a close weave for warmth
-kids love bright colours – plain or stripes…have fun with this

Donations of yarn are always welcome. Preferred yarn is worsted weight acrylic in BRIGHT colours. We also welcome yarn leftover from your projects.
Spread the Word – tell your knitting friends about TIAO.
Please Pray – for our mission and the children of Malawi

Thank you to all of you who have supported this mission over the past several years – to the wonderful people who make squares, to those of you who have donated yarn, or supported us by contributing funds to help us get the squares mailed to Africa.

For further information on this mission, please contact Anne Powell at 905-852-5450 or kapowell@sympatico.ca.