Happy Monday, everyone! We hope you had a great weekend, and are easing nicely into March.
Today, we wanted to share an interview with one of our organizers, Nadine. Nadine hosts the ever popular “Make your own sock monkey” workshops in Berlin for a great cause! Read more to learn all about Nadine, her partner charity Tara for Children, and the sock monkey revolution…
So, tell us a bit about yourself and how you came to be such a Sock Monkey expert!
I’m from a little town about 300km south of Berlin, but I’ve lived in Berlin since 2003. I lived in Toronto for a year, and it was there that one of my colleagues introduced me to sock monkeys, and I loved them right away. She had the great idea to make them, sell them, and donate the money to charity - her organization is called Operation Sock Monkey, and she’s donating the money to Clowns Without Borders. I was very impressed with the idea, so I asked her to teach me.
In the beginning of 2010, I had to return to Berlin to complete my studies so I thought, there are so many crafty people here: families, mothers, children, so many people that would want to buy sock monkeys. In Germany, not as many people know of them like in Toronto, so I guess I kind of imported them to Berlin!
I wanted to do something good.
How did you find out about Tara for Children, and tell us a bit about how you got involved with that organization.
Because I already have a day job, I wasn’t interested in making the monkeys for a profit. I wanted to do something good. So, I decided I wanted to do the same as my friend and I started researching not-for-profit organizations in places like Africa, India, and even Germany where I could donate money and monkeys. I had a list of requirements - they had to be small, transparent, also being in Berlin was a plus. I discovered Tara for Children on Better Place, and that was the beginning of everything. They were very warm, professional and enthusiastic and the initiator, Katarina, is German but has lived in India for the last 10 years. After meeting Katrina in Berlin, I started donating monkeys and even travelled to India to do a workshop!
I went with my boyfriend at the beginning of 2011 and stayed for a week in Goa to do a workshop with Tara for Children. We had about 30 people, half of them children and half volunteers, and we did it in an orphanage. We were all working on the floor together, and made lots of sock monkeys - the very little ones were drawing monkeys because they couldn’t handle the needles, and the older ones were between 9-18 years old. It was so much fun, and was my first workshop! Everyone was so fascinated by the monkeys, even the boys, and the time passed so fast. We took lots of photos, all the kids wanted to pose with their monkeys!
All you need is basically a pair of socks and a little enthusiasm!
What can people expect at one of your Sock Monkey workshops.
That’s a good question. You can expect so much, it’s hard to put it into one sentence! You learn how to make a monkey, in the end you will have your own monkey. It’s a nice collaborative event - you meet people and get to do something crafty. After the workshop, I think you have a different picture of sewing, and people also get inspired after making a monkey to make other animals because it’s so easy. All you need is basically a pair of socks and a little enthusiasm! Many of us spend our days in front of computers, so it’s great to do something with our hands, and for a good cause!
I think Gidsy is a really nice way to just do something.
And how did you find out about Gidsy?
I read about Gidsy in a newsletter and wrote to Edial, who invited me to the office for a coffee which was really nice. We talked a bit about my Sock Monkey idea and about Gidsy. I like the idea that your neighbours, people that live in your city are doing great stuff but you would never know what they do, so Gidsy is a place where you can share ideas and skills. I’m planning on moving to New York in a few months, and I think that first of all Gidsy is a great way to meet new people, and second, if I have a good idea it’s a perfect way to share it - like with the Sock Monkeys. I think that sometimes people are so stuck in their own lives, they work 8 hours, they meet their friends, go to the gym, whatever…and it’s hard to do anything else. I think Gidsy is a really nice way to just do something. You can invite your friends, say “Hey there’s this nice event, it’s not too expensive” and you can get so much out of it. You get a nice “other” experience, meet new people, get new input. It’s really cool. Gidsy has been perfect for me to spread my idea.