Monday, 04 December 2017

3D Design students bring cheer to sick children

CHANGE AGENTS: From left Ashleigh Snyman, Michelle van Wyk and Jodi Wagenstroom CHANGE AGENTS: From left Ashleigh Snyman, Michelle van Wyk and Jodi Wagenstroom

How do you encourage Design students to get beyond their own self-interest and to care for others in greater need than them?

According to Veronica Barnes, a 3D Design lecturer at CPUT, you come up with a holiday project in which they must knit toy bunnies, which are then given to a children’s home. This year saw first-year 3D Design students take on the challenge.

The beneficiary was St Joseph’s Home for chronically ill children in Montana. “I would like it to become a tradition among our students. This project shows students how something small can make a big difference in another person’s life,” says Barnes.

Most of the students in her class this year were male and some learnt to knit from YouTube videos, Barnes adds bemusedly. They knitted a total of 59 bunnies. One student had even knitted finger-puppets, which were earmarked to be used by the occupational therapy team at St Joseph’s home.

A few students went along to the home, and handed out the bunnies to the kids there, and it had real impact on them. Barnes says: “They asked a lot of questions on the trip back to campus, and were thinking of other projects that could benefit others less fortunate than themselves”.

She introduced this project in 2015 for the first time. That year the bunnies were given to young orphans, as well as elderly people at Nazareth House.

While there is an educational angle - in that one knits a flat square, which, with clever folding becomes a 3 dimensional rabbit – the project is really more about the heart. Initiatives like these show that the studio is a space in which students can learn a lot more than just a vocation.

Written by Abigail Calata