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Celebrating International Day of Older Persons

World Vision
1 October 2017 by Gabrielle Bourke
Celebrating International Day of Older Persons

Wrap with Love volunteers at their headquarters in Sydney. Photo credit: World Vision

Happy International Day of Older Persons! This year’s theme is ‘Stepping into the Future: Tapping the Talents, Contributions and Participation of Older Persons in Society’. Today, we celebrate the incredible contribution of our long-term partner, Wrap with Love. Wrap with Love is a community organisation that coordinates a network of knitters across Australia. Older Australians are the driving force behind the organisation, which has accumulated 40 million hours of knitting and recruited over 25,000 volunteers nation-wide.

Wrap with Love was founded by Sonia Gidley-King OAM in 1992. Then aged 64, the idea came to Sonia as she was watching a news report on civil war in Mozambique. The report featured displaced children and their families, who faced an uncertain future in the harsh winter. Sonia wondered how she might be able to help. Within days, Sonia had knitted several 10-inch squares – the first of many to be stitched together to create colourful, hand-knitted wraps. Sonia soon realised the potential to multiply her impact, and enlisted a group of friends to assist her efforts. Within one month, the first wraps were on their way to vulnerable children in Mozambique.

Photo Credit: World Vision

The colourful threads of Wrap with Love blankets tie communities together around the world. In Australia, Wrap with Love hosts ‘knit-ins’ for groups to gather together to knit, share stories and build friendships. Oftentimes, more experienced knitters will share their skills with younger generations. Several Australian schools now host regular Wrap with Love ‘knit-ins’ – an initiative made possible by the generosity of older Wrap with Love knitters. The willingness of experienced knitters to give of their time and expertise speaks to the incredible contribution of older people to the work of Wrap with Love.

Since 2005, World Vision Australia has partnered with Wrap with Love to bring joy and warmth to children who need it most. Together, we have delivered over 100 000 blankets to children and their families across Africa and the Middle East. The blankets support positive health and education outcomes for vulnerable children and their families. For many children, the blankets are also a reminder that someone, somewhere, has compassion for their circumstance and wishes to offer a comforting embrace.

Photo Credit: World Vision

Photo Credit: World Vision

Several Wrap with Love volunteers have been honoured for their contribution to the community. Wrap with Love Founder, Sonia Gidley-King, and Chairperson, Jayne Goodes, have both received an Order of Australia medal for their service to the community.

On International Day of Older Persons, we celebrate the contribution of older volunteers to the inspirational work of Wrap with Love. You are true changemakers and we thank you for your passion, commitment and generosity.

If you’d like to learn more about the work of Wrap with Love, or would like to get involved, visit Wrap with Love on Facebook:

If your business or community group is interested in partnering with World Vision to donate goods that empower communities, visit our website:

Gabrielle Bourke Gabrielle Bourke

Gabrielle supports the acquisition and integration of high-impact, field-driven resources at World Vision Australia.


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