I don’t know about you but the first few times I encountered the word social change it sounded like such a big daunting word. Somehow untouchable and nothing little old me could do to be effective in that area. We accept change as being inevitable yet social change is something we take for granted or tend to think other people should fight for, right?
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What is Social Change?
Social change are changes in human interactions and relationships that transform cultural and social institutions. These changes occur over time. For example, social movements in civil and women’s rights have resulted in such change. Therefore crafting for social change is simply using crafts to transform cultural and social institutions.
Why Should You Care About Social Change?
As I mentioned earlier, change is constant. We need people to care, because social change dictates the present, and can lead to a better future. And believe it or not, crafters have the power to transform society. Crafting for social change allows the crafter to stop and think about what they’re doing and the message they’re trying to convey.
How Can You Use Crafting To Impact Social Change?
You don’t have to do all this great, showy acts to bring about social change. But it’s not always easy to know where to start either. Here are 5 simple ways you can do it:
1. Volunteer In Your Community.
This is a powerful one. Volunteering can promote social change by contributing to personal transformation, whereby individuals change their beliefs, perspectives and day-to-day behaviours once they have developed a new awareness or understanding about a particular situation. And the great thing about volunteering is your time is all that is needed in most cases.
Back in 2018, I joined Crochet Kenya. This is a Charity Based Organization comprised of 32 volunteers who crochet /knit items to donate to various hospitals, hospices, homes, prisons and other such institutions all over Kenya. LoveCrafts recently gave me an opportunity to share about what we have been able to achieve this year. You can read this article by using the button below. A Culture Of Giving: A Look At Crochet Kenya
2. Create A Mission First Business.
Unlike for-profit businesses, mission first businesses have active stakeholders close to the business, instead of remote investors or shareholders and profits are primarily reinvested or donated towards advancing the company‘s purpose.
This is similar to what the Toto Care Box Africa is doing. The business emphasizes on making a positive impact on society, not just profits. Read more on how this works in Lucy’s Shuhuda article.
3. Become A Craftivist.
A Craftivist is someone who uses craft as a form of activism. The act is called craftivism. What I find most amazing about craftivism is that it’s all about provoking thought and action. Similarly, it’s reintroducing conversation into activism. I We can only get so far when we shout at each other. Shouting can make us feel better but often it doesn’t encourage people who disagree with us to listen or work with us
A great example of craftivism is yarn bombing– the practice of using knitted or crochet pieces to cover public objects. It’s new, it’s bold and we love it! However, yarn bombing can be damaging. Let’s not pretend that it can’t be. As a yarn bomber, you have a responsibility to:
- Do as little damage as possible.
- Make sure that your work does not create a situation dangerous for others.
- Don’t cover up reflective or informative signage.
- Don’t destroy animal habitat.
- Do research on the site that you are planning to cover.
- Take responsibility – if your work offends, is it intentional?
- Make sure that your statement meets your personal ethics.
4. Use Crafts To Sensitize.
Not only can crafts be used to bring joy but as educational displays and/or toys as well. For example, the craft collection by Namsi of Namsi’s Crafts. She makes crocheted boobs and other birth and perinatal training resources. She makes these resources and ships them to customers all over the world where they are used as training aids.
5. Be Mindful In Your Motives.
If we are not mindful in our efforts to craft for social change, we may get swept away by the negativity, hatred and aggression all around us. Moreover, we may experience depression, anxiety or trauma observing the misfortunes and confusion in the world. We may start wondering if we can really make a difference, and may experience hopelessness.
First off, we need to be compassionate. Finding compassion helps us realize that we all suffer. With this realization, we can approach others with a sense of curiosity and concern, rather than prejudice or aggression. Knowing we all suffer helps us feel less alone, and can alleviate anxiety, depression, anger or fear.
Secondly, Balance and self-care are also key in being mindful in your motives. Current events can reawaken our feelings about prior struggles we have endured. These memories can become so intrusive that they interfere with our lives and relationships. This may in turn lead to overwhelm, stress or burnout. Becoming familiar with our early warning signs of undue stress is important to prevent it from escalating. For example, when I become really irritable, I know it’s time to take a break and relax. Be sure to also ask for help when you need it, this is never a sign of weakness.
Crafting For Social Change- Conclusion
All in all know this, regardless of the size of the gesture, big social change impacts are possible. If we just give up then we won’t be able to change anything. It’s important to remind yourself that small actions can make so much difference.