Founded in Australia by its CEO, Mally Ellis, a native Zimbabwean, Knit For Life is run by a small team of women volunteers based in Sydney, Australia.
Knit For Life’s roots lie in Mally and her twin sister’s desire to support the impoverished Zimbabwean community near where they grew up and who formed a knitting community under the guidance of their late mother, Lily Ellis who opened her home in Harare to train and guide the women to meet Australian standards. Beginning its life in the year 2000 as Grasshoppers Jumpers the sisters set out to supply the Australian market with heirloom quality, handmade cotton knitwear for babies and children.
Recognizing that their core values were to empower this community of artisan knitters and to guide them in using their skills to work towards economic independence and self-sustainability, in 2016, Grasshoppers Jumpers evolved to become Knit for Life, and in 2017 became a registered charity and not for profit organization with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profit Commission (ACNC). In 2018 Knit for Life was accepted by the ACNC as having Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) status, permitting acceptance of any tax deductible gift and monetary donations.
Zimbabweans suffer from a chronic lack of sustainable and viable employment opportunities and their country remains one of Africa’s poorest nations. Our knitters rely on their Knit For Life knitting income to pay for their children’s schooling and to access the minimal health care and medicines available. Many in the Knit For Life community are HIV positive, some have disabilities. Many of the knitters have taken on caring for elderly parents, grandchildren, nieces and nephews and other children in the community. Empowering the community to help themselves by providing a hand up out of poverty is Knit For Life’s guiding principle.
Knit For Life’s product range is 100% handcrafted from 100% naturally grown cotton using environmentally friendly methods of production and with no pesticides. Each and every item is hand knitted from the softest cotton sourced locally in Zimbabwe and in neighbouring South Africa. Our knitwear for babies and children, our toys and accessories, are designed by our team of volunteers in Australia to suit the international market aesthetic. Each Knit For Life product is impeccably stitched, perfectly finished, then labeled with the name of the knitter who has proudly created it.
We take pride in offering a product range that is classic, practical, bespoke design, mostly unisex, sustainable, quality and long lasting. Our products are beautiful, soft, textured. Designed for minimal fuss, versatility and simplicity, our range is joyful and playful, appealing to a conscious consumer who values natural fibers and cares about the source of their purchases and who made their clothes. They are perfect for the busy Mama. The entire Knit For Life range, including our hand knitted toys, stuffed with natural cotton lint, is machine washable. Each Knit For Life product is ethically produced and its purchase has a positive impact on the life of individuals, families and the community at large.
This is who Knit For Life is, a global community of women united by our love for our children and the planet, and a desire to make this world a little bit fairer and kinder creating a ripple effect of positivity reaching all the way to our Knit For Life community in Zimbabwe. Currently, Knit For Life is able to provide an income stream for up to 100 knitters, but our dream is to do so much more. If we grow, we can create many more opportunities for many more women in the community to support their families and rise above poverty. This is our mission and what drives us each day.
Knit For Life is proud to be a not for profit organisation, registered with the Australian Charities and Not-for Profits Commission. Our Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) status means that all donations to Knit For Life above $2 AUD are tax deductible. Knit For Life pays our knitters promptly per piece knitted, at prices determined by them. Profits from sales and all donations are directed back into the Knit For Life Community in Zimbabwe.