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While still a high school kid, Kohl Crecelius never thought about that a small hobby could eventually make a big difference on many others’ lives.

Crecelius is the CEO and co-founder of the Krochet Kids International (KKI), a non-profit organization dedicated to empowering people to rise above poverty. When he was in high school, he loved sports on the mountain, like surfing, and was passionate about crocheting unique headwear for himself. Later on, to fund high school dances, he started his crochet business, a small crocheted hat company.

During summer breaks, Crecelius volunteered in various developing nations and saw people tired of living solely on the operating bodies for their every need. “They wanted to work and provide for their own families,” he said.

Not until that moment did he have an idea of helping these people break the cycle of poverty by teaching them crocheting. Crecelius believes high-quality, handmade products can serve as a vehicle for social change.

“The simplicity of crocheting is its most profound quality,” Crecelius said. “With hook and yarn people could make amazing products.Being paid a fair wage to do so would allow for them, for the first time, to provide for their families and begin planning for the future. By teaching these people to crochet, we would be empowering them to rise above poverty.”

Along with some close friends, Crecelius established the KKI in 2008 and began working with women in impoverished communities in Northern Uganda and Peru. By teaching those women, most are mothers and heads of households, how to crochet products, this organization has created an innovative approach to help the poor through job creation and education.

“Our goal is to poverty alleviation,” Crecelius said. “We are trying to empower women and families living in poverty to be in charge of the responsibilities to break that circle of poverty for them and forever.”

Currently, over150 people in Uganda and Peru are working and receiving education. The collaboration of KKI staff and beneficiaries around the world has created a sustainable cycle of employment and empowerment.

Crecelius noted the biggest difference between the KKI and other businesses with missions to provide aid to developing countries.Instead of providing one thing such as water, clothing or education and trying to help a broad range of people, KKI focuses on individuals, helps them with the skills they will need to address their circumstances and assists them to make a difference.

“We try to leverage the tools of business to launch the entrepreneurship and to make the best impact on people,” Crecelius said.

Liying Qian 

Sources: KTLA, Kochet Kids International
Photo: Onboard Mag