Volunteers around the country are using their crochet skills to help premature babies develop to their full potential outside the womb.
The crocheted creatures essentially act as pacifiers for premature babies placed in neonatal incubators while in hospital, explains Goodwood resident Zaahira Omar.
Earlier this week, Omar donated 20 crocheted octopuses to Tygerberg Hospital’s maternity ward in Cape Town.
She says the octopus tentacles are thought to mimic the feel of an umbilical cord, creating a familiar, comforting and soothing environment for the preemies.
It's also believed that babies who cuddle an octopus are less likely to pull out their tubes attached to monitors and other medical equipment.
The idea is to create handmade, crocheted octopus pals or 'octopals'.— Zaahira Omar, Goodwood resident and avid knitter
They could potentially enhance their growth and health processes.— Zaahira Omar, Goodwood resident and avid knitter
Omar says she learned about the concept on Facebook and immediately put her hands to work in an effort to make a difference.
She's called on other people to volunteer and get involved in the heart-warming initiative to help the little babies thrive.
Omar says she aims to build a network of volunteers who will pass along their skills.
To learn more, you can email her on firstname.lastname@example.org or visit her Facebook page Hala Crochet Items.
Below are some images from the like-minded Facebook page, Octopus for Preemie SA.
Listen to the full conversation with Kieno Kammies:
Image credit: Octopus for Preemie SA on Facebook.