The event occurred in the garden of the initial building of Furuset Grammar School (Furuset skole) in the eastern part of Oslo.
The 161-year-old wooden building is currently serving as one of the centers of The Ukrainian Community organization in Norway.
On June 18, 2022, the community invited residents of the Oslo area to a charity market in the garden of the beautifully renovated school building. The community sold many products, from pearl-embroidered blouses and beautiful Ukrainian handicrafts to some unflattering products regarding those who have invaded Ukraine. All sales were to the benefit of refugees from Ukraine.
In addition, the Ukrainian hosts invited children attending the event to paint sunflowers on paper that they could bring with them home. As we all have become aware of in recent months, the sunflower is considered the national flower of Ukraine.
A nice chat
At the event, Mali got to speak with Natalia Lutsyk, head of The Ukrainian National Community in Norway. During the chat, Mali briefly presented the campaign where quilters from Norway, the USA, and Australia have contributed with hundreds of quilting blocks.
Norwegian quilters are currently sewing those blocks into quilt blankets that they will distribute among refugees from the war in Ukraine. Some quilts will be given to refugees in Norway, while others will be sent to people who are refugees inside their own country as a consequence of the Russian invasion.
However, a connection needed to be set up with the Ukrainian communities in Norway and Ukraine. Several Norwegian quilters already have Facebook friends among Ukrainian quilters, including some living in the capital of Kyiv. Those quilters will assist in the distribution of quilts sent to Ukraine.
Furthermore, The Ukrainian Community in Norway will invite recipients to the Ukrainian center at Furuset Grammer School when the quilts are ready for distribution later this summer. At the school, representatives of The Ukrainian Community will assist in translation during the conversation between the invited refugees and representatives of the quilters.
A nice revisit
Furuset Grammar School is a meeting place of particular importance to Mali’s family. Our children, today adults, were pupils at Furuset Grammar School in the 1980s and 1990s. Furthermore, they attended the school marching band for many years.
As school band parents Mali and yours truly spent much time at the school, preparing for flee markets and other activities required by school band parents. Therefore, we have close ties to the school, a relationship that will strengthen further due to the Norwegian-Ukrainian cooperation.
We sincerely hope that we can contribute to a nice break in a difficult time for people exposed to the worst atrocities in Europe since World War II.
The bushfire blocks
Finally, let us say a few words about the significant Australian contribution to this campaign. It is most likely a result of the bushfire block campaign in 2020. Based on an initiative by the Facebook group Scandinavian Modern Quilters, quilters from Norway, Sweden, and Denmark collected more than 500 quilting blocks that Australian quilters received at the Quiltcon trade show in Austin, Texas, in February 2020. Together with contributions from other countries, Australian quilters used the blocks to make many quilt blankets. The quilters donated those blankets to Australians who had lost everything in the burning bush fires in large parts of Australia at the time. In addition, the bushfire block campaign resulted in many social media friendships that still exist today. It is obvious that such connections have the power to turn local and national campaigns into global cooperation.