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We have set up a Norwegian-Ukrainian connection

Finally, we have managed to set up a connection between The Ukrainian Community in Norway and the Norwegian quilting campaign for Ukraine. It happened when The Ukrainian Community invited people from the Oslo area to a market event at one of the Ukrainian centers in the capital of Norway.
Quilter til Ukraina
FIRST MEETING: Mali gave Natalia Lutsyk (left) a brief presentation of the Norwegian-American-Australian quilting campaign supporting Ukraine. (Photo: Toralv Østvang.)

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.

Quilter til Ukraina
GOOD ATTENDANCE: Many attended the market held by The Ukrainian Community at Furuset Grammar School to support Ukrainian refugees. (Photo: Toralv Østvang.)

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.

Quilter til Ukraina
A UKRAINIAN CENTER: Furuset Grammar School was built in 1861, and the oldest building is still standing. It was renovated some 10-12 years ago and is currently serving as one of the centers for The Ukrainian Community in Norway. (Photo: Toralv Østvang.)

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.

Quilter til Ukraina
UKRAINIAN IMBRODERIES: Mali used the opportunity to buy a beautifully embroidered blouse during the event at Furuset Grammar School. (Photo: Toralv Østvang.)

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.

Quilter til Ukraina
NOT VERY HONORABLE: Some of these everyday products don’t give much honor and dignity to those responsible for the invasion of Ukraine. (Photo: Toralv Østvang.)

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.

Quilter til Ukraina
161 YEARS: The original school building from 1861 is still standing at Furuset Grammar School. Visitors could buy beautiful Ukrainian handicrafts and delicious Ukrainian food in the garden. (Photo: Toralv Østvang.)

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.

Quilter til Ukraina
AN AUSTRALIAN QUILT: Mali is finishing a quilt based on blocks sent all the way from Australia. (Photo: Toralv Østvang.)

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.

Quilter til Ukraina
PRIMUS MOTORS: Laila Karlsmoen (left), Trysil, and Mali Storli Engedal, Oslo, initiated the quilting campaign for Ukrainian refugees. They have received quilting blocks from Australia, the USA, and Norway. (Photo: Toralv Østvang.)

Toralv er blogge-assistent og assisterende blogger. Han er pensjonert journalist, men skriver fortsatt mye om teknologi og litt om quilting – og er støttespiller på web-en.


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