From Masha, one of the wonderful Ukrainian children who’d come to Lublin, Poland for a respite holiday. One day we’ll meet in Ukraine. Next year? Wouldn’t THAT be a Christmas miracle?
Not all children could come to Poland, and we wanted to make sure we could send blankets back with the children and teachers, to reach as many from Korosten (home town) as possible.
So these lovely children are in their school in Korosten. This is approximately 100 miles NW of Kyiv., 70 ish from Chernobyl
Irina and the other teachers have been absolutely wonderful and the blankets already going out! You may even see a Bestie as we found a few left from Camp Bestival and took those with us. They loved them!
Enjoy these photos. Thank you so much everyone again for making this happen. Much love this Christmas time.
We are home. And the children are safely back home with their families in Ukraine. They live at Korosten, near Kyiv.
After last night’s excitement and emotions, there was only one thing to do. Set up a VPN and watch the Strictly final on iPlayer! Excellent show. Worthy winners.
Sunday morning. Homeward bound.
We have in our possession a powerful precious piece made by the children. They were given a Ukrainian flag and on this they wrote messages of peace, hope, love and anti war. It’s so incredibly moving. We were so deeply touched to have been given this and will bring it to Hugathons to share with you.
And we love our special pin badges as in the featured image. We are better together.
Our first thanks go to YOU. You the woolly hugs crafting community. 150 blankets were delivered. And we took a load of heart hearts which we gave to the mums, who were so touched and delighted. This is a huge amount of crafting hours and we are so grateful. It truly makes a difference in the lives of others. It’s a wonderful thing. So THANK YOU!
Huge thanks to the amazing CCLL’s CEO Dennis Vystavkin who was so well supported by lovely Galina, his wonderful mum. These two are driving the van home, and are the only ones not home yet. News soon we hope. Thanks too to Big Mike Lafferty from Ayrshire, Andy March of Bristol, all the wonderful, inspirational teachers from Korosten, the children who are a delight and an utter joy, and the staff at Hotel Regionalny for being so warm and welcoming. Also the teams at Eleon and Caritas, both doing wonderful work.
As we parted from our new friends last night we said ‘Next year in Ukraine.’Let us hope the war ends and this can become a reality.
Sunday 17th December 2023
If you are interested, this project is already underway for next year. All help gratefully received. Please read carefully for crafting info and time schedules. THANK YOU!
Blanket giving was such a wonderful thing. Honestly your love shone from the blankets.
These children today were younger than the ones we have been with on their respite break. And they loved choosing. Again some had an immediate connection with a blanket, others took an age. And each were lovely to see!
Again, not every blanket and child are shown, because in some cases it wasn’t right to push for a photo. So please celebrate each one. These children have very little. They are just like our own childrenLeaving the country would have been a very immediate process, with limited options to take stuff.
Love in every stitch we say. Always true.
And once the children had their blanket it was party lunch time. This was joyfully riotous! And something rather special happened. Lots of the kids gave their blankets to their mums to look after. And those mums all wrapped themselves up. These mums are young, isolated, away from home and worried for the men in their lives.
Have a look.
Wonderful pics aren’t they? These people have nothing. Our blankets gave love and joy at every turn. Thank you all so much for making this happen. It’s a truly astonishing thing.
Then it was time to party! games, dancing, confetti. Even a 6ft 4 Glaswegian elf arrived!
We were treated to a farewell concert on our last night. With songs and dances, this was truly beautiful. The children beautifully sang their hearts out on a Ukrainian folk song called Marigolds. Marigolds are resilient and grow even when you think they’ve gone, they grow back. Beautiful, haunting, poignant.
Saying goodbye ‘for now’ was incredibly tough. They ask that when they win the war that we visit them in Ukraine. Of course we will. Let’s all pray that this is sooner rather than later.
Friday started with a two hour walk around Lublin’s fabulous outdoor museum. Absolutely beautifully done, this museum chronicles the history of architecture and life in this part of Poland. For the Ukrainian children a lot seemed very familiar. It’s so important that we all look for things that are similar than always look for differences. Just a few pics. It was also wonderful to get these kids out walking freely.
Then onto an amazing centre, part eco part activity, community centre. They run activities for Ukrainian refugees. The kids were given a pizza making work shop. Then there were fabulous crafts, games, chess, challenges, music. All the kids were so busy and engaged. Marvellous
Then back to the kids hotel for some very complex Angel making! It was a kind of foldy paper thing. Should have been east but OH MY!!
The kids were exhausted and bed time was calling. Then we were back in our van to our hotel.
It had been a wonderfully busy and productive day.
Our wonderfully busy day continued with the most exciting trip to see the Christmas lights at Lumina Park. Absolutely magical. Absolutely magical for us, but imagine coming from a place with limited and only functional electricity, so much so that there are no street lights?
The children took photos of every single piece to share the joy with their families. Such a lot of love flying around.
Then back to the children’s hotel for dinner and the first round of BLANKET GIVING!
So time for the first group of children to receive their blankets!
As said in the video, I think sometimes we get bogged down in thinking squares, squares, squares, photos, photos, photos, construction, construction, you get the idea. But then here are the children. This is the heart and soul of it all. And here they are.
In their current reality these children don’t get choices They don’t get to choose food, activities etc. And here we were with blankets spread out asking them to choose one to take home! Absolutely joyful. Thank you so much for making this happen. We were struggling to contain our emotions. But we did with a smile on our faces and in our hearts.
Some children spotted ‘their blanket’ straight away and rushed over, falling on their blanket with joyful whoops. Others walked round and round taking in the whole sight before making very careful selections. They were utterly delighted. Lots of thanks and love.
And the rest of the blankets are going to children on Saturday. We have more Ukrainian children coming for a Christmas party. We can’t wait to meet them!
And this morning their teachers were saying that as they said goodnight to the children, they were all tucked in with their blankets. It doesn’t get much better, does it?