From Carolyn Mark, February 2019
One stitch at a time, knitters in Napa, CA have been providing hope to refugees across the world living in Greece.
This February, The Hands On Global medical team, who have previously carried Peace Pal dolls and hats to Syrian (and other) refugees in Greek refugee camps, took another 30+ dolls from knitters in Napa, California. The medical team brought comfort in the way of Peace Pals to refugees living on the island of Samos, Greece. These refugees are living in terrible, inhumane conditions. When I asked if it was appropriate to use luggage space (they are vacuum packed) for dolls considering such pressing survival needs for medical supplies, etc, I was told that the Peace Pals represent hope - someone knows and cares, and thus are critically important. The Peace Pals are distributed to sick and injured refugee children being seen in the small clinic.
Last month, Napa middle school students all read the same book Refugee, followed by a community event with the author speaking. Hands On Global had a table of Peace Pal dolls where people could make a donation to 'sponsor' a doll. They would choose a doll, write a personal note on a tag that was tied to the doll with a ribbon. The dolls will be taken to the refugee camps in Greece. Donations will be used to buy medical supplies for the refugees.
April 23 will be another large refugee event with speakers from Hands on Global and other refugee NGOs. Peace Pals will again be available for sponsorship to help purchase medical supplies for refugees. One knitting friend has resolved the issue of people wanting to purchase a doll for themselves by saying that she would personally knit them one if they made a donation to Knitting4Peace.
If you would like to read more about the work of Hands on Global in the refugee camps, check out Handsonglobal.org/blog. They post frequently while they are there. Such important work - but it will break your heart.
With gratitude for your work,
From Jacquelyn Friberg, October 2018
In October 2018 our team of nine went to Athens, Greece to assist a group called Father’s Heart as they bring help and hope to Afghan and Syrian refugees. One day we organized a fun afternoon for the children in the city. They live in very crowded situations with little food, and are not able to go to school. We had the fun of playing games, making necklaces, tie dying T-shirts and serving them a chicken and rice dinner. Just before they left we gave out the Peace Pals from Knitting4Peace. They were so excited to receive them and asked for extras to take to siblings. It brought tears to our eyes seeing the joy they felt. A gift means they are not forgotten and someone cares.
We also arranged another afternoon focused on women, playing some games, dancing, painting fingernails, and serving a healthy dinner. Their lives are so hopeless and difficult, and many are without a male relative to help and protect them. We gave more dolls to those with small children. It blessed our hearts to send them off with brightly painted fingernails, a full tummy and a gift of love from women across the world.
One morning we also delivered some food to Kurdish refugees in another city, crowded into an old compound. The days can be long and boring for kids there, and every family has experienced terrible losses - a parent, a brother or other loved one. We spent time playing hop scotch with the kids or tossing a ball. Then we gave out the brightly colored Peace Pals and enjoyed seeing their big smiles and getting thankful hugs. The parents always appreciate it when someone takes time to care for their children and bring them some joy.
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