Knitfest Yarnbombing: A Crafting Opportunity in Support of Refugees and Asylum Seekers

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It isn’t Teddy Bears, but this is one crafting opportunity our followers might want to jump on board with!

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Knitfest is an annual yarn and fibre arts festival held in Maleny, in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland in Queensland each July.  Each year the festival offers the opportunity for individuals and community groups to yarn bomb a tree in town in keeping with the festival’s theme.  This year, the theme is Under the Sea, and the Mums 4 Refugees Brisbane Working Group would love all interested crafters who also have an interest in supporting refugees, to contribute to their tree decoration.

The M4R tree decoration will be focused around the idea of “Safe Harbour”, emphasising the idea of welcome, shelter and safety for those who’ve come across the seas.  The tree that we have been allocated is both beautiful and BIG (!) so we would love to have as many crafters as possible joining in with our effort.

Here’s how you can help:

For crafters:

  • We need knit, crocheted, woven or plaited STRIPS NO LONGER THAN 85 cm in ANY SHADE OF BLUE or GREEN.  Any fibre, yarn weight or stitch is fine. Any width strip is fine.  For advanced knitters/hookers, a wavy stitch pattern would be super, but definitely not essential.  These will go around the trunk and lower branches of the tree and represent the sea.knitfest-1
  • We also need knit, crocheted, woven, cross stitched or fabric HARBOUR LIGHTS, in ANY SHADE OF YELLOW, ORANGE or WHITE.  These could be simple motifs in the shape of stars or circles of any size, 3D bauble shapes or even lantern shapes.  I will add any patterns that I come across as we go along to help with inspiration!

For non-crafters:

  • MESSAGES OF WELCOME – if you are not particularly crafty or don’t have time to craft, we would love to receive a message of welcome to refugees and asylum seekers that we will include in our display.  It doesn’t have to be long – in fact, one or two lines is perfect.  To make your life easy, you can comment on this post with your message and we’ll make sure it is included in the finished piece.
  • Share, share, share this project!  Please feel free to invite your knit/crochet-savvy grannies, neighbours, relations and friends to join in with the crafting.

Pieces will need to be received by May 31st, to give us time to sew the whole piece together before the July 8 festival.  You can send your pieces to

M4R/TWB Knitfest Project

13 Panorama Street

Bray Park  QLD  4500

We will keep you updated on how the project is coming along, with a full wrap up in July!

 

 

 

 

Where have all the teddies gone?

Since we announced that we reached our target back in April we have been working on distributing lots of teddies. In case you haven’t been to our Facebook page recently here are some highlights, in pictures:

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In April these teddies made their way to Melbourne – to children in the Melbourne Immigration Transit Accommodation (MITA) and in community detention.

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Also in April these fifty teddies were sent to Nauru. They eventually made it and were distributed in a playgroup for children who have suffered torture and trauma.

 

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In May we received this picture of V, along with permission to share it 🙂

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Also in May, Judy delivered 20 teddies to Marcela at the Romero Centre in Brisbane. Families from the Brisbane Immigration Transit Accommodation (BITA) sometimes have the opportunity to visit the centre for playgroup and respite. Your teddies were waiting…

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In June we received this picture – the second batch of teddies reached Nauru! These ladies were hard at work. Arms full of love 🙂

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These teddies get a special mention because…they came all the way from Munich, Germany!      Thank you Isidore!

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In June we posted a sleuth of teddies to Megan at Welcome to Australia SA. In August she sent us these pictures.

Target reached!

We have now reached our target of 440 teddies! Thank you to everyone for your continued support of Teddy Bears Without Borders! We have been so impressed with the creativity, care, character, and work you have put in to making these beautiful, comfort tools for children in detention. From hearing stories of children who have received your teddies we know they have made many kids (and their parents) happy. We are so grateful and inspired by the response to this community-driven project.

We are still busy working to deliver the rest of the teddies to children in immigration detention, and those recently released into the community. Any remaining teddies will be given to children in community detention. Following this, there may be other opportunities to take the project in another direction. We will keep you posted!

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Thank you Michael!

Late last year we received a one-off donation of 150 bought teddies. With only a few days until Christmas we agreed to send the teddies interstate to be included in a large Christmas drive for families -including some who had just been released from Christmas Island. Michael Holdaway made this possible with a very generous donation of $330 to pay to freight the teddies. Without Michael’s donation the teddies may not have made it so we’d like to say a huge thanks to Michael for his support! Also thanks to Danny and Clare of Rochedale who donated teddies which were also included in the delivery.

On this note, if you know of or are someone who may be able to assist with transporting teddies interstate (or even to Nauru!) in the future we’d love to hear from you. This is the most expensive and vital part of the project and we will be very grateful for any assistance or contacts to help in this regard. Thanks again!

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year to all the makers and friends of Teddy Bears Without Borders! We hope you all had wonderful, safe, and happy holidays.
Over the break we had sew-a-thons to catch up on sewing name labels and attaching tags to all the amazing teddies received in the last few weeks. Just a reminder to please take care when embroidering faces – small, secure stitches, no hard or stuck-on eyes, and friendly faces please. It can be quite time-consuming modifying teddies to meet safety requirements, in addition to sewing on name labels and attaching tags!
With lots of movement of families in and out of detention centres since late last year we have recently given teddies to some children who have just been released from detention in Brisbane. We’ve heard some harrowing stories from parents and met some lovely children who were really happy to pick through baskets and choose their own teddies. Parents were grateful that all children were given teddies – as this was not always the case with toys in detention. Having spent 2 of his 3 years in detention one boy addressed us as ‘officers’ – his parents tried to explain to him who we were and that they are no longer in detention but he has known little else in his short and turbulent life. We hope these families will be able to settle permanently and live happy lives in Australia.
To date we have received 107 handmade teddies – 255 teddies in total. We have sent and distributed 196 teddies and now need 475 to reach our goal.
Your handmade teddies are important practical tools for children and we thank everyone who has contributed so far. We look forward to continuing to build the project this year and raising awareness of the plight of children in detention within the wider Australian community.