What Can One Person Do?: The Welcome Dinner Project

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Today we are chatting with Tyler Riordan from The Welcome Dinner Project, a wonderful initiative that is bringing communities together and connecting in friendship those who were once strangers.

Read on to see how you can get involved!


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The aim of the Welcome Dinner Project is to connect newly arrived people (people seeking asylum, refugees, international students and migrants) with established Australians in local homes over their shared love of food.  The project started in Sydney in 2013 and since then we have expanded to around 15 locations across Australia including all capital cities. 

The Queensland Coordination team is made up of Bel Kimson and myself and we are supported by volunteers who help facilitate the dinners and lunches by creating a safe and welcoming environment.  Our generous hosts also help out by offering their homes as the location for the shared pot luck meals.

I first heard about the project after returning from overseas in early 2017 and I was instantly attracted to the idea.

Welcome Dinner Quote 1

Through my academic career as an anthropologist specialising in migration, I was also aware of the benefits that can come from this type of project.  There are fantastic benefits that this project can bring to individuals and the wider community.  The research shows that social isolation is one of the biggest challenges that face newly arrived people who are attempting to settle in Australia.

welcome dinner quote 2

As each guest brings a plate of food that reminds them of home, all of the participants are given a platform to share and celebrate their cultural background.  Most importantly, it is a great way to meet new people in your neighbourhood, have fun and maybe learn a new recipe!

If you really want to show support to people, the best way is to show them that you care.  Get involved! 

weclome dinner quote 3

We are always looking for new guests or hosts at The Welcome Dinner Project, and there are a range of other fantastic organisations doing similar things all over the place.  Please get in touch with us if you would like to know more at queensland@joiningthedots.org or at one of the links below.


Thank you Tyler for sharing your story and helping to provide a safe and welcoming space for new arrivals to Australia.  The Welcome Dinner Project invites people from all over Australia to get involved and share the community spirit.  If you would like to know more, contact The Welcome Dinner Project via their Facebook page or website.

If you know of an individual or group that would like to be featured in our What Can One Person Do? series, please ask them to get in touch via the Teddy Bears Without Borders Facebook page. 

If you would like to contribute to any of Teddy Bears Without Borders current projects, just click here for more information.

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Nauru Teddy & Toy Project Update – June 2018

Nauru project final collage

The response to our Nauru Teddy & Toy Project has been amazing and generous!

In just two short months we have received 28 flying discs and over 140 handmade (knit, sewn and crocheted) teddies and other cuddly toys.  You guys rock!

This means that there will be enough teddies and toys for EVERY child currently detained on Nauru to receive their own special gift.

This project is now complete for the moment and I will be liaising with the contact who requested the toys to have them escorted to Nauru and distributed in batches.

Many thanks to everyone who contributed, including (but not limited to!) Gwen Williams Nel and Renee Bratby, Denise Margie, Sewing For Charity Australia, Elizabeth MacLeod, Karen Cutlack (and her mum!), Francine and Cassie and the Griffith University Lions Club Krafters.

We will keep you posted as the teddies get distributed.  This project is now closed.

If you would like to get involved with any of our other projects, you can find the details here.

 

Current Project: Nauru Teddy + Toy Project

Nauru teddy and toy project icon

Teddy Bears Without  Borders has received a request to provide small handmade teddies and handmade frisbees for children in immigration detention on Nauru.  The exact requirements of this project are still being settled, and at the moment, any contributions will need to be received by June 1st, 2018.  If you would like to help, please see the details below.

WHAT DO YOU NEED?

Small teddies for the children to cuddle or to share with others and handmade frisbees to provide entertainment and exercise for the older children.  See below for specific requirements for teddies and frisbees.

Teddy requirements:

We are asking for knitted, crocheted or sewn teddies of APPROXIMATELY 6 Inches or 15 cm in height. Bigger teddies are okay, but due to packing restrictions of the volunteers visiting Nauru, smaller teddies mean we can fit more in.

Any fabric or yarn type is acceptable.  Teddies should be stuffed with fibrefill (hobby stuffing), rather than rice or rags.

Teddies must have embroidered facial features (no safety eyes) and friendly faces are best.

Safety eyes are not safe (ironically!) for very small children, so embroidered faces are a must.  You can find excellent tutorials for how to sew faces onto yarn and fabric dolls herehere and here.

Teddies should preferably be free of accessories (jackets, scarves, hats etc), but any adornments MUST be firmly stitched to the body of the teddy.

Extra bits like scarves look super-cute, but can detach from the teddy and cause a choking hazard so please re-think adding them in.

You can find patterns for small teddies here (sewing)here (crochet) andhere (knitted)

Frisbee requirements:

Crocheted frisbees can be any size given their flatness. Having made them in the past, these are great for using up yarn scraps and work best with small, tight stitches.

You can find a pattern for them here.

WHEN DO YOU NEED IT BY?

Teddies will need to be received by June 1st, 2018

HOW DO I GET MY TEDDY TO YOU?

Teddies can be posted to:

Nauru Teddy Project

13 Panorama St,

Bray Park  QLD  4500

OR contact us via our Facebook page for details about drop-offs in Brisbane.

Project Complete: Handmade Plush Toy Drive in support of Backpacks for Refugee Kids at Christmas Brisbane 2017

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Our Handmade Plush Toy Drive for 2017 in support of Backpacks for Refugee Kids at Christmas was a roaring success!  At a final count we collected approximately 260 handmade plush teddies and toys for the backpacks, which was far and way above our original goal of 150.  Here is a picture of all the toys we received, so you can get a feel for what 250 handmade plushies looks like:

Handmade toy drive total collection

The teddies were allocated to individual children, packed into backpacks and distributed during December 2017 and from feedback shared within the Backpacks for Refugee Kids at Christmas – Brisbane Facebook Group, the children and families who received them were extremely appreciative of the generosity of those who contributed.

Teddy Bears Without Borders would like to extend a massive thank you to everyone who contributed to making this project so successful.

 

 

PROJECT UPDATES NOVEMBER 2017

We are steaming along toward the end of 2017 and crafty items have been arriving in abundance to support our three current projects.

Handmade Plush Toy Drive Project

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With just days to go until the deadline for our  Handmade Plush Toy Drive supporting Backpacks for Refugee Kids at Christmas, Brisbane it looks like we will surpass our initial goal of 150 teddies for children from asylum seeker and refugee backgrounds living in the community!

Here are some more of the teddies and toys we have received in the last month from The Holy Cross Wooloowin Craft Group, Griffith University Lions Club Krafters and individual crafters Elizabeth McLeod and Pat Rudd, K. Keioskie, Carolyn Jay and Kerri Sheppard and Therese Whybird.

 

HCS Safe Harbour 1

In the first half of 2017, Teddy Bears Without Borders crafters created a yarnbombing piece in support of refugees and asylum seekers for the Knitfest 2017 tree cosy competition.  You can read all about that project here.

Our piece has continued its journey since then from Maleny to Killarney, Qld, then on to Milton State School and is currently residing at Holy Cross Primary School at Wooloowin in Brisbane.  Holy Cross have been a great supporter of Teddy Bears Without Borders this year, with their craft group, led by Sue Shaw, providing multitudes of teddies for all of our projects.

The school went to great lengths to involve the children in the installation of the tree jumper, with each class coming out in turn to watch the installation and find out more about the message behind the piece.  The tree jumper will remain at Holy Cross until the end of the school term, so this will no doubt be our piece’s final display for this year.

Many thanks to Sue Shaw, Michelle McClafferty and Paul Drewniak for bringing the school on board and going to such effort to make the piece meaningful for your students.  You can view a brief video of the finished piece here.

If your school, community group or workplace would like to host our safe harbour piece, please contact us and we’ll do our best to make it happen!

Standby Teddy Project

The Standby Teddy Project is still ongoing and crafters are welcome to send teddies along for this project at any time.  We have just renewed our commitment to providing teddies to Standby 24hr Response Service, which provides counselling and support to families bereaved by a loved one’s suicide.  If you, or someone you know, would like to make some teddies to support this cause, check out the project page here.

If you are interested in contributing to any of our current projects, just click here.

If you know of any group or organisation that could use our support, please let us know in the comments or contact us via our Facebook page.

Project Updates – October 2017

We’ve been going gangbusters in the last month with two of our current projects moving along apace.  There’s still plenty of opportunity to get involved with our projects, so if you’re at a loose end, read on and join in!

Handmade Plush Toy Drive Project

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Our newest project, the Handmade Plush Toy Drive supporting Backpacks for Refugee Kids at Christmas, Brisbane has met with a wonderful response! Many of you have been sharing the project and sending in gorgeous plush pals to befriend children in Brisbane from refugee or asylum seeker backgrounds.

With approximately one month to go until our deadline for this project, we have so far received 100 handmade plush toys toward our initial goal of 150!  We really appreciate how much enthusiasm you have shown in sharing and supporting this project.

Below is a collage of the plushies we have received so far from Holy Cross Wooloowin Craft Group led by Sue Shaw, Rouse Hill Anglican Church Craft Group led by Alison Wheldon, the Griffith University Lions Club Krafters led by Larraine Bence and individual crafters Renee Bratby and yours truly.

We still need at least 50 handmade toys to reach our goal for this project, and we would love some handmade items for the older teens that will be receiving a backpack.  If you can help out, please check the details on our project page.

Safe Harbour Tree Project – Phase 2

milton safe harbour 2

In the first half of 2017, Teddy Bears Without Borders crafters created a yarnbombing piece in support of refugees and asylum seekers for the Knitfest 2017 tree cosy competition.  You can read all about that project here.

Since then, we have moved on to phase two of the project and have made our piece available to any school, group or community organisation who would like to host the piece for a few days to a few weeks at a time and spread the message of safe harbour and compassion for refugees and people seeking asylum.

The piece immediately went travelling to Killarney, Qld as part of the Jumpers and Jazz in July Festival thanks to Laura Diete and more recently has been hosted by Milton State School in inner Brisbane, thanks to the machinations of Tara Castle!  Below are some images of our piece adorning the massive fig tree that stands in the front of Milton State School.

Many thanks to Tara Castle for organising this installation and Claire Jenkinson for helping install the piece.  You can view a brief video of the finished piece here.

In a very exciting development, our piece will be moving from Milton to Wooloowin, Brisbane on November 5th, as Holy Cross Primary School have agreed to promote safe harbour for the final four weeks of term four in Queensland.  Holy Cross has been a great supporter of Teddy Bears Without Borders, providing teddies for all of our projects so far.  The school is very excited to be hosting the piece and doing their bit to support refugees and people seeking asylum in our community and around the world.

If your school, community group or workplace would like to host our safe harbour piece, please contact us and we’ll do our best to make it happen!

Standby Teddy Project

The Standby Teddy Project is still ongoing and crafters are welcome to send teddies along for this project at any time.  We have just renewed our commitment to providing teddies to Standby 24hr Response Service, which provides counselling and support to families bereaved by a loved one’s suicide.  If you, or someone you know, would like to make some teddies to support this cause, check out the project page here.

If you are interested in contributing to any of our current projects, just click here.

If you know of any group or organisation that could use our support, please let us know in the comments or contact us via our Facebook page.

 

 

 

New Project Details: Handmade Plush Drive in Support of Backpacks for Refugee Kids at Christmas Brisbane

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Calling all crafters!

This year Teddy Bears Without Borders is joining forces with Backpacks for Refugee Kids at Christmas Brisbane to supply 100 + handmade cuddly toys to Brisbane kids of refugee and asylum seeker backgrounds.

Last year, people from all over Brisbane joined together to provide over 200 backpacks filled with necessities and toys to kids from refugee backgrounds and families seeking asylum.  You can read all about the success of the Backpack project, which began in 2016 as the brainwave of Brisbane mum Alison Reynolds, here, and join the Facebook group here.

Below are the details of the project and how YOU can get involved!  Please share the project with your networks, friends and family and help us reach our goal!

Handmade Plush Toy Drive 2017

What’s the goal of the project?

To make and collect 150 (with a stretch goal of 200!) handmade plush toys that will be included in backpacks of necessities for children in Brisbane from refugee and asylum seeker families.

What do you need?

Handmade plush toys no bigger than 30cm long (so they can fit in a backpack).  These can be knitted, crocheted or sewn from fabric.

As the backpacks are given to boys and girls aged anywhere from babyhood all the way up to 16 and 17 year olds, we are looking for a wide range of toys – teddy bears, dolls, animals, dinosaurs, cars, trucks or planes, superheroes – you name it!  As some of the teenage children won’t necessarily need a cuddly toy, we are also looking for handmade toys such as hacky sacks, juggling balls, soft frisbees, tic-tac-toe sets or even simple pieces like coin purses or toiletry cases.  See below for a list of patterns and suggestions.

When do you need it by?

As the backpacks will need to be sorted and packed in the early weeks of December 2017, we are posting an initial cut-off date of FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 17th, 2017.

All toys will need to be received to our Brisbane postal address by this date for guaranteed inclusion in the Backpack project.

Are there any special requirements for the toys we make and send?

YES!

Any fabric or yarn type is acceptable.  Cuddly toys should be stuffed with fibrefill (hobby stuffing), rather than rice or rags.

Toys must have embroidered facial features (no safety eyes) and friendly faces are best.

Safety eyes are not safe (ironically!) for very small children, so embroidered faces are a must.  You can find excellent tutorials for how to sew faces onto yarn and fabric dolls herehere and here.

Cuddly toys should preferably be free of accessories (jackets, scarves, hats etc), but any adornments MUST be firmly stitched to the toy. Extra bits like scarves look super-cute, but can detach from the toy and cause a choking hazard so please re-think adding them in.

If you are making a doll, consider the skin and hair colours you will use – remember, humans come in all colours, shapes and sizes!

WHERE CAN I GET A PATTERN FOR A TOY?

You are welcome to use any pattern you prefer for making your toy as long as it suits the size requirements listed above.  If you need help finding a pattern, look below!

I have collected a range of free patterns for knitted, crocheted and sewn toys from around the internet that you might like to check out.  Feel free to do your own searches, or share any patterns that you like to use on our Facebook page.

KNITTING Pattern Suggestions:

Big cuddly bear from Loop Knit Lounge

Fin Bear from Bonniebabes UK

Koala Baby from Knitted Toy Box (just be sure to substitute the safety eyes for embroidered ones!)

Knitted Twin Bears by CraftBits

Knitted Bear by Cut Out and Keep

Tiny Knitted Gnome/Fairy by Beverley Qualheim

Maggie Beans and Friends Doll by Petite Purls

Costa Brava Rag Dolls by Just Saying

Little Elephant (Elefante) by Susan Anderson

Friendly dinosaur by Baby Knits Made Easy

Aussie birds by Sweet Living Magazine

Ribbit Frog by Blue Sky Fibres

Plush bunny by Cashmere Miles

Hacky Sacks/Juggling Balls by Diagnosis Knitter

*Please note, I am a crocheter, not a knitter, so I have no idea how difficult or easy these patterns are.  If you are a knitter and know of an accessible and simple pattern please feel free to comment below!*

CROCHET Pattern Suggestions:

Classic Little Bear Pattern by Hook and Stitch Crafts

Bruno Bear by Baghi Handmade with Love (just be sure to substitute the safety eyes for embroidered ones!)

Small Long-Legged Cat by Kristi Tullus

Grizzly Gruzzly Bear by Akinna Stisu

Shy Unicorn by Amigurumi Today

Friendly Superhero by The Friendly Red Fox

Crocheted Football by Fairfield World

Crochet Shark by Crochet News

Crochet Juggling Balls by Crafting for My Sanity

Soft Frisbees by Celina @ Simply Collectible

Crochet Tic Tac Toe Game by Kelli @ Turtleweenies

Crochet pencil bag/toiletry pouch by 5 Little Monsters

SEWING Pattern Suggestions:

Please note you may have to adjust the printing size of these patterns to get the right size for your toy.

Warren the Charity Bear by Shiny Happy World (just remember to replace safety eyes with embroidered ones!)

SOFT BABY BEAR by Maya @ SewToy

Teddy Bears by MamaSmiles

Sock Sloth by CraftPassion

Sock Kangaroo by CraftPassion

Sophia the Bunny by While She Naps

Softie Animal Pattern by My Poppet Makes

Bunny Doll by RedTedArt

Flying Squirrel Lovey by While She Naps

Rag Doll Tutorial by More Like Home

Quick Earbud Case by My Fav Things

Box Pencil Case/Toiletry Case by Gathered Threads

Hacky Sack/ Juggling Ball pattern by Wallaroobaby

 

HOW DO I GET MY TOY TO YOU?

Teddies can be posted to:

Backpack Plush Project

13 Panorama St,

Bray Park  QLD  4500

OR contact us via our Facebook page for details about drop-offs in Brisbane.