Wool to be used to help refugees who have fled from Syrian conflict

Wool is poised to be dispatched to the Middle East to help Syrian refugee women, thanks to the efforts of a teacher who has been moved by the plight they have suffered.

Janice Armstrong is gathering together stacks of wool after discovering the charity Sabbara on social media.

The 59 year-old has liaised with owners of the French cafe C’est La Vie in Lerwick, which is serving as a drop-off point for anyone looking to donate their wool or embroidery threads to the cause.

Collections are being accepted until 1st May, before the wool will be stacked up and taken free of charge by Northwards to London.

In the capital it is handled by people who are also Syrian refugees – people with a “direct insight and understanding of the situation” being faced by the women.

From there it will be shipped out to Lebanon where Sabbara is finding ways to empower women displaced by war.

The women are supported through art and craft therapy, and use the donated produce to hand-make typically cushions, or shawls, or bags which can then be sold.

Sabbara also provides training, counselling and art and drama therapy.

Ms Armstrong was drawn to the cause after considering the plight many women, displaced or widowed by the war, had gone through.

“The idea of being bombed out of your town and making the arduous journey from Syria to Lebanon, and just the trauma those women have gone through – my heart goes out to them,” she said.

“You just wish you could do something enormous, but the only thing I could do was gather wool.”

She said the knitting groups made up of refugee women were hugely beneficial to those taking part.

Ms Armstrong even likened it to Makkin an’ Yakkin in Shetland, and spoke of the “common humanity” which sees people behaving and interacting in exactly the same way – regardless of whether they are from Syria or Symbister.

“They sit round, they talk, they share, they develop friendships.”

She added: “I think it’s a lovely organisation. It’s quite inspiring, it is good.

“And they are very concerned that the work helps the women deal with trauma – and they also give them practical skills – they give them computing skills and numeracy.”

She asked anyone with wool they could donate to take it along to C’est La Vie.


Add Your Comment
  • Adrienne McClymont

    • April 21st, 2021 22:09

    I am a knitter a from Australia and I wanted to congratulate Janice on her wool donation initiative. What a great idea. There is something so ‘Shetland’ about wool, something I remember fondly from my visit to your beautiful islands. I hope that this is successful, Janice.
    Good luck,
    Adrienne, Sydney.

  • Janice

    • April 23rd, 2021 15:14

    That’s kind of you Adrienne. People here have been very very kind as they always are. If you take a look at the Sabbara website you will see some of the beautiful work they make and sell.
    All the best


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