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Warmth’ for givers and receivers

We Can’t Help Knitting

Dozens of kilos of thread have turned to beautiful clothes in the hands of Leena (left) and Anja.
Photo: Hannu Räsänen

Anja Joronen and Leena Koskela have a unique mission: they have knitted nearly 40 beautiful cardigans and pullovers for Ukrainians, plus numerous scarves and socks.

How did all this start?

Little Maria in Ukraine looks at the photo of Finnish “knitting aunties”…
Photo: Hannu Räsänen

– Being handiwork enthusiasts, we had the idea to knit Christmas presents for a family named especially for us. This is the seventh Christmas now, Leena says.
– It is a precious mission to which we are committed, Anja adds. – It starts early in the autumn. August wakes us up to the project; this is a sign of Christmas approaching.
– To be honest, we must confess that we need more time now than before, Leena admits. – The work is pleasant when there is no hurry.


Good to know to whom we knit

This time little Lisa get a new cardigan
Photo: Hannu Räsänen


– We want to make the right type of knitwear for each family. I love making people look good, Anja says.

Having received the children’s photos and measures from Ukraine, Anja and Leena together design the family’s colours and patterns and divide the task. The knitting project gives time to think about and pray for the family and the child who gets the specific piece of knitwear. A lot of love and warmth is invested in every cardigan and pullover.

The process is long from the information of the family through knitting, unstitching and re-knitting to the moment of sitting down at the coffee table and giving the finished knitwear to Hannu and Oili who take them to Ukraine.

Why “through unstitching and re-knitting”?

Leena explains:

– The excellent handiwork grade in the school report obliges. We don’t want these Christmas gifts to be faulty in any way.


Many Ukrainian families are happy of the warm knitwear

An internal refugee family from East Ukraine

Aleftina, mother
Photo: Mirjam Adolphi

We are a family from Luhansk; we fled from the war in 2014, not knowing where, we left everything: my good job, our nice home, our life… We were on our way to nowhere, and we had hardly anything with us. I experienced seven long years of wandering and destitution. When I found myself in faraway Petrovka village, my soul accepted the inevitable “defeat”, the desolation and hopelessness.

Just like people in the Bible, I asked the Lord: “Why, Lord? Why did you leave me alone on my way in the worst times? The Lord showed me that all through my journey, He carried me in His arms, and he carried my children in His arms. He brought us to our dream!

Our dream – our own home
Photo: Hannu Räsänen
In the yard of our own home
Photo: Mirjam Adolphi

We met Viktor Pavlovich, Katyusha and, of course, you dear Mirjam. We were given wood for heating and groceries, and in the end, our dear nest, our dear home. A home without fear, without, without fear in my motherly heart!

Family portrait
Photo: Mirjam Adolphi

I am writing to you today full of gratitude for the warm knitwear my children received. Every yarn, every stitch is filled with love and care. Thanks to those who knitted these gifts. Thank you for the food bags that were a real gift to us in these difficult times!

Thank you all; the Lord works wonders on the earth through your hands to people like us!

Sincerely, Aleftina!

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