Warm wel­come for refugees

Kapi-Mana News - - OPINION / NEWS - By KRIS DANDO

A group of Plim­mer­ton quil­ters know how to make a house feel like a home.

Refugee Ser­vices last week cel­e­brated the 100th hand­made ‘‘wel­come quilt’’ pro­vided by the Coastal Quil­ters. All the quilts go to new fam­i­lies who come to live in Porirua.

This year, 16 fam­i­lies have moved to Porirua due to un­rest and war­fare in their home coun­tries, in­clud­ing Burma, Syria and Colom­bia.

The refugees are given sec­ond­hand fur­ni­ture, ap­pli­ances and crock­ery to be­gin their new lives and a beau­ti­fully-made quilt is of­ten the ic­ing on the cake.

Refugee Ser­vices Porirua vol­un­teer su­per­vi­sor Sonja De Lange says it has been an on­go­ing ini­tia­tive since 2010 and the refugees adore the quilts.

‘‘They are very happy to get some­thing so per­sonal and beau­ti­ful. They are aware of the ef­fort that goes into mak­ing them and it’s some­thing brand new for their house. Some­thing like this has a huge im­pact on their lives, it makes them feel wel­come.’’

Some of the refugees have vis­ited the quilt-mak­ers. One of the Coastal Quil­ters’ co-or­di­na­tors, Iso­bel Whoo­ley, says their 130 mem­bers take great pride in their work. It takes up to eight months to com­plete a quilt, al­though dozens are al­ways on the go.

‘‘It’s hugely sat­is­fy­ing and we know they’re go­ing to fam­i­lies that need them. These quilts will last a long time.’’

The quil­ters meet monthly in Plim­mer­ton. Visit: www. coastalquil­ters. org.nz.

Ms De Lange says they have a num­ber of evenings com­ing up in Septem­ber for in­ter­ested vol­un­teers who would like to help Refugee Ser­vices set­tle new fam­i­lies into Porirua.

Call 238 2157 for more de­tails.

Cosy quilts: Iso­bel Whoo­ley, Gayle O’Brien, Ali­son Tier­ney and Lou Ni­coll, from Coastal Quil­ters, give yet an­other batch of ‘‘wel­come quilts’’ to Refugee Ser­vices.

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