12th of March, 2021
No matter how life’s journey has shaped the perception of the world surrounding them, the nobility and kindness have remained untouched. Their habit of creating to give – gives them a true satisfaction and a deep feeling of peace.
Knitting first started as an idea to help socializing groups of asylum seeking women, as well as to create a routine where they can enrich their day with such a cozy activity. Surprisingly, it became much more than that – beside the socializing and the daily routine, the opportunity to create a gift that gives warmth to the soul of their loved ones, was not thought of.
“Is about the feeling I got when I can create something with my own hands as a gift for my loved ones. I used to do lovely gifts to my children very often. I can’t remember the last time I bought a gift to them. Yesterday was different. I finished knitting their hats together with scarfs and left them on their beds, so when they wake up, this would make their day!” told Amira after our knitting class was coming to an end.
Each knitting item conveys a different message and lots of pain. The room where the knitting class was happening started slowly to become a family place, where these women would spend their main hours of the day.
In one of the classes, Fatima started telling us the hidden story behind her knitted scarf: “When I started to knit this scarf, I didn’t really know to whom I am knitting it for, or even what it would be- wasn’t sure if it will be a scarf, socks or a hat. I was just tired of my disturbing thoughts that reminded me every second of my dreadful past. I needed a break! While knitting, I actually got the break. I started to think how I’ve forgot the existence of Mahmut, my husband. It’s been years since we left our home and are walking / traveling from one country to another. We are all the time worried about our children, their future and their safety. I forgot the love I’ve got for him. I forgot we used to care about each other. Made some more stiches and decided to knit this scarf for him. I have swum into each memory we had together and knitted a super long scarf as a celebration of our love”.
Ever since the knitting got introduced to these women, the atmosphere itself changed inside the asylum center. Aisha, due to her long experience with knitting back in Syria, became the mentor of the knitting class for the entire group.
“I used to have my own school of sewing back home. I had around hundred students over a year and three employees. I used to lead this school for twenty years. Now, this class, these women and this setting is making me feel the past – as when I was a normal married woman with a regular job and big dreams”.
Beside the knitting activity, these women receive also individual counseling and group therapies. They find different ways of saying thank you and showing gratitude for it, but knitting helped them to find a whole new dimension. “The first moment I got needles on my hands, I knew that finally I have the chance to create a GIFT as a thank you. It’s been a long time since I am living in the asylum center and your support has become the only hope I live with. Every session or activity finished, I had this disappointing feeling of not having anything to give, as a symbol of thank you. Fortunately, this activity allowed me to knit these beautiful socks where I can finally give them as a gift and show how thankful I am for the support I receive every single day – now I can feel some peace” – said Yasmin.
To knit might sound nothing but a method to create a cloth or an activity to spend some time. For them was a reason for an ear to hear, a laugh, a thank you hug…, a home! Actually, in the real time of these women – knitting became the meaning of their daily life. Not only for the sake of yarns or stitches, but for feeling a human experience when creating a GIFT!
Written by: Malisa Zymberi – Psychologist, KRCT
Photo: Liv Hentze