Art workshops and Bulgarian lessons for Ukrainian refugees

04-04-2024 14:48

"My deepest hope is to return home to Kiev and that everybody will be fine", says Olena Lobanova. Two years ago she arrived in Bulgaria with her family. I am asking her how she feels here and while she answers, "Fine, fine", her eyes are filling with tears and we have to stop the conversation for a while.

In the beginning she started learning Bulgarian, and the rest of the time she walked a lot until she found a new positive challenge. "In difficult moments you have to work with your hands," says Olena. And that's probably why she started attending the social workshop KaritArt, where she knits. The activities are part of a project implemented by Caritas Sofia and funded by the Norwegian Financial Mechanism under the Home Affairs Programme.

Once a week the women get together. Olena knits hats, anti-stress balls (an excellent toy for pets too), elastics, storage items and looks for inspiration for new ideas. "Art heals! In the evenings I pick up the hook while listening to audio books and am taken to another world.

And what makes me smile? My grandson, the sun, my friends, the flowers. I found a very interesting bush here in Sofia, which I planted and will take with me when I return to Ukraine."