World Refugee Day falls on June 20th every year, and being in Finland I didn’t expect to hear a lot about it. I was wrong. Pots, Sandals and a Tent is a “participatory art installation and website about refugees made for the European Capital of Culture 2011, Turku, Finland.” Britt and I went over to the main library this weekend, where the tent has been on display for the past few days. Made up of handicrafts, mostly quilted/sewn pieces, by female refugees, the tent stands as a testimony to the injustices that millions of women, children and men have to face every single day. Each piece of handicraft represented the struggle that it’s creator faced, and the same themes kept resurfacing. “My homeland became too violent.” “There was too much instability.” “I had to get my children out.”
This string of beads represents the life journey of a woman from Uganda, starting with past and ending with, what she is hoping to be a bright future.
This piece impacted me the most. I’ve had the honor to visit Africa 3 times. Each visit left me profoundly impacted and motivated to do something in response to the plea for “help” that so many people, especially women and children, cry out.
Visit your local refugee center today, donate to the cause or simply visit unhcr.org and educate yourself.
Get involved. Stay informed.