ADRA in Norway opened hearts and homes for the refugees
Due to the war in Ukraine, over 30,000 Ukrainians immigrated to Norway in 2022. The trend will likely continue this year, with an estimated 40,000 newcomers. The new arrivals continue to create new opportunities for involvement from local ADRA Norway teams.
In 2022, ADRA Norway’s local teams were particularly active through, among other things, language cafes, youth events, leisure activities, family dinners, welcome packages for refugees, summer camp support and trips.
“Following the refugee influx from Ukraine, local churches have been an amazing support. We had around four active local ADRA teams before the war in Ukraine started, but now the number has grown to ten active teams. It has been touching to witness the welcoming spirit and strong local engagement for new refugees across the country,” says Frida Reierson, ADRA local teams coordinator at ADRA Norway.
The Directorate of Integration and Diversity allocated funds for 2022 to ADRA local teams to complement the state’s language courses and support integration activities through social activities for Ukrainians. They used the funds to support language cafes, football training and other initiatives for children and young people.
A warm welcome
When new refugees settle in Hole municipality, ADRA in Tyrifjord brings local teams together and prepares welcome packages with flowers, home-baked goods, kitchen utensils and goodies to welcome the new refugees. ADRA and the municipality prepare the welcome together.
Youth activities and language school in Tyrifjord
Every week, Tyrifjord ADRA Local Team, under the direction of Jørgen Roland, holds language training for Ukrainian refugees in the municipality. The participants build up basic Norwegian skills through dialogue and teaching.
During 2022, ADRA local team held four youth events for local and Ukrainian teenagers. Get-to-know-you games and good food have been in focus, and the aim has been to facilitate relationship building and enjoyment. The local team has worked closely with the Hvalsmoen emergency department and Hole and Ringerike municipality’s activity coordinator.
ADRA plays football with the refugees in Sandnes
Every Sunday, Sandnes’ ADRA local team holds football training for youth. They embrace everyone who wants to participate, regardless of background.
Inspiring activities for the festive season
During the Advent and Christmas season, the local teams carried out workshops, concerts, gift games, gingerbread baking and Christmas parties. Seeing all the activities from north to south in Norway has been inspiring.
In the run-up to Christmas, the ADRA local team in Jessheim and the SDA church congregation invited local Ukrainians and others to a day of food, activities, gift bags and a concert by Olav and Torill Tofte. As many as 100 Ukrainians and twenty locals gathered for the Christmas party. “It was so good to see people enjoying themselves and being so grateful. Many did not want to go home. There were many hugs, tears of joy and new bonds of friendship that were made that day,” says Mona Linnerud, leader of the ADRA Jessheim local team. The parishioners made a considerable effort to create a pleasant gathering for the visitors. Some were guards, while others were photographers, musicians, cooks and servers.
ADRA Norway’s local team in Sandnes wanted to create an inclusive advent season for the local community, especially newly immigrated Ukrainians, by holding a Christmas concert with catering. The famous Ukrainian saxophonist Igor Rudyi and the singer Maryna Chebotar performed in a packed house. It was a successful program, and many Ukrainians participated.
In Tyrifjord, Kristin and Tore Molstad Andresen opened their home to a group of Ukrainian refugees. Together they baked Christmas cakes and made memories for a lifetime.