Ukrainian Women Self-Organize a Fair to Share Traditions and Joy with Romanians

Sunday, November 13, a Ukrainian fair of traditional food and handicrafts will be held from 12:00 to 17:00 at Manasia Hub – 13 Stelea Spatarul Street, Bucharest.  


The event is organized by the Malva Center,  an inspiring initiative that was founded by Inessa and Kateryna, Ukrainian refugee mothers who felt the need to create community and support for other refugees and their children.  The Malva Center is all-volunteer led by refugees for refugees, and the first of its kind in Bucharest.   The small center hosts yoga classes, provides childcare for kindergarteners, organizes conversational english language clubs for teenagers and offers a space for refugees to meet, discuss and support each other.   They hope to attract more Romanian volunteers, especially to organize language courses in Romanian and English, or even to organize simple games and sports that give the chance for Romanian and Ukrainian children to socialize together and feel part of their new community. 

Inessa tells how she opened the center because she was concerned that many refugees were only staying at home, some frozen, even after eight months, wishing only to be home.  The center has provided a welcome oasis where refugees can socialize and collectively solve problems in creative ways,  by self-organizing activities such as child-care, so that they can work or do other kinds of errands.  


The crafts fair turned out to be a wonderful way to bring both Ukrainians and Romanians together, strengthening a sense of solidarity and community.   It is an event that creates moments of joy, connection and builds friendships between refugees and Romanians. The Ukrainians are delighted to find comfort in familiar foods and Romanian also enjoy trying out new dishes.  Talented ladies spend the whole month preparing beautiful beaded jewelry in the national blue and yellow colors of Ukraine  and are really proud when the Romanians that join the fair enjoy wearing them.  Others make artistic watercolor paintings. 


 Asociatia de Ajutor AMURTEL, in partnership with NRC (Norwegian Refugee Council) supports the event distributing a simple flyer to everyone passing through, with facts that many may not know about Romania and Ukraine in both languages to stimulate curiosity, interest, respect and exchange between these two cultures brought so much closer together since the war began. 


Already this will be the 6th crafts fair (targ) that the Malva ladies organize together.   Other Ukrainians find out about it from Telegram, and come from as far as Constanta and Brasov just to participate.   Participation is free, and the funds raised from the crafts and sweets directly support the Ukrainian artisans that made them, but also the Malva community will be benefitted.