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Ryman residents knit thousands of bears for Ukraine

Residents across Ryman villages in New Zealand and Australia are on a mission to knit 20,000 teddy bears for displaced children in Ukraine.

Every resident across Ryman’s 45 villages, and every staff member at Ryman’s headquarters in Christchurch and Melbourne, has been asked to contribute to a bear.

Named the Ryman Healthcare Yuri Bear Project, this philanthropic project is providing a way for residents to make a small difference to the war-torn country.

“Thousands of Ryman village residents are avid knitters, and this project empowers them to use a skill that they are experts at to send a symbol of love from afar,” says Debra Richardson, Ryman’s Victorian Sales and Community Relations manager.

The project is named after Debra’s former foster son, Yuri, who lived with Debra and her family in Melbourne after the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in the 1980s.

“When I first shared the idea with Yuri he said: ‘Ukraine is stronger with your help, empathy, and love. A million thanks to the millions of people who care,” says Debra.

Members of the public are also welcome to knit a bear for Ukraine. Visit the Ryman website to find out more, download a knitting pattern, and watch some instructional videos. Completed bears can be dropped off at your nearest village.

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