On March 8, International Women’s Day is celebrated worldwide, particularly in Ukraine and Russia, where women traditionally receive beautiful flowers from men and women. However, this year is different. Millions of women are fleeing the Russian invasion in Ukraine, hiding or sending their sons into battle.
Flower Circus is urging people to support Ukrainian women on social media by publishing a photograph of flowers with the hashtag #flowersforwomeninwar.
Emmeke Vierhout is one half of the Flower Circus initiative to connect growers and florists. This awareness message is very close to her heart, as she has just fled her large farm in Ukraine and is now safely in the Netherlands with her daughters, waiting for her husband Kees Huizinga to arrive.
She says: “International Women’s Day is an important holiday with lots of flowers. This will not be the case this year, with many women suffering from the war: women are hiding in bunkers and women whose husbands and sons fighting on the front. My heart goes out to these women who only hope for peace and therefore I say #flowersforwomeninwar!”
John Elstgeest, the other partner in the initiative, has been living in Ukraine (in Bucha, just outside Kyiv) since 2016. He, too, has fled the country with his son. He is thinking about his employees of Flower Circus who are still in Ukraine and cannot leave the country at the moment. He says: “To me, flowers are a symbol of hope and that’s why I want to show my support towards all women involved in this conflict against their will: #flowersforwomeninwar!”