Two ambulances destined for Ukraine will save hundreds of lives - thanks to south Warwickshire Polish community
TWO ambulances destined for Ukraine will save hundreds of lives, thanks to the efforts of a south Warwickshire based charity.
On 1st August the ambulances will set off for hospitals in Shepetivka and Sharhorod, cities on the western side of the war-torn country.
After stopping over for a few days in Poland to be converted to left-hand drive and crossing the border into Ukraine, the ambulances will be handed over to the hospitals’ paramedic teams.
The £20,000 to pay for the emergency vehicles was raised by Leamington’s Polish Centre Action for Ukraine.
It’s the latest in a long list of emergency donations by the charity’s supporters including Polish Centre secretary Dawid Kozlowski, Martyn Edwards of Stratford Fishing and Outdoors and Ukrainian businessman Alexander Pochkun, who has close ties to Stratford.
Dawid told the Herald: “These new ambulances will replace existing ones that are about 50 years old.
“They will make a huge difference and will definitely save more people’s lives.”
It’s just over 100 days since Dawid, Martyn, Alexander and others launched a major effort to collect donations and fundraise for Ukrainians, after the Russian army invaded on 24th February.
During that time, the charity has delivered a staggering 168 tons of aid.
More than six million Ukrainians have been forced to leave their homes in the east and south of the country and head to the western side of the country, according to United Nations estimates.
Among these are 14-year-old Ignat’s family who were forced to flee the dangerous Donbas region.
They have been taken in by an elderly couple in Shepetivka but as their hosts’ house has no bath or shower, the family use washing facilities at the local church.
It was there Ignat met nuns from the Congregation of St Joseph in Ukraine, who’ve thrown open their doors to people seeking shelter from the war.
Sister Marlena contacted the team at the Polish Centre and explained Ignat was in danger of losing his sight, if he didn’t have eye surgery urgently.
The team appealed to the south Warwickshire community and quickly afterwards £400 to fund the operation was donated by 72-year-old Ram Prinjah, who raised £700 by selling flowers and plants from his allotment.
The charity also helped 140 Ukrainian children go on summer camps in Shepitivka and Lubar – by donating £3,000 and five pallets of food.
The camps, which are running this, and next month, are organised by the nuns to give often-traumatised youngsters a chance to take part in fun activities and sports, either staying on site or visiting for the day.
Fifty pairs of new shoes and a selection of sports clothing and equipment were also delivered last week.
Other deliveries include a number of inflatable swimming pools, donated by Dawid’s employer Euro Car Parts and petrol generators.
And as the nuns also care for the elderly and disabled, the charity also donates pallets of incontinence pads.
As well as the summer camps, the St Joseph’s nuns also run an after-school club for children.
Dawid explained the nuns take care of the youngsters, feed them and help with their homework.
“The sisters told me how the children are so happy when they are given even small gifts – such as miniature bottles of
shampoo,” he said.
He added: “The nuns do so much good work – including giving a bed and food to families fleeing the war who desperately need a safe place to rest for a day or so, during their journey.
“I usually have a weekly phone call with nuns and some of the stories they tell me about things that are happening out there are so upsetting – it’s very emotional.
“And sometimes while we’re talking, the air raid alarms go off suddenly and they rush off to quickly find all the children and families and move them to safety in the basement.
“I never sleep those nights, as I can’t stop worrying whether they are all OK.”
He added: “It’s already been more than 100 days but it seems as though this war is going to last for a long time, so we have to be prepared to support these people.”
n As well as donations of cash and volunteers, the charity is also in need of medical supplies and dried and tinned food which can be dropped off at Stratford Fishing and Outdoors in Timothy’s Bridge Road, or the Polish Centre’s warehouse in Harbour Lane, Leamington.
For more information on how to help and a full list of items needed, see the Polish Centre Facebook page.
As well as donations of cash and volunteers, the charity is also in need of medical supplies and dried and tinned food which can be dropped off at Stratford Fishing and Outdoors on Timothy’s Bridge Road, or the Polish Centre’s warehouse in Harbour Lane, Leamington.
For more information on how to help and a full list of items needed, see the Polish Centre Facebook page