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Ukrainian war orphans visit Warsaw thanks to a Polish crowdfunding effort

21.01.2024 07:02
A group of Ukrainian youth, who lost their fathers in their country's defensive war against Russia, arrived in Warsaw to spend the weekend in Poland's capital city. The trip organisers provided them with, among other things, computer classes and a visit to Warsaw's National Museum.
zdjęcie ilustracyjne
zdjęcie ilustracyjneMSZ RP

In a Polish Radio interview the young people from Ukraine emphasised that it was very important for them to break away from the ongoing war in their country - and from the related painful memories. “We are from Volhynia. We had such a misfortune that we lost our fathers, but now the Poles extended a helping hand to us and invited us to Poland. Today we are in Warsaw, and we are very grateful for this - because this way we open the world to ourselves. Warsaw is a very beautiful place and it helps us break away from the memories of the tragedy that will accompany us throughout our lives. It's hard to predict the future at the moment, but we all dream that the war will end, that we will win and that we can rebuild our country together. We are glad that Poland offers its help, also in this context" - the young Ukrainians said.

The visiting group of 24 young people, aged 15 to 17, comes mostly from the Lviv and Volhynia regions. Their stay in Warsaw was financed by a fundraiser announced on the Internet by journalist Bartłomiej Wypartowicz from the Defence24 website. As he said, donors paid several times more than the amount set for the collection - and thanks to this, it was possible to help more children and organise more than one visit.

“The previous group was younger. Thanks to the generosity of many people, there will be further rounds of children - we did not expect the collection to be such a success. It is difficult for these kids to enter adult life, or even to keep on living in a relatively normal manner when they lose a parent during the war. Also, these children are still in Ukraine, where the situation is difficult. There are air raid alarms every now and then, and these youth are under tremendous stress also from that. So, if we can do anything to make them feel better and smile, at least for a moment - we do it" - Wypartowicz said, speaking for the PAP press agency.

One of the initiators of the arrival of Ukrainian children is Julia Kovalchuk - the co-founder of the Polish-Ukrainian Reconciliation Association. She has been cooperating with the volunteer movement in Ukraine, named "Children of the Heavenly Legion", which has been taking care of over 800 war orphans since 2014.

“We are very happy to be able to plan a trip to Poland for another group of Ukrainian children. We are also open to suggestions for the future, eg. if someone would like to provide some gifts, sweets or board games - because the more support we have, the more children we will make happy" - Kovalchuk said.

"W Międzyczasie" Foundation is another non-profit that participated in organising the visit.

All initiators of this effort declared they want to continue their work on arranging trips to Poland for Ukrainian war orphans - allowing for their integration with Polish peers as well.


Source: PAP, IAR