Hello dear MAD-Aid supporter!
Whether you’ve been part of the MAD-Aid family for years or you’ve just joined us, I send you my warm greetings from the Isle of Wight. How are you feeling and keeping up in this world of fast changing chaos?
For our tiny team here, to say we’ve been overloaded these past 118 days would be a dramatic understatement. I’d like to share a bit of what’s been going on, in case you haven’t been following our activities on Facebook.
The date of February 24, 2022, forever changed the course of our charity. No, let’s not say it was changed; rather, the events of that day added significant projects to our existing programs and, hence, to the already full workloads of our small teams in the UK and Moldova.
On that day, when Russia invaded Ukraine, I was in Moldova. In the first month, I went from not fully grasping what the words “war” and “refugee” meant, what those sound and feel like to people on the ground, to the point of detesting those words. Consider this: millions of individuals who ran from guns, fire, and destruction went from being known as teachers, students, mothers, retailers, scientists, professionals, to this label instead: refugee. To many, they became a statistic. And that’s not right.
More about that first month you can read here on our blog.
At our Phoenix Complex in Riscani, close to the Ukraine-Moldova border, we have accommodated over 100 displaced mothers and children since February 27. The last group of 27 have become like family, as they have been with us for nearly three months.
These, too, are numbers, yet behind every number is a personal story, and most of them are as heart-breaking as this one Alexandra told me:
Mark was born in the Bucha hospital on February 17, a mere seven days before the war started, she kept repeating. Not even a month later, the bombs began to drop on them. Terrified, but feeling fortunate, Alexandra, her newborn son, her two-year-old son, her mother, and grandmother, together escaped on the last humanitarian aid convoy. It took them a week to reach Moldova. Their placement is in Mihaileni Centre, one of the centres fully under MAD-Aid’s wing since March 1. Alexandra’s husband and father of the two boys is still in Bucha. Their flat was bombed, and they now have nowhere to return. In early May, they christened the baby in a church in Mihaileni, and I became his godmother.
Of the 90,000+ Ukrainian citizens who have arrived in Moldova every day since the war started, up to half of them are children. Kids of war, they are called.
And that is just a short introduction in our operation to help Ukrainian people in Moldova and Ukraine.
Back on the Isle of Wight, where MAD-Aid has made its home for the last decade, the generosity of the local people has been beyond amazing and outside our imagination.
Since February, we, together with countless volunteers, set up 26 collection points across the Isle of Wight. Then, over the following weeks, we collected over 150 tonnes of emergency aid, sorted it all, and stuffed it into 40-foot containers.
The result to date is 13 trucks hauling these containers have left our small island for Moldova, where the aid was distributed throughout the nation, as well as to parts of Ukraine. Thousands of boxes of food, sanitary products, clothes, bedding, beds, medical, survival kits were collected, sorted, shipped, and distributed. Each truck carried a value of goods worth 40-60 thousand pounds. Handling over half a million pounds in aid gave MAD-Aid an enormous responsibility and we appreciate the trust placed in us.
Besides the 13 trucks from the Isle of Wight, we shipped a further four container-loads of aid. Two were from London, one from Scotland, and one from the Netherlands. So, in all, MAD-Aid has organised and arranged the paperwork for a total of 17 trucks carrying about £800,000 worth of aid.
We sent seven smaller shipments of aid in 7.5 tonne trucks directly into Ukraine. With the help of the Ukrainian Embassy in Moldova, we delivered food, survival kits, first aid kits, medical aid, baby food, pampers and so much more, to Ukrainians in need.
We are proud of what we, with many generous donors and volunteers, have accomplished over the past four months. We wish we could say our United4Ukraine mission will soon end, but there is still no end to the war in sight or to the humanitarian crisis it has caused.
We have more meaningful news to share with you, but to keep this newsletter to a reasonable length, we will do so over the coming days.
Wishing you peace and good health,
Victoria and her small team
PS. Below are just a few random photos of the many volunteers who put in herculean efforts to load and deliver the truckloads of emergency aid.