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An Inspiring Story Proving that One Person Can Make a Difference

olga proto inspiring story making a difference I was put in touch with Olga Proto recently, through a lovely friend, and was deeply touched by her inspiring story.

Olga has been collecting donations locally for clothes and food, and sending them to Ukraine’s ‘forgotten children’. Many of them were left homeless and orphaned two years ago, and are forced to live in squalor.   

Here is Olga’s inspiring story in her own words. It just goes to show that one person really can make a difference.

Tell us a bit more about what you are doing Olga?

Two years ago when Russia occupied Ukraine I saw photos of the children who were left homeless or having to live in squalid conditions because they are in no mans land. The only help they get for survival is through donations, and I felt I could not be passive. I had to try and do something to bring a little comfort, so I contacted the Sisters of St. Joseph in Lviv to see if I could help. They do a lot of voluntary work with the orphanages and schools in the war zone, driving over 14,000 miles to deliver much needed food and clothes to the people left in the war zone at much risk to themselves.

Was there a particular catalyst for your journey?

olga-start-of-journeyThis photo was the one that started me on my journey – no one should have to live like this. I put out an appeal to a local mums Facebook group, and was astounded by the response I got for clothes and food. I was quickly able to send my first shipment via the professional drivers who come from Ukraine every two weeks.

What do you typically send?

Clothing, shoes, food and medicine. I pack and sort the clothes into bags for the two types of orphanages which are babies (0-3) and bigger children who are 3-18 years old. The drivers charge per kilo and to date this year I have personally paid over £4,000 in transportation, which means that local parents have donated a staggering four thousand kilos of clothing, shoes, food and medicine.

The best food to donate ideally is dried fruits, instant hot chocolate drinks, dried milk, baby milks and plastic bags of porridge. Anything and everything that sustains for winter!

This year the nuns wanted to take forty children from the war zone to the West of Ukraine into the Carpathian mountains, for two weeks of psychological art therapy to try and take away the trauma of what they had seen in the war. They needed lots of a paints and paper etc, so I bought £200 of art supplies from Poundland to help them. The nuns reported back that it was a highly successful exercise.

What’s next on the agenda?

I have now received a huge amount of donations which I am busy trying to sort and pack, but the winter has already started on the Eastern front up to minus forty degrees. Due to the bombings there is hardly any electricity or heating in the villages, and I’d like to be able to send hot water bottles, children and adult vitamins, cough medicines and vicks. This is the last lorry I will be sending before Christmas, and this time I really do need financial help to send it all, and to be able to buy the medicines and hot water bottles. I would also love to send them chocolates and biscuits for Xmas, but it is a luxury I cannot afford at the moment.

Every single donation will make a difference to the lives of these children.

Thank you so much for sharing your story Olga. Please take a look at Olga’s Just Giving page.

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