The Ukrainian community in Australia has warmly welcomed the donation by the Federal Parliamentary Press Gallery’s Midwinter Ball of $100,000 to the Australian Federation of Ukrainian Organisations’ (AFUO) charity, Ukraine Crisis Appeal (UCA), which will use the funds to refurbish a new shelter designed to house around 500 displaced men, women and children in Ukraine.
“There are currently close to 1 million Ukrainians without shelter. If they are not provided with housing soon, as a freezing winter approaches, they will die due to hypothermia and other illnesses,” said Ms Darka Senko, Chair of the AFUO Humanitarian Aid Initiatives Committee.
“That is why UCA has partnered with Rotary Club Kyiv International and Caritas Ukraine to fund the refurbishment of 16 shelters across Ukraine, to provide shelter for 7,600 people. One of these shelters in Irpin will proudly bear a plaque saying it was funded by the Australian Federal Parliamentary Press Gallery.
“For Ukrainians, and particularly for those who have lost everything due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, this is truly touching. As a thank you for the donation and a thank you to all Australian journalists who keep the war at the forefront of media attention, we have gifted to the Press Gallery a ‘motanka’ doll, made by displaced children from Bucha and Irpin,” said Ms Senko.
Motanka dolls are an ancient Ukrainian amulet that are believed to protect and bless the owner, and inspire feelings of strength, courage and hope. This motanka came with a short poem written in Ukrainian on the children’s behalf:
They once had, and lost, a childhood embraced by the lush greenery of tree-lined streets.
Then in March 2022, they were told they could escape along the green corridor of a shell-cratered road, surrounded by enemy troops.
They came face-to-face with the abyss between life and death…
May this little woven doll protect you, and may it be the symbol through which the children of Ukraine share their feelings with the world.
“On behalf of the UCA I would also like to thank David Crowe, President of the Federal Parliamentary Press Gallery, for nominating our charity, and the organiser of the ball, Paul Donohoe, BDW Special Events, for organising such a positive event which supports so many worthy charities,” said Ms Senko.