Ukraine: Refugee hosts urged not to give up when faced with red tape

So many people want to help, but they just don’t know how

Tuesday, 19th April — By Isabelle Stanley


Johanna and Martin Rosendaal

A COUPLE who have hosted refugees from Syria and Iran have urged people not to give up hope that they will be able to help those fleeing Ukraine.

For years, Dr Martin Rosendaal and Johanna Rosendaal have hosted refugees at their home in Dartmouth Park and now, in their 80s, they would have liked to host a Ukrainian. But with an Iranian young man already resident, they don’t have space.

Instead, the pair have set up – jointly with their friends – the Ukrainian Circle, a support group for refugees and their sponsors, helping source necessities and navigate the bureaucratic sponsorship process.

Dr Rosendaal said: “So many people want to help, but they just don’t know how, and faced with the government bureaucracy they get disheartened. I don’t want people to give up hope that they can help.”

The pair are suggesting people donate to Zeilen Van Vrijheid, a charity based in the Netherlands, which buys used ambulances, fills them with supplies and drives them to Ukraine. Since early March, the group has sent three humanitarian convoys with 15 ambulance cars and six support vehicles.

Dr Rosendaal said: “They’re extremely efficient, they’re very hands-on and practical. They get a shopping list of what people need from hospitals in Ukraine and drive it over.”

The couple are both children of refugees themselves who fled the Nazis. He said: “My wife and I are trying to repay the people who helped our parents all that time ago. My father came to England in April 1933 and he was sponsored by a couple of families who stood by him through thick and thin but they encountered no government bureaucracy whatsoever.”

Ms Rosendaal, who works as a sculptor, added: “We got so disillusioned trying to get people into the country because of the government barriers, we looked for another way to help.”

Anyone who wishes to donate should visit:

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