Ukrainians in Camden begin collecting donations for trapped relatives

'My grand­mother is bedridden so my family can’t leave her behind'

Friday, 18th March — By Isabelle Stanley

march Image 2022-03-18 at 13.08.28 (16)

Irina Colvasca, Artem Stockij, Elena Iryna Seredynska and Irina Pykhalska. at Primrose Hill Library

UKRAINIANS in Camden are coordinating donations to send to their war-torn home country, where many of their family members remain trapped.

Elena Iryna Seredynska’s parents live in Ternopil in Western Ukraine.

She said: “Everybody’s still there, all my family – they’re in Western Ukraine where it’s safer but it’s mentally challenging.”

She added: “They don’t want to leave. My grand­mother is bedridden so they can’t leave her behind. She used to have nursing support but now the nurses are hiding themselves.”

When the war started, she said: “I didn’t sleep for the first few weeks. I woke up to a message from my cousin saying ‘wake up, the war has started’. And from then on, you dread going to sleep because you don’t know what you’ll wake up to.”

Ms Seredynska, along with other local Ukrainians, has taken time off her job as a letting agent to coordinate donations at the Primrose Hill Community Library.

She said: “Most important are medical supplies, bandages, tourniquets, cotton wool, anything you need if you have a bleed. Also, sugar substitutes for diabetes, particularly the one for children.

“They all go to the border with Poland. The volunteers know where certain things are needed and they send it on to the right place. What’s amazing is the volunteers in Ukraine organised themselves – they’re men so they can’t leave.”

Despite the ongoing bad news, Ms Seredynska remains hopeful, she said: “Ukraine doesn’t have a big army but we’re 40 million people and every one of us fights.

Putin thought he had this giant army but he doesn’t. They’ve run out of food, fuel and petrol – it was all propaganda.”

She added: “We did not hate them as much as they thought we did before the war, but we do now. You do not just kill innocent people, there’s no coming back from that.”

Working alongside her in the community library is Irina Pykhalska.

Her family are trapped too – including one cousin who’s a naval officer in Odessa, which is facing imminent invasion. Her mother has made hundreds of blue and yellow ribbons for volunteers and donors to wear.

Will Carnochan, the finance manager at the Primrose Hill Community Library, is coordinating donations. They’re accept­ing drop-offs on Friday 10am-6pm and Saturday 10am-1pm.

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