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Children and families at St Michael’s C of E Academy, which is part of the Learning Academy Partnership, have been supporting children in Ukraine with creating boxes full of gifts for Ukrainian children to receive.
The war in Ukraine continues displacing families and causing significant destruction to the country. As a result of this there are many children who have either lost contact with their parents and guardians or suffered losses as a result of the war. Many of these children reside in children’s homes in Ukraine, some however, have been living in shelters and hiding in places underground to escape the terrible consequences.
Nikki Burton, St Michael’s administrator and a parent at the school volunteers at a local community hub and Facebook page, Torbay Ukraine Information Hub, supporting Ukrainian families arriving in Torbay, providing practical and emotional support and children and adult conversational English. Two other parents at the school, Leanne Bickerton and Mollie Grimshaw also volunteer and their children have also been involved in helping to develop this community. One of the projects they have taken on is a shoebox appeal with Humanitarian Aid Now, a volunteer group delivering aid to Ukraine.
Nikki explained: “St Michael’s were keen to be involved in this project as we felt not only would it benefit those children displaced in Ukraine, but really reflected the values we want to instil in our children here at St Michael’s. We asked the children to bring in items such as toys and toiletries to fill a shoebox sized box. The children decorated these and put inside pictures and notes so the receiving children would know who these had come from. We talked about how receiving such a shoebox would impact on the children and we were amazed by the level of compassion and understanding shown by our young children.”
These shoeboxes will then be delivered to various children’s homes in Ukraine by Humanitarian Aid Now. This is an ongoing project and moving forward hope to deliver adult shoeboxes and more children’s boxes too. Mark Paine from Humanitarian Aid Now collected the boxes and will travel to Ukraine to deliver the boxes himself. He liked that the boxes were decorated by the children which made them personal for the children receiving them. Mark reiterated how well received the donations and gifts were for children in Ukraine suffering hardship in the midst of a confusing and lonely time.
Julie Edwards, Head of Academy at St Michael’s said:
“We were blown away by the generosity of our families in sending in donations. Our children, although only between the ages of 3 and 5 took great care in decorating the boxes. We have Ukrainian families attending our school and we were thrilled to be able to support in any way we can. The children showed our values of both love and community by thinking about how we could care and show love to our wider world community.”