One man's mission: From Cumbria to the Ukrainian border

·3-min read
UKRAINE: Jozef and his volunteers head to the border
UKRAINE: Jozef and his volunteers head to the border

A KINDHEARTED Cumbrian has shared his story of being inspired to help the people of Ukraine.

Jozef Mycielski, from Kirkby Lonsdale, made contact with some associates that he had in Poland near the Ukrainian border.

Recently someone contacted him back saying that the Polish Scout Association was in need of assistance and they sent through a list of goods that were needed.

Jozef first contacted the parents association of Casterton Sedbergh Prep School and within a matter of days the goods and transport were secured.

Soon the word was out around the community and lots of people wanted to help.

READ MORE: Ukraine appeal: Newsquest's #ThereWithUkraine campaign reaches £10,000 - how to help

Mr Mycielski said: "I contacted three close friends based down south who all said yes to sharing the driving, supplying another vehicle and collecting goods. We knew that in ten days we were heading for the Polish / Ukraine border.

"In the purely practical sense, our trip to Przemyśl has barely scratched the surface of the overwhelming humanitarian crisis that has been an unwelcome consequence of the Russian invasion.

"The four of us who travelled in two separate vans were inspired by the Tanzanian Proverb, ‘Kidogo kidogo inakuwa nying’ which translates as, ‘Little by little, little becomes a lot.’

"We wanted, no matter how little, to do something, anything, to help. Inspired by the response from family, friends, our children’s schools and often complete strangers, we became conduits for the ‘little’ and whilst it may well have just scratched the surface, it proved to be some scratch, some surface.

News and Star: SUPPLIES: Food and other items delivered to the people of Ukraine
News and Star: SUPPLIES: Food and other items delivered to the people of Ukraine

SUPPLIES: Food and other items delivered to the people of Ukraine

"We saw, at first hand, how the Polish Scout Association is organising aid with the kind of energy and enthusiasm that would have made Robert Baden-Powell glow with pride. We delivered approximately 20 cubic metres of aid to the Scouts for immediate dispatch to the border and into Ukraine itself.

"This aid was donated by the Casterton Sedbergh Prep School family and Kirkby Lonsdale community and the communities that surround Ian, Nick and Tim too.

"We were introduced to a Pole, Gabriella, who runs the Humanitarian Aid Centre in Przemyśl, a former Tesco superstore, and who works tirelessly to give the homeless, the desperate and the displaced sanctuary and hope, providing food, accommodation and the means to work through the bureaucracy required to seek refuge in other European countries.

READ MORE: More visas approved for Ukrainian refugees in Carlisle

"She currently looks after 70 families. Through the generosity of so many we were able to buy many shopping trolleys full of food and goods to support these families. Gabriella said that it felt like Christmas.

"We were humbled by Kamil a Polish aid worker who, almost single-handedly, looks after 400 Ukrainian women and children in a disused school in Jarosław about 20km from the border, providing the only loving male presence with the kind of affection and joy that any doting father would be proud of.

News and Star: COMMUNITY: People coming together to deliver goods
News and Star: COMMUNITY: People coming together to deliver goods

COMMUNITY: People coming together to deliver goods

"Again, through the generosity of so many of our community we were able to deliver a van load of food and sanitary products to this vulnerable group and witness, first-hand, the massive impact of this simple support.

"Their contributions, along with our efforts and those who have sponsored us so generously, especially the parents, teachers and pupils of Casterton Sedbergh Prep School, Sedbergh School, Eastbourne College and Great Ballard schools, the people and businesses of Kirkby Lonsdale and the many complete strangers who were sufficiently moved on hearing of our journey to the Polish / Ukraine border to give spontaneously and trustingly, all these are living proof that ‘little by little, little becomes a lot."

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