When your world gets turned upside down, sometimes it’s the little things that have the biggest impact.
When Russia sent covert forces into Eastern Ukraine in 2014, a local woman by the name of Inna acted fast to keep her newborn baby son, Andriy safe from the invading forces.
As Russian troops entered their home town of Donetsk, Inna, her husband, and daughter, with baby Andriy in tow, hurriedly packed up their home, and left everything behind to start a new life in the west of the country, in Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital.
In February 2022, Andriy, now 8 years old, found himself having to flee the Russians for the second time in his young life. This time Inna and Andriy had to say goodbye to Andriy’s father and big sister, as they made the perilous journey to the border, and from there into Poland.
Not only did Andriy and Inna have to farewell their loved ones, but all their possessions which included Andriy’s much loved, prized blue scooter.
DONATE NOW TO HELP WELCOME A CHILD LIKE ANDRIY TO AUSTRALIA WITH A FREE QUALITY BIKE OR SCOOTER
From Poland, they managed to get on a flight to Sydney, and were among the 8,500 displaced Ukrainians granted an initial 3 month tourist visa to stay temporarily in Australia.
Since arriving in Sydney, Andriy and his mum have been overwhelmed by the warmth and generosity with which Australians greeted them. The mother and young son were hosted by an Australian family who had offered their unit for refugee accommodation. They felt grateful, but also of course anxious and stressed to arrive in a new land where they knew no-one.
Having no other possessions but the clothes on their back, they went to a hall in Lidcombe, which was home to the Ukrainian-Australian Association, and operating normally as a meeting place and language school for the Ukrainian community, but now, following the Russian invasion, transformed into an emergency assistance centre for displaced Ukrainians.
At the hall, the displaced Ukrainians were assisted by volunteers from the Ukrainian Council of NSW to access government services, and navigate the complex immigration system to gain longer term humanitarian visas, to prevent them from being forced back to Ukraine and help keep them out of harm’s way.
There Inna met the volunteer Nadia, whose own Ukraininan grandparents had to flee invading Nazis, and later the advancing Soviet soldiers in the wake of Word War II. Nadia and the other volunteers helped to provide refugees with food and provisions, essentials such as clothing and shoes. The new arrivals were also greeted at the hall with some coffee and cake, and a chance to chat with a friendly face.
Nadia listened to Inna and Andriy’s story, amazed at their resilience and courage. Nevertheless, she could see the stress and worry etched on Inna’s face, as she tried to hold everything together.
Nadia had heard about Revolve ReCYCLING’s bicycle donation program, and asked if Andriy would like a bike with which to explore his new neighbourhood. Inna replied that their apartment was too small to fit a bike, but Andriy had a blue scooter back in Kyiv which he loved. Maybe something like that…
Nadia got in touch with me at Revolve ReCYCLING . I showed our team the photo (above) of Andriy with his blue scooter in Kyiv. Our Revolve ReCYCLING team spread the word, sharing the photo, and started checking all incoming scooters until we found the perfect match!
Our mechanics got to work and a short time later, an intricately restored scooter - just like the one Andriy had in Ukraine except for the colour - was handed to Andriy who quickly hopped on and scooted around with joy!
Please give $80 to give a displaced child the simple joy of a newly restored bike or scooter