Lives Changed For Ukrainian Families and Orphaned Children

by Lisa George

A group of people holding a banner with the words 'Dereham Ukraine Aid Centre'
From Left: Stephanie Wythe (Volunteer), Lisa George (Norwich England Stake, Liaison Officer with the Dereham Ukraine Aid Centre), Patricia Martins (Norwich England Stake Relief Society President), Galina Russell (Volunteer & Translator), Ian Odgers (Cofounder & Chairman), Nuno Côrte-Real (Norwich England Stake, Communication Director)
Some of the items donated to the Ukrainian Aid Centre
Some of the items donated to the Ukrainian Aid Centre

A humanitarian project by Norwich England Stake came to the rescue of the Ukrainian Aid Centre in East Dereham.

The project involved assisting Ukrainian families and orphaned children with two major appeals in November 2023. First, to help 20 Ukrainian families with essential items needed in their homes. Second, the Ukrainian Aid Centre was appealing to the public to collect items for an orphanage in Ukraine needing warm winter clothing, which would bring Christmas comfort and joy to those children in need.

The project value was £8.5K and the money was used to buy the following items- 10 king size beds and mattresses, 6 single beds and mattresses, 20 pillows, 20 vacuum cleaners, 10 irons, 10 ironing boards, 20 liquidisers, 20 slow cookers, 20 microwaves, 20 blenders, 20 kettles, 20 stock pot pans, 10 toasters, 10 hair dryers, 10 clothes airers, 10 hand mixers and 10 food mixers.

For the orphanage, the following items were bought: 40 pyjama sets, 27 neck warmers, 10 hats, 100 pairs of socks, 30 pairs of gloves, and some stationery.

Ludmila, one of the recipients of the household donations
Ludmila, one of the recipients of the household donations, expressed, “I felt overwhelmed and happy because of the kindness of the people; this has touched my heart deeply.”

Ian Odgers is co-founder of the Dereham Ukraine Aid Centre and Chairman of the Trustees, and he works alongside 23 volunteers at the centre.

He stated, “The centre has been supporting Ukrainian families since the 6th May 2022. We are working with families that are wanting to move into their own accommodation; the donations will help enormously for those wanting to make a house a home. The donations for the orphanage will make the children both young and old know that someone somewhere cares. I can’t thank the church enough for helping us to help make a difference.

Members of the church with Ukrainian Aid volunteers and members of the Ukrainian Community
Members of the church with Ukrainian Aid volunteers and members of the Ukrainian Community

Galina Russell, a volunteer and translator at the Ukrainian Aid Centre shared, “My father was brought up in an orphanage and I know from him how hard it was to live without parents. He often said to me, ‘I survived in the orphanage because of the kindness and donations of many people I never knew.’ Donations from your church reminded me of his words and I couldn’t hold back my tears. Your kindness will be remembered always.”

Members of the Norwich Stake continue forging friendships and links to the Ukrainian Aid Centre, offering service and donations to support those in need. Nuno Côrte-Real, Communications Director for the Church in Norfolk, stated the following: “In the spirit of fulfilling the divine mandate of loving God and our neighbours, we all feel deeply grateful for the joyful privilege of blessing and helping those in need.”