The Malta Independent 28 June 2022, Tuesday

Three Gozitans raise over €7,000 for Ukrainian orphans in Slovakia

Giuseppe Attard Monday, 20 June 2022, 08:48 Last update: about 7 days ago

Three Gozitans - Mark Cremona, Aaron Cini and Antonella Zammit - are a week into their ten-day volunteering trip in Slovakia, helping Ukrainian children orphaned due to the on-going war in Ukraine.

Cremona, Cini and Zammit are volunteering with the Salesians of Don Bosco in Presov Slovakia and are taking care of a group of orphans aged 6 to 11 who were evacuated from Ukraine at the beginning of the war.

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As part of their volunteer aid, the three raised over €7,000 for these orphans, to be used on educational material as well as other recreational material. The funds were raised through various initiatives from the volunteers, such as events and donations from schools and churches. As part of their experience, the children will also be meeting children from Gozo through online video calls.

On their way to Slovakia, the three volunteers took over five pieces of luggage full of things for the children. Upon their arrival, they shared with The Malta Independent that they are teaching the children English, as well as facts about Malta.

Cremona, on social media, thanked all those who donated stationary and educational material for the children, stating that “apart from the language barrier, their appreciation of their work makes it feel like we have known each other for ages.”

This is not Cremona, Cini and Zammit’s first time volunteering as throughout the past years they had volunteered in Guatemala, Ethiopia and Kenya with the late Fr. George Grima, who was a missionary priest “who gave his life in the service of others,” they said.

The experience of poverty and starvation is not an alien experience for the volunteers, but the mass exodus of people from Ukraine and the immense amount of orphaned children prompted them to go the extra mile as they had done countless times before.

A stark reality check for the volunteers is when they asked the children to draw something from memory, and some children drew guns, tanks and war related drawings. “We are trying our best to help these children move on from the war, they are just children and should not have to go through such a sad part of history. They are innocent,” the volunteers said.

The experience has definitely been an eye opener, the volunteers said, adding that “no one should go through the turmoil of war, especially in the 21st Century when we are supposed to be in the most civilised period in history.”

 

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