WHO ARE WE?
My name is Ali. I'm 19 years old and I come from Harrow in London! I run a small production company and I am currently studying Film, Television, and Digital Production at Royal Holloway UoL. This will be my third journey on this mission.
My name is Jack. I'm 32 years old and I live in Hemel Hempstead near London. I ride motorcycles and I am a freelance stunt performer working with several production companies around the world. This will be my first trip and I'm excited to make a difference!
Together, we are part of a charitable community known as "Aid Out, Refugees Back", a group of 60-odd like-minded volunteers who want to (or have done) exactly the same as us!
WHAT ARE WE DOING?
We want to fill a people-carrier to the brim with supplies and aid - provided by members of our local community such as churches, charities, and individuals - and drive to several aid and refugee centres in Poland. While we are there, our intention is to network with contacts on the ground, so we can obtain the latest and most accurate information about how we can help, what aid is needed and where it is needed, and to offer any refugee families fleeing the war in Ukraine a lift to wherever they need to go. We also have contacts on the ground who can help with completing visa forms, as well as translators who can help us overcome the language barrier.
WHY ARE WE DOING THIS?
Simply put, the need over there is greater than our own. We cannot sit here and just give £50 to charity, we feel a desire to actually get our boots on the ground and make a real difference. Our purpose in life is to serve humanity, and we feel it is more effective to show initiative and resourcefulness to actually go out there and meet people, to see the effects of war first hand, to take a refugee family under our wing with a promise and a prayer. We use our driving licenses every day in the UK, but the little plastic card that means we can drive to the shops and back holds much more power than that... so we are going to take advantage and make a difference where it is needed the most!
WHAT AID ARE WE BRINGING?
Everything you can think of! Unfortunately due to Brexit we cannot bring medication or animal products across the border, so we will buy that stuff out there. We are bringing bottled water, non-perishable foods, power banks, mobile phones, socks, underwear, footwear (boots, walking shoes, trainers), outer clothing (warm, windproof, waterproofs as well as lightweight and comfortable items of clothing), medical supplies (first aid kits), batteries, torches, sleeping bags, sanitary pads, nappies (adult and baby), to name a few. We have compiled this list from a number of different lists from previous trips, and we may decide to bring additional aid or to leave things that may not be needed closer to the time.
WHERE IS THE AID GOING TO?
Our two key locations are the Caritas centre in Lublin - which is about 800km from the Ukraine border - and the refugee centre at the repurposed Tesco building in Chelm - about 26km from the border. We may stop by the Dorohusk border and make contact with the volunteers on the ground over there and see if they need anything. We may stop along the way and offer our aid to a centre in Krakow. It all depends on where the need is the greatest. The situation is dynamic and fluid, so things are subject to change. Such is the nature of war.
WHEN ARE WE GOING?
22nd - 29th May, for one week.
HOW CAN I HELP YOUR EFFORTS?
Please consider donating to our crowdfunder! Every penny counts and goes a long way to helping us directly support volunteers and refugee families over at the border in Poland! If you can't spare even £1, that's okay! We'd like it if you could share our crowdfunder with your friends, family, colleagues, your local Mayor, anybody and everybody!
Thank you so much for reading, we hope this has been an informative briefing for you and has answered any questions you may have about our mission. Please don't hesitate to get in touch with any questions, bless you all.
All the best,
Jack and Ali