Liberty Day must feel bittersweet to many elderly Italians this year. It is the day of the year that celebrates the end of the occupation to the Nazis within Italy and Mussolini’s puppet Social Republic by the Resistance, a race to the end of the war to end all wars in Europe. But, here we are again, witnessing a rerun of history, a gangster despot with a love of fascist fantasies aiming to wipe out his neighbours…and we feel powerless and scramble to help.
The #CookForUkraine initiative to raise money for UNICEF‘s dedicated Ukraine fund is a good first step in doing something. Its experts work so hard to keep children safe, and fed with some semblance of mental health and dignity in a war zone which is why we created a campaign in Abruzzo. A huge thank you to every single company big & small that donated raffle prizes, to every single person who bought a raffle ticket, to the Cerchio del Desiderio team for hosting & organising the awareness and fundraising family lunch/day out, and to their partners who donated their precious time and activities, horse carriage riding, shiatsu, yoga, sound bath and horseriding sessions – plus of course the wineries!
Donated monies raised from the online raffle and fundraising day came to a wonderful net €3,675.75. To help buoy up the wonderful food blogger Olia Hercules (who created the CookForUkraine initiative that has provided a focus on how to help), I donated the online raffle part of the fundraising money to UNICEF through her Just Giving campaign. It goes straight to UNICEF without any processing fees, and I could transfer monies from the card processing company Stripe to my sterling account without losing monies in exchange. For the raffle, we received a gross of €3,180, a net of €3,000 less card processing and a Mailchimp newsletter software fee. For the awareness and fundraising day, we raised a gross of €1,075.67, less card processing costs and food for the lunch were able to donate €675.67. For the purpose of transparency, click here to see the breakdown and invoice where appropriate.
One of the guests that I invited to the lunch was Albina, who had arrived from Ukraine, and attended the event alongside her brilliant host Tina. It’s not just about giving money but trying to form relationships and support. I thought about how else I could help show off her language skills to gain some work and asked if she’d write a post for the blog about leaving Ukraine to come to Italy. In all this, I realised there is no visible voice for migrants and refugees in Abruzzo who have language skills, where do we read their personal opinions and experiences that one or two Italian companies could benefit from. Too many migrant women get pushed into cleaning when they have a brilliant skill set, but we need to help those to be recognised and found so we will begin our new category ‘Seen but Not Heard’! Now to organise this more, if anyone wants to lend a hand please let me know! But in the meantime read Albina’s Story.
No refugee or migrant is happy leaving home, friends and family, it is a trauma that simmers and churns away inside. Each family member reacts differently to this loss, sometimes there are those who feel they should return to just be close, no matter what hell is being unleashed as in the case of Albina’s family, so she is now in Poland, but do read her post about her experience and why we should continue working to have voices heard and support charities working on the ground to support refugees.