Ukrainians kick-start campaign

Valeriy Boyko and his wife Elena Boyko at their fundraising stall on Picton Street. Photo supplied

Two Ukrainian-born New Zealanders are organising a campaign to raise donations and supplies for the civilians and children in their home country.

Dr Elena Artyukh, a Howick dentist for 22 years, and Valeriy Boyko, who has lived in east Auckland for 25 years and is in logistics, are joining the global campaign to take action after Russia invaded Ukraine.

Valeriy, the father of sports medicine registrar Andriy Boyko who is conducting similar campaigning efforts from his home in Australia (Times, April 5), says they couldn’t sit back and do nothing while Russia continued its brutal campaign in Ukraine.

“We cannot sit by and watch how our country is being torn apart and how innocent children and civilians are suffering.”

Elena and Valeriy started their campaign a week ago. They set up a Givealittle page, approached businesses and contacts, and ran a fundraising campaign on Picton Street over the weekend, spreading awareness and raising donations for their cause.

Their next campaign in Howick will be on April 23, opposite the former ASB on Picton Street, from 9.30am-12.30pm and on April 30 in Albany.

All funds received will be used exclusively to purchase medical supplies and equipment locally such as Immediate First Aid Kits (IFAK), tourniquets, trauma bandages, shell dressings and humanitarian goods.

The supplies and goods will be air freighted to Europe and collected by their Ukrainian contacts either in Poland or other destinations depending on the situation on the ground.

Transportation of medical aid to Ukraine will be arranged by the National Medical Clinical Centre of Ukraine and other volunteer organisations.

None will be used, they say, for purchasing military equipment.

“We are in constant contact with Ukranian hospitals and local volunteer organisations who keep us informed of their needs.”

Elena told the Times that the campaign is also a dedication for their late mothers. Elena’s mother was a paediatrician and Valeriy’s an oncologist.

“We thought that if they were alive, they would be trying to help.”

Howick Councillor Sharon Stewart and Pakuranga MP Simeon Brown are supporting their efforts.