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Comforted by her mother, six-month-old Polina is safe at last after escaping the hell of war-torn Ukraine.
Over the past few days, what chaos and confusion have those bright blue eyes witnessed? Almost certainly scenes that no child should ever have to endure.
But mercifully the little girl and her mother Yulia have now found sanctuary – thanks to Daily Mail readers whose generosity helped fund the Unicef centre looking after them.
Over the past few days, what chaos and confusion have those bright blue eyes witnessed?
Their journey across the battle-ravaged country took them to Ukraine’s frontier with Romania. After crossing, they reached one of Unicef’s specialist Blue Dot centres.
These cater to children and women, especially the most vulnerable such as unaccompanied minors and children with disabilities.
Nicoleta Daneliuc, who helps run the Sighetu Marmatiei Blue Dot centre on the Romanian border, said: ‘There are all kinds of stories.
‘Unfortunately their relatives – fathers, brothers, husbands – were left behind in Ukraine… there is not much we can do except keep helping.’
Unicef, the United Nations’ children’s charity, has set up Blue Dot centres as child-friendly spaces
Unicef, the United Nations’ children’s charity, has set up Blue Dot centres as child-friendly spaces.
They offer blankets, warm clothes, sanitary kits, toys, hygiene products and baby food, and there are specialist psychologists to help youngsters and their mothers process the traumas they have been through.
While they have made it to safety, most if not all of the young mothers arriving at the centres have left husbands behind to an uncertain future.
The Mail Force charity has given £500,000 to Unicef to help its vital work
There will have been a desperate emotional farewell at a railway station or a bus depot, as menfolk kissed their loved ones goodbye – possibly the last time they will ever see them. All men aged 18 to 60 have been ordered to stay and fight Putin’s army.
Miss Daneliuc said: ‘All of the cases present here now are mothers with children, for whom we provide a warm resting area and a safe space. We want to thank all of those whose help gives SIM cards, food, water, soup, tea, coffee, everything. Without their help we could not manage.’
The Mail Force charity has given £500,000 to Unicef to help its vital work. Our readers have continued to swamp us with generous cheques and letters of support and compassion.
The Daily Mail, Mail on Sunday and MailOnline UKRAINE REFUGEE APPEAL
Readers of Mail Newspapers and MailOnline have always shown immense generosity at times of crisis.
Calling upon that human spirit, we are now launching an appeal to raise money for refugees from Ukraine.
For, surely, no one can fail to be moved by the heartbreaking images and stories of families – mostly women, children, the infirm and elderly – fleeing from Russia’s invading armed forces.
As this tally of misery increases over the coming days and months, these innocent victims of a tyrant will require accommodation, schools and medical support.
All donations to the Mail Ukraine Appeal will be distributed to charities and aid organisations providing such essential services.
In the name of charity and compassion, we urge all our readers to give swiftly and generously.
TO MAKE A DONATION ONLINE
Donate at www.mailforcecharity.co.uk/donate
To add Gift Aid to a donation – even one already made – complete an online form found here: mymail.co.uk/ukraine
Via bank transfer, please use these details:
Account name: Mail Force Charity
Account number: 48867365
Sort code: 60-00-01
TO MAKE A DONATION VIA CHEQUE
Make your cheque payable to ‘Mail Force’ and post it to: Mail Newspapers Ukraine Appeal, GFM, 42 Phoenix Court, Hawkins Road, Colchester, Essex CO2 8JY
TO MAKE A DONATION FROM THE US
US readers can donate to the appeal via a bank transfer to Associated Newspapers or by sending checks to dailymail.com HQ at 51 Astor Place (9th floor), New York, NY 10003