Black Taxis for Ukraine

In March, I was one of eleven London cab drivers who made a 2500 mile round trip to a refugee camp in Poland, near the border of Ukraine. We delivered much-needed humanitarian aid and transported people to safety, in our black taxis. Our trip attracted a fair amount of publicity and was featured on ITV, LBC and the BBC.
 
With your help, we now hope to raise enough money for a second trip to take clothing, food, toiletries and medical supplies and hopefully bring back refugees to the UK.
 
 
What we experienced on our last trip
Upon arriving in Chelm, Poland, we visited a re-purposed Tesco Supermarket and a sports centre housing hundreds of refugees. They were primarily women and children who had arrived on buses from the border with very few belongings. We were all very moved by the predicament of these people who previously lived normal lives.
 
The Refugee Camp in Poland
 
The Polish military asked us to transport as many people as we could to Germany and beyond. We made sure they were fed, put them up in hotels, and gave them money for any onward journeys. These people were traumatised but still able to break a smile occasionally.
 
 
I was able to bring Yulia, her mother and two daughters back to the UK.
 
Yulia’s Story
Before the war started, Yulia and her family had just moved into their new flat in Kyiv. She was happily working as a market researcher, and her husband was a sales representative. Her eight-year-old daughter, Zlata, was a promising gymnast, and Angelina, four, was starting to follow in her footsteps.
 
Once the fighting started, their lives changed. They left their home and took cover underground. The Russian shelling of Zaporizhzhia, the largest nuclear power plant in Europe, was the last straw for Yulia. With the potential threat of a nuclear explosion, in addition to the constant shelling and bombs, Yulia decided to leave Ukraine. She made the difficult decision to move her young daughters and her mother, Irena, 61 and flee to Poland. Unfortunately, her husband could not join them as he had to stay behind to help the Ukrainian Army.
 
They made their way to the Polish border by train. Whilst she was on the train, she managed to find a sponsor in London through Facebook. They then spent two nights in the refugee centre, where she met our team of taxi drivers. Through a translator, she communicated to me that she had applied for a Visa and would like to go to the UK. I contacted her sponsor to confirm her story and drove the family to France, but the visas had still not arrived. I supported her with accommodation and supplies whilst waiting for her visa. Yulia and her family are now with her sponsors in London, and I am still in touch, helping her and the family settle into British life.
 
 
Plan for the Next Trip
We now want to repeat the trip as we were so moved by the suffering and plight of these refugees, some of whom arrived at the border holding just a plastic bag of belongings. We were also concerned about the vulnerability of the refugees, mostly women and children, due to people trafficking. Our goal is to get as many refugees to western Europe or the UK, Visas permitting.
 
We aim to be setting off, with our vehicles crammed with humanitarian aid, in the first week of May.
 
The money donated will go towards:
The money raised will cover; fuel costs, wear and tear on the vehicles, accommodation and ferry costs.
The amount of money we raise will dictate the number of drivers that can join us. Our current target will cover costs for five drivers and their vehicles, but we have several drivers waiting to join us if the funds are available.
 
I intend to donate any excess money raised to a charity set up to help Ukrainian people relocate back to their homeland once the war is over and rebuild their lives.
 
We are working with the White Eagle Club in Balham, who will provide some of the humanitarian aid and organisations in Poland. We would be happy to carry any further aid donated, especially medical equipment.
 
 
This has been a life-changing experience for the drivers and of course, the refugees, who we have transported safely away from danger. We are mainly working cabbies and are giving up our earnings to help the people of Ukraine. The physical and emotional toll of the trip is not easy, but after seeing first-hand the suffering and genuine need of the Ukrainian people, we feel we must do what we can to continue to help.
 
We would be very grateful if you could spare whatever you can afford and share this page with your friends and work colleagues.
 
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Donations 

  • annderson torres
    • £20 
    • 8 mos
  • Anonymous
    • £20 
    • 9 mos
  • Rebekah Weissburg
    • £20 
    • 1 yr
  • Anonymous
    • £50 
    • 1 yr
  • Giulia Autuori
    • £15 
    • 1 yr
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Organizer

Richard Gough
Organizer
England

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