Canadian charity sending backpacks, school supplies to Ukrainian children in Poland

A Canadian charity is helping Ukrainian children who fled to Poland attend school with backpacks full of all the things a student would need.

The United Nations Association of Canada (UNAC) has raised $26,000 which has helped get 1,000 backpacks to Ukrainian children staying in Poland after they and their families fled to escape the Russian invasion.

“Really what we wanted to look at is how we could support continuing education and the education experience of Ukrainian children as they are integrating into new school,” UNAC president Jamie Webbe told CityNews, adding there are now more than 100,000 Ukrainian students registered in Poland. “We are hoping to be able to raise about the same amount again to double the number of backpacks that we’re able to distribute.”

The bags contain everything from notebooks and writing tools for older students, to colouring books and crayons for younger kids.

“For the younger children, we tend to have had a little bit more fun. The first set of backpacks that we ordered, and we had pink fuzzy bunnies and black and yellow fuzzy bumblebees,” Webbe said. “We have a lot of pencil cases with soccer clubs, European soccer clubs, I don’t really know any of them. Luckily, our colleagues in Poland know what all the kids like in terms of the cool soccer clubs.”

She says they have also matched the binders and other supplies for older kids so they feel as though they can fit in, despite having left many things behind.

Related articles

Working with a bulk supplier in Poland, has made it very cost-effective to maximize how much of the dollars are going directly to helping the children, Webbe says.

“Right now, slightly over 90 per cent of the funding we receive goes directly into purchasing backpacks,” she said, adding dealing with a local supplier means they are directly helping the Polish economy as they struggle with the influx of refugees.

Webbe’s colleagues in Poland have said local communities have been welcoming of refugees, but school boards say they are not getting enough support from the federal government to provide school supplies to the sudden influx of students.

“We are every day checking in with the municipalities to identify which cities in which schools have the greatest needs,” she said. “Those are the municipalities that we’re targeting.”

Up to 150 members of the Canadian Armed Forces are deploying from Ontario to help with the care, co-ordination and resettlement of Ukrainian refugees in Poland.

Canadians can donate to the Ukraine Refugee Fund online.

Top Stories

Top Stories

Most Watched Today