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News > OE news > Little by little, little becomes a lot

Little by little, little becomes a lot

Tim Parker (Wargrave 1986-91) recently undertook an aid mission to the Ukrainian border with Poland.
27 May 2022
OE news

Tim Parker (Wargrave 1986-91), together with three friends, recently decided to undertake an aid mission to the Ukrainian border with Poland.

Tim's two daughters are College pupils in Nugent House, and news soon spread throughout the College community. Donations started rolling in and by Friday 20 May they had two vans packed and ready to leave via the Channel Tunnel.

After a long drive across Europe they arrived at the Ukrainian border on Saturday where they delivered the supplies they had brought with them, before shopping at a local supermarket to buy enough for 70 families. Another delivery was made to a former school that is now a home for 400 refugees.

Tim sent us this account of their aid mission:

In the purely practical sense, our trip to Ukraine has barely scratched the surface of the overwhelming humanitarian crisis that has been an unwelcome consequence of the Russian invasion. We read, on the day of our return to England, that eight million Ukrainians have been internally displaced by the conflict and a further six million have left their homeland altogether.

The four of us who travelled in two separate vans were inspired by the Tanzanian Proverb, 'Kidogo kidogo inakuwa nying' which translates as, 'little by little, little becomes a lot'. We wanted, no matter how little, to do something, anything to help. Inspired by the response from family, friends, our children’s schools and often complete strangers we became the conduits of the 'little' and whilst it may well have just scratched the surface, it proved to be some scratch, some surface! As Gandalf reflected in The Lord of the Rings:

Some believe it is only great power that can hold evil in check. But that is not what I have found. I have found that it is the small, every day, deeds by ordinary folk that keeps the darkness at bay.

In our own small way, the four of us: Jozef Mycielski, Ian Jamieson, Nick Higham and myself have tried to keep the darkness at bay and when we see how it inspires others to jump in vans and drive east to Ukraine or to encourage others to make donations of money, medicines and toiletries, we now see how 'little by little, little becomes a lot.'

We saw, at first hand, how the Polish scouts are organising aid with the kind of energy and enthusiasm that would have made Robert Baden-Powell glow with pride; we were introduced to Gabriela who runs the Humanitarian Aid Centre in Przemysl (a former Tesco superstore) who works tirelessly to give the homeless, the desperate and the displaced sanctuary and hope providing food, accommodation and the means to work through the bureaucracy required to seek refuge in other European countries; we were humbled by Kamil (www.polandwelcomes.org) a polish aid worker who, almost single-handedly, looks after 400 Ukrainian women and children in a disused school, providing the only loving male presence with the kind of affection and joy that any doting father would be proud of.

We were introduced to a kilt-wearing Scotsman, David Fox-Pitt of Siobhan's Trust (www.siobhanstrust.uk), who travelled to Ukraine from Dundee, three days after the invasion, towing a pizza oven which served over 100,000 free pizzas, boosting the morale of those fleeing their country as they were stuck in endless queues as their papers were processed; we were struck by the selfless actions of a 19-year-old student from New Jersey, USA, who travelled alone to Przemysl armed with nothing but good intent and a small back pack.

Their contributions, along with our efforts and those who have sponsored us so generously, especially the parents, teachers and pupils of Sedbergh, Eastbourne College and Great Ballard schools, and the many complete strangers who were sufficiently moved on hearing of our journey to the Polish/Ukraine border to give spontaneously and trustingly. We are all living proof that 'little by little, little becomes a lot.'

It is a sobering sight, seeing busloads of Ukrainian refugees, all women and children, carrying their wordly belongings in suitcases and bin liners as they queue for food or to enter the refugee centre.

Never in our lifetime did we expect to see images that feel as though they were taken from Pathe news reels from the Second World War. Ultimately however, we left Poland moved by the breadth of the humanitarian effort.

Not just those mentioned working on the ground but all of you who supported through generous donations of money and aid, with messages of support, and the numerous commitments to continue supporting well into the future.

Evil not prospering because good people don't stand back and do nothing.

Our aim is to continue supporting Gabriella, Kamil and David through Poland Welcomes and Siobhan’s Trust. They may need us for months, maybe years. Please kindly consider continuing to keep Ukraine and its people in your thoughts and help, when and where you can.

Eden Aid, a local charity sending weekly aid convoys, was brilliant in advising us. Please also consider engaging directly with them, they need help including drivers and goods – www.edenaid.org.

For further information, or if you think you can help, please contact Tim at tim@parkersussex.co.uk or call 07771 714008.

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