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Wearside teacher living in Ukraine launches fundraiser to buy minibus to assist those most in need

A teacher from Washington who lives in Ukraine is raising money alongside his fiancée to buy a minibus to transport humanitarian supplies and refugees away from violence.

Tuesday, 22nd March 2022, 1:46 pm

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Paul Hodgson, 47, has lived in Kyiv since 2018 to teach Maths at The British International School but moved to Ternopil, in the west of Ukraine, three weeks ago following Russia’s invasion.

Since moving for their safety, the teacher has set out with his fiancée Nadia Ustenko to raise funds for a minibus to provide assistance for those fleeing the conflict.

The couple are aiming to raise £20,000 to purchase a 17-seat mini bus and plan to use any left over funds to buy more vehicles.

Paul Hodgson, who is originally from Washington, has launched the fundraiser to help refugees in Ukraine.

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Paul said: “We decided to move from Kyiv during the early stages of the invasion and it’s strange because you can walk down the street and it seems normal, sirens going off and a military presence is part of normal life now.

"Nadia's son, Vania, is actually in another part of Ukraine two hours away and other family members are spread elsewhere, so it’s a scary time and it’s heartbreaking because some people in other cities haven’t made it out. It’s horrific in some of the big cities.

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"We just take each day as it comes so in the meantime we plan to help those who need it most by raising the funds so we can transport aid and also pick up refugees who are trying to get some respite or passing through to the border.”

Paul and his partner Nadia both live in Ukraine.

Paul, who is continuing to carry out lessons for students online, says he and Nadia had to leave their home and belongings behind after moving to Ternopil.

He added: “We’ve had to start a new life here and everything we own had to be left so we just hope that it’s still there when we get back.

"Supplies and routes out of cities are often targeted so people are struggling to get out, and with lack of space for anyone to shelter in Ukraine, the number of refugees is only going to increase.

"We plan to document how we are helping after we’ve raised the funds so people can see how they’ve helped, everyone here is overwhelmed by the support and it’s so humbling to see.”

The couple hope to raise £20,000 to buy a mini bus to help refugees.

For more information on how to donate to Paul and Nadia's fund please click here.

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Nadia pictured in Chernihiv, Ukraine.