Ukraine crisis: Edinburgh Hibs charity Dnipro Kids appeals to Scots for help to find homes for groups of Ukrainian orphans

Ukrainian orphans have been overwhelmed by the kindness shown to them by strangers who helped get them to safety through a charity founded by Hibs fans.

The children were able to board a train to Lviv, which is less than 50 miles from the Polish border.
The children were able to board a train to Lviv, which is less than 50 miles from the Polish border.

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The Dnipro Kids Appeal, which was set up by supporters of the team in 2005, has so far helped 46 orphans to safety since Russian troops invaded their country last month. The children, from five orphanages, are now staying in a little town outside Poznań in Poland.

The charity is awaiting news on whether it will be able to bring the children to Scotland and is now appealing to Scottish families to help find homes for the children it has rescued.

So far, 30 Ukrainian orphans have been evacuated from Dnipro with the help of a charity run by Hibs fans.

Duncan MacRae, media manager, said: “We would like them to come to Scotland. This charity has been on the go for 17 years and we have so many contacts and supporters not just in Edinburgh but throughout Scotland.

“We have been getting ready for that but it is a lot of work. All processes are in place and we feel pretty confident we’ve got accommodation but we’re still working out some things.”

And while the charity has had many offers from families with space to re-home one or two children, Mr MacRae said that due to the nature of the orphanages and close relationships between the children and their “orphanage mums” - parental figures who care for groups of children - it is crucial to find bigger spaces for the groups to live.

“All the children have their orphanage mum with them and we want to keep them together,” he said.

“We have had great offers and the committee is busy talking to various people who have approached us with serious offers. We are making sure we get out there and meet these people and visit the properties and make sure they are suitable.”

He added that those who fled the orphanages have been touched by Scots’ offers of help and support.

“We want to say thank you to all supporters, sponsors, donors and fundraisers. Everyone has been absolutely fantastic and it has been amazing to see how everyone’s pulling together and doing their best to care for these kids,” he said.

“I keep telling them and they can’t get their heads around the fact that people in a country they’ve never been to and people they’ve never met want to help them.

“They are so grateful and have a lot of love for these people and it seems people have a lot of love for them too.”

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