Pursuing a culture of kindness, a Northampton student’s journey to help in Ukraine

Helping others in need is part of the day’s work – and part of her DNA – for a University of Northampton student who is going on a goodwill mission to Ukraine.

Maddison-Vale Ellson is a child and youth student, and with her freshman year under her belt, she’s excited and ready to deliver goodwill packages to the people of war-torn Ukraine.

Over the past few weeks, Maddison has been busy collecting donations for the residents of Truskavets – a town near Lviv – in conjunction with the charity Help for Ukraine BAMK.

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Maddison and some of the donated items.

She said: “It is always innocent people and their children who are caught up in horrible situations like what is happening in Ukraine. After seeing what was happening, I felt hopeless just watching it on a screen, and after working closely with children, I knew the impact it would have, so I decided to do something thing to help.

“So I started a simple collection of shoeboxes for an orphanage in Truskavets – toys, coloring things or sweets – just little things that I would take there. How much I didn’t know so how important that would become.

“We now have a total of 200 shoeboxes and around 50 bin bags full of clothes. I’m still amazed by this, so thanks to everyone who added and supported this total.

Now, with the generous collection of ready-to-use essentials and extras, Maddison-Vale only has to iron out the final details before you go.

Some of the shoe boxes containing presents for the children.

“It’s clear there is a risk here. Nothing is guaranteed, no matter how well you plan, but I am fully aware of what I could do and have arranged the trip to not be only.

“Doing something like this is also something that happens in the family. I come from a close-knit family of very caring people.

“We put others before ourselves and my mum did something similar years ago for a friend’s charity in Romania, going there twice with shoebox donations.

“I look up to my mom, she means so much to me, and I know she and my dad understand why I have to do this and are proud of me.”

Helen D. Jessen