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Stamford aid volunteer in Kharkiv stunned by minibus donation from Ukrainian soldier





A volunteer who helps deliver supplies to Ukrainian frontline troops was stunned when a soldier decided to return the favour.

Jack Bon Holly, the founder of Stamford for Ukraine, has been volunteering in Ukraine as a humanitarian aid worker for the last nine months and is living in Kharkiv, close to long-running fierce fighting in eastern Ukraine.

Last week he received a message from a contact within the 57 Brigade, which he has helped to supply, who was being rotated away from the frontline for other duties.

The new vehicle was donated by a redeployed Ukrainian soldier
The new vehicle was donated by a redeployed Ukrainian soldier

He decided to pass on a minibus to Jack to help him and his assistant Masha continue their work.

“This is absolutely fantastic news, I’m still in a little bit of shock,” said Jack.

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“The idea of a soldier donating to a volunteer is unheard of because it usually flow the other way.

Jack Bon Holly and his interpreter and assistant Masha in Kharkiv. Masha has been raising funds for the Ukrainian army since 2014 when she was 15
Jack Bon Holly and his interpreter and assistant Masha in Kharkiv. Masha has been raising funds for the Ukrainian army since 2014 when she was 15

“He understands the importance of keeping those supplies moving forward.

“They’ve been facing some pretty heavy fighting over the last two or three months, so they definitely appreciate the fact we’re able to get them the stuff they ask for and deliver it directly to them.

“It’s a massive validation of what Masha and I are doing and I’m very proud of that.”

Laying hands on vehicles and keeping them serviceable in such difficult conditions is a big challenge for aid volunteers, so the donation was particularly welcome.

“Over the last few weeks we haven’t been able to do much at all in terms of missions because of problems with access to vehicles,” Jack explained.

“The minibus will go in the workshop over the next few days and then we can start planning the next missions.”

Funding fuel for long-distance trips to fetch supplies from Kyiv has been another challenge, with Jack setting up a Buy Me A Coffee Crowdfunding page to help cover costs.

Ensuring the reliability of transport is also vital before delivering deep into combat zones, with aid workers seen as particularly prized targets.

“We have to reduce the possibility of breakdowns anywhere near the line,” Jack added.

“It’s the last thing you can afford to do. Once you get a drone speeding by, you have to make sure you can move quickly.”



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