Group’s poignant Snowdon walk to highlight Ukraine’s Independence Day

Ukraine Flag

A group of Ukrainians who have settled in Staffordshire following Russia’s invasion of their homeland have decided to mark their country’s Independence Day by climbing Snowdon.

24th August marks the day in 1991 when Ukraine became a sovereign nation following the breakup of the Soviet Union. And on that day a group of around 50 walkers will climb walk to the summit of Snowdon on the Miners Path.

The organiser of thew walk is Olga Soloviova a Ukrainian who has been living in Staffordshire since 2014. Olga is actively involved in fundraising for residents of Dnipro and Kherson which have been at the frontline of the war since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

Olga said: “I am from Dnipro and arrived in the UK in 2014. When the war started last year, we immediately became sponsors for my husband’s two sisters and their four children.

“Since then, I have become a liaison person between British and Ukrainians, helped refugees with adjusting to UK life and helped in leading a refugee group for the Stafford area for more than 140 refugees, organising or helping to organise several events for refugees in Stafford.”

Olga also became involved with the Positive Pathways project run by Staffordshire Chambers of Commerce headed up by Julie Preistnall.

Julie Priestnall and Volya Soloviova holding a t-shirt designed by Yevgenia Sheplelova – one of the group’s participants

Positive Pathways is a business start-up and employability skills programme based at Staffordshire Chambers of Commerce, specifically designed to support refugees across Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire. Participants can access training in employability skills such as CV writing and interview skills ready to be matched to local employers.

Olga said: “I got involved with Positive Pathways and the Chambers as they were the most responsive and encouraging organisation following to my appeal for help with support for Ukrainians arriving in Staffordshire.

“Julie Priestnall from Positive Pathways has been very supportive, especially with the Independence Day walk. This was invaluable for me as it is my first experience organising this kind event – a hiking trip and a fundraiser all in one!

“We will be walking to the summit to encourage each other that the dream of independence, peace and united families is achievable no matter how Herculian the task ahead is.

“It is also an opportunity to reflect on the many thousands who have lost their lives or been injured, and on the millions of people in Ukraine and around the world whose lives have been shattered by Russia’s act of war.

“With good company, some perseverance and each other’s support it can be tackled. And at the summit the view to the horizon all around us will be magnificent!”

Julie Priestnall added: “Olga and the people she works with have been incredibly supportive of Ukrainians arriving in Staffordshire as well as people back in her homeland since the outbreak of war. It has been a real pleasure to work with Olga in organising this special event to highlight the plight of millions of Ukrainians and I am looking forward to reaching the peak with this wonderful group of people.”

You can learn more about this event and support Ukrainian refugees’ fundraiser at the event’s Facebook group, Walking up Snowdon for Ukraine.

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