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Fiona’s charity is helping to retain hope for Ukraine

April 6th, 2023 5:45 PM

By Southern Star Team

Fiona Corcoran with lord mayor Deirdre Forde, preparing a shipment of aid for Ukraine.

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BY OLIVIA KELLEHER

A CORK charity head who in 2011 received the Order of Princess Olga, which is the highest Ukrainian civil decoration for achievement, has managed to use her extensive knowledge of the country to supply generators and ultrasound equipment along with winter clothing, blankets, tents and vital medical supplies to people in the war-torn country.

One year on from the outbreak of the war, the Cork-based, Greater Chernobyl Cause finances various humanitarian hubs in Ukrainian towns such as Kharkiv which is now dubbed the ‘city of no windows’ due to constant shelling.

With a huge reliance on logs to try to heat homes and ovens, Fountainstown woman Fiona Corcoran, who runs the charity, says the greatest need is for generators. Ms Corcoran says the charity has supplied over 15 generators to remote villages.

A group of Ukrainian schoolchildren giving the thumbs up after receiving the
donation of a generator from Fiona’s charity, the Greater Chernobyl Cause.

 

‘Much to the excitement of the children in the remote village of Novyi Merchyk, the Greater Chernobyl Cause has just handed one over to the local school where classes had to be abandoned. The building will now be able to double as the community bomb shelter and hub 24 hours a day,’ said Fiona. The head teacher, Nadiya Karetska, is full of praise for the people of Ireland whose financial support for the charity has been transforming lives in such a tangible way.

‘Unbelievable,’ she calls it. ‘You’ve no idea the difference such a gift will bring, not just to the children, but to all our lives.’

The Greater Chernobyl Cause regularly sends 45ft containers of lifesaving equipment which is shared between various cities by the charity partners.

Ms Corcoran says the charity is also spearheading support for Ukrainian refugees arriving here in Ireland.

‘We meet refugees at the airport and bring them to hubs such as CityWest, assisting with the registration process,’ says Fiona.

 ‘We work at finding homes and apartments for as many as we can, this at a time when housing is extremely difficult to come by.’ The charity is also sourcing secondary accommodation to try to keep families and relatives close together and volunteers carry out regular visits ensuring that all necessary help is provided, such as the purchase of fridges, cycles, prams and baby equipment, with visits to local schools to check that the children are settling in.

Direct access is also arranged with the various authorities, including help with registration to professional bodies which increases the opportunity to find suitable employment.

‘It is a truly horrific and devastating situation, she says. ‘I feel so overwhelmed. It is hard to find words but we must never give up, rather pray that we are given the will and the strength to carry on with the same resilience and courage shown by the Ukrainian people and which has won the admiration of the entire Irish nation,’ Fiona added.

Donations can be made to Greater Chernobyl Cause Unit 2 Southside Industrial Estate Pouladuff Road, Cork or online at www.greaterchernobylcause.ie

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