Spirit and strength of a mother celebrated at event for Ukrainian refugee women & children

Anastasia Pikalova: “Our Ukrainian Mother’s Day is a celebration of the spirit and strength of a mother.”

By Staff Reporter [email protected]

Published: May 12, 2022 | Updated: 13th May 2022

Ukrainian Mother’s Day is to be celebrated in Bournemouth this weekend.

Sunday’s free event – held a week after it was marked in Ukraine – is aimed at refugee mothers who have arrived in the UK with their children.

It’s supported by BCP Council and co-organised by the Ukrainian Community Dorset and the World of Love Festival.

The event includes:

  • A meditation workshop and aromatherapy for mums.
  • Sports and craft activities for younger and older children, prepared by Dorset Polish Centre and a group of volunteers.
  • A fun art workshop called Coco and Alex run by local artist Alexander Dakers.

Representatives of BCP Council’s Homes for Ukraine team and Dorset Race Equality Council will also be available to answer questions with interpreters available.

The event has been initiated by Anastasia Pikalova.

Originally from Ukraine, she has lived in Bournemouth for the past seven years.

A volunteer and a mum of three young children herself, since the war started, Anastasia has been heavily engaged in supporting the Ukrainian community.

Within two months, she managed to organise and send more than five trucks, and about 120 tons of humanitarian aid, to Ukrainian hotspots such as Kyiv, Kharkiv and Irpen.

Anastasia also organised the Ukrainian community to actively help find homes for refugees and runs weekly meetings for migrants.

She said: “Every day, I process the requests of the arriving mothers and their children.

“I know the history of each of them individually and it breaks my heart to hear what they had to go through and what a terrible path they had to take to get their families to safety.

“Mothers transported their children through minefields, escaped under fire.

“They are all very brave women.

“I want to hug them and tell them that now, they are safe, and we will take care of them.

“Our Ukrainian Mother’s Day is a celebration of the spirit and strength of a mother.”

Bea Sieradzka, pictured, Founder of the World of Love Festival and Co-organiser of the Ukrainian Mother’s Day, said the idea of a happy event to bring back a sense of normality for the refugee mums and their children had been in her plans since the early days of the war.

She said: “I am also a mum, and it is unimaginable for me to think about what these children had to go through.

“First, the pandemic, which was overwhelming enough even for us adults and now, the war.

“Having to escape the place they lived in, leaving their friends and families, having to move to another country, often without the knowledge of the local language, having to adapt to the new circumstances and more.

“The mental health impact of this will probably have consequences for years, so as adults, I feel we need to do something, anything really, to ease their trauma.

“The World of Love Festival, which I organise, is an umbrella event for culturally diverse communities and it is all about love for humanity and happiness.

“This is what I am hoping we can bring for a few hours to the lives of those who had to leave their home country and escape the war: a feeling of hope and joy.

“We would like to show these mums and their children that they are not alone, and people in the BCP area are here to help them return to their normal lives.”

Anastasia and Bea are hoping to provide more help for the Ukrainian mothers and will soon be launching a service offering job opportunities for refugees.

Sunday’s event takes place on the sports field at Talbot Heath School, Bournemouth, from 11am to 3pm.

More details can be found here and here.

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