We had an epic evening on 9th March celebrating a small group from the Adoreum community at the @bazaaruk International Women’s Day Dinner. Headlined by many fabulous speakers including Ruth Wilson and @anyahindmarch, it was a joyous evening.

What blew us all away was London-based Ukranian chef and activist, @oliahercules open letter to the world. She has teamed up with Unicef’s NextGen London team to launch the #CookForUkraine fundraising scheme, increasing awareness for displaced children. Here are some moving snapshots from Olia’s letter:

‘Dear World,

In the 1930s, the seven-year-old daughter of a farmer, my maternal grandmother Lusia Beschastnaya, was taken with her three siblings and her mother from their home in Bessarabia, in the south east of Ukraine, by Bolsheviks. This was the name given to the revolutionaries who seized Russia in 1917, and who were by then the Soviet Union’s leading political power. (Ukraine had been subsumed within the Soviet Union in 1922.) My family was shoved onto a cold cattle train in the middle of winter and dropped in a Siberian forest.

This is the history of my family – both Ukrainian and Russian. Can you imagine growing up with all these stories? … I take these stories and turn them into tools that energise me and gave me power.

We are all feeling this power once again, like an electric current, as we watch history repeat itself. I feel it myself, watching from afar – my family in Ukraine, and me in London. It is agonising. The phone calls with my mum are getting shorter and shorter. She’s still smiling but I can tell… My dad still has the energy to send me cute emojis on the family Whatsapp group. My brother sends videos from the frontline where he’s volunteering to fight. Before this he was setting up an eco-bike start-up; now he and his friends are desperate for bulletproof vests which we have been trying to send to him. It is unthinkable that we are even talking about this now.

Much like my ancestors, who survived so much; Ukraine has not died yet. We shall not give up hope.’

Photos: Oliver Holms, Dave Bennet

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