Ukraine: Hemel yoga teacher and author raises more than £2k for Ukraine and sends audiobooks to bomb shelters

An online raffle organised by a Hemel business owner has raised £2,428 for Red Cross' Ukraine Crisis Appeal.

By Olivia Preston
Wednesday, 30th March 2022, 4:45 pm
Updated Thursday, 31st March 2022, 9:39 am

Yoga teacher and children’s author, Maria Oliver wanted to do something to raise money after seeing the devastation in Ukraine.

The owner of Boxmoor Yoga asked local friends if they could donate items to be raffled off in aid of Red Cross and ended up having more than 30 small businesses donating prizes for the cause.

Over 200 people bought tickets in the hope of winning prizes that included a case of wine, upcycled jewellery, art prints and a weekend’s hot tub hire.

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People look at the exterior of a damaged residential block hit by an early morning missile strike on February 25, 2022 in Kyiv, Ukraine.

“I think it's almost been like a personal therapy because watching the news you feel so helpless.” she said.

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During her time working on the raffle, Maria stumbled across a tweet from James Mayhew, an award-winning illustrator, asking for audio books for children in Ukrainian bomb shelters to listen to.

Maria recorded readings of her books and sent them across.

Tea towels donated as part of the raffle for Ukraine.

She created a special story designed to relax and calm the children which included the Ukrainian national bird, a nightingale, and flower, the sunflower.

Maria hopes that through her hard work to fundraise, she is also championing the growing enterprises who took a hard hit during the pandemic.

She added: “I think what what struck me was that they're all small businesses. They're all people who may have struggled over the last couple of years.”

Maria is still continuing her efforts to support those in Ukraine by donating a proportion of her sales from her children's books to UNICEF.

Art prints which were part of raffle prizes.