Here, Raj explains what the auction is about and who will benefit of it:
“Hello friends, partners, colleagues, as many of you know, I was involved in the Ukraine Refugee Assistance program for three weeks at the Polish-Ukrainian border – (Medyka Crossing and at Przemysl Train Station). With the support of the Atlanta community, well wishers like yourself, and a team of 12 American, British, Ukrainian and Polish volunteers, we brought safe accommodation, food, transportation and most importantly hope & peace to several Ukrainian families. Here is our GoFundMe Page & Facebook page which showcases our journey & highlights.
Svetlana (a math teacher) and her 3 kids who travelled in a train for over 36 hours from East Ukraine, were able to get to Lesko center, stay for 3 nights, have warm rooms, cozy blankets and fresh food for her small family. Out of 3 daughters, the oldest would speak to me in English all time trying to get better and often ask me about my sons and our life in the USA. They somewhat understood why Mommy left home but they were excited that they will have a new home and new school after few days, so they went along with Mom, hoping their Dad would join them soon. We were able to get them a permanent accommodation and transport to their destination in Germany.
Sergey 66, who was a naval officer in his prime, left Ukraine with his daughter in law and her 3 year old grand child, without plans where to stay and what to do. His city near the port area was under shelling and they had to leave overnight leaving his son to defend the country against the Russian aggression. He was kind, humble and full of gratitude, with tears in his eyes he said, I have NEVER asked anyone for help in my life, so it makes me weak in my knees that complete strangers have received us at station, brought us to safe accommodation and took care of our food, clothing and medicine while we recover the shock from the sudden displacement. He stayed at Lesko for 6 days before finding a place to take his family in Netherlands.
There are many such stories of families torn, lives disrupted and homes obliterated. We usually focussed on positive part, shared stories, brought toys and games to play, took them for haircuts and grocery shopping and helped them get SIM cards for internet access. Sometimes the simple feeling of being able to open a $1 HotWheel car and play with it brought immense joys to the faces of these children. On a plus side I got to see President Biden at arms length and marvel at the size of Air Force One when it landed in Rzeszow airport on the last day of my stay in Przemysl. We were also featured in the News as well as in the Atlanta Journal Constitution. The recent most news video from Channel 2 is featured on our GoFundMe page
Now after almost 3 months of keeping the roof over 1200 mothers and children, the Lesko center is in a financial crisis and at the verge of closing. WIth the last minute effort of few other donors, including a Polish-American Ania Sierdzinska, they got a life line for another 30 days. But this will not be enough, and while the families are trying to seek work, the tourist town is not ready yet and it may take a few more months before they can start working and support themselves. We were again on Channel 2 News to share the plight of the refugees who will lose the only place they call home, see the story here:https://www.facebook.com/groups/atlforukraine/permalink/1408417706273849/
We are trying to help one more time, hoping to raise enough funds to prevent this center from closing.
And for that reason, we are presenting, for the first time, at the prestigious XBIZ Retreat Event, a LIVE auction to bid and own the masterpiece painting of President Zelensky.
This painting is symbolic in many ways, just like Zelensky, it reminds us NOT to give up. The center is facing difficulties from many sides. Elderly women had to share same pair of shoes as there was only one for their size, women and children have run out of clean and usable undergarments, their shampoo bottles have dried up and many days food resources come late so dinner is usually a can of beans or peas. But the families are NOT giving up. They are in it together, with spirits up high and a strong belief they will win, their country will win and so then all the small problems will not even matter as they will be able to come back to their homes.
This painting, only of its kind in Old Town Warsaw, was purchased after much negotiation. The funds generated from the proceeds of the auction will be used directly to benefit the Lesko center, with hopes of giving it a further life extension at least till Thanksgiving.
Here is the Auction Link > This LIVE auction will end in 24 hours.
At the end of 24 hours, and after the reserve is met, the winner will be announced via email. The painting will be delivered in hand to XBIZ Miami by Friday or can be Fedex overnight to the winner at any address in the USA. We are grateful and hopeful we will bring relief to these families, and while we cannot change the entire world by ourselves, but for these families we can change their world.”
If you just like to donate directly to the cause, please do at their GoFundMe page: https://gofund.me/f69d0f53