Sunflowers in winter
Growing aid to Ukraine
The sunflower is the national flower and icon of Ukraine. The symbolic significance of sunflowers in Ukraine’s fight for freedom spread across the world with the viral video from February 24, 2022 showing a brave Ukrainian woman giving Russian invading soldiers sunflower seeds to put into their pockets so that sunflowers grow where the invaders die and fall in battle.
The iconic moment that captured the hearts of the world took place exactly eight months ago, on the first day of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Since then almost 70,000 invading and marauding Russian soldiers have been permanently stopped and many tens of thousands slowed down by injury, fright or sheer panic.
In these past eight months, Mriya Aid has provided over $5M of humanitarian aid and non-lethal tactical and medical equipment to the front lines. Together with you, our generous partners and dedicated supporters, Mriya Aid joined the world of top organizations helping plant and nurture seeds that grow aid and support for Ukraine.
Today, October 24, Mriya Aid held a winter clothing drive in Petawawa, Ontario. In addition to shipping and delivering the warm clothing generously donated by the community, Mriya Aid continues to work to support Ukraine’s defenders.
Eight months ago, invading Russian soldiers were handed sunflower seeds as a warning and curse in the port city of Henichesk in Kherson oblast near Crimea.
A day later, a Ukrainian marine combat engineer Vitaliy Skakun sacrificed his life by blowing up a road bridge to prevent an invading tank column from entering Henichesk from the illegally Russian-occupied Crimea. Skakun was posthumously awarded the Order of the Gold Star by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
Four months ago, Russian invaders set up a torture chamber in Henichesk, where they abducted and assaulted local residents, forcing them to chant "Putin is the president of the world" and renounce their Ukrainian identity.
Today the occupiers are establishing Henichesk as the new capital of the occupied territories as they retreat from the Kherson area where they have illegally imposed martial law and use civilians as human shields they forcibly deport and displace.
In March 2022, Sunflowers for Solidarity became one of the first Mriya Aid fundraising drives. Other volunteers and activists around the world and through the dynamic Twitter space Mriya Report planted sunflowers, engaged in sunflower tattoo challenges, and embarked on an information campaign. Activist Benjamin Wittes projected numerous symbols of Ukrainian resistance on the Russian embassy in Washington as well as, more recently, a sunflower on the Russian embassy in Ottawa.
Since February 24, 2022 tens of thousands of social media supporters of Ukraine have added a …
… to their profiles and names. Sunflowers to support Ukraine began appearing across the world. One notable design by Gitxsan artist Michelle Stoney became widely used as a SM profile image in Canada and on fundraising streetwear at Krapka.ca
The past eight months have been devastating for Ukrainians. In addition to destroying their homes, cities and security, Russia has put in extra effort to also destroy critical infrastructure keeping Ukrainian civilians alive. To force the world to pressure Ukraine to capitulate, Russia did all it could to prevent Ukraine from being able to export grain to the world, and stole Ukrainian grain and destroyed its significant stocks of sunflower oil for export.
The brave woman of Henichesk told the invading Russian soldiers “You’ve come to my land… You’re occupiers. You’re enemies. And from now on you’re cursed."
The work of Ukrainian defenders continues, and sunflowers will bloom for generations where evil trod and fell.
People around the world will follow the light the way sunflowers follow the sun. Light will replace the darkness that the invaders brought upon innocent men, women and children.
It will be a difficult winter for Ukrainians. But with your help, we will work hard to provide Ukraine with light and warmth this winter.
You can donate to Mriya Aid here and you can keep updated about the situation in Ukraine with the fine folks at Mriya Report
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