Blue and Yellow Hearts

District 9685 is a proud supporter of Blue and Yellow Hearts, a charity supporting displaced Ukrainians as they settle into life in Sydney.

The Rotary Club of Kincumber first became involved in supporting Blue and Yellow Hearts through a donation of six Ukrainian quilts made by local women from Days for Girls Avoca Beach. While delivering the quilts, a Kincumber Rotary member could see there was a real need to help these displaced families fleeing war. Club members arranged for a collection of essential personal and household items through Kincumber Village and Kincumber Public School. A total of 23 boxes of items were collected and delivered to Blue and Yellow Hearts.

PICTURED: Blue and Yellow Hearts Coordinator Natalka Oleksyn, left, Co-leader Days for Girls Avoca Beach team Kim Fitzpatrick, Team Leader Tina Latham and Days for Girls Avoca Beach team member Corrie Dunn hold one of the Blue and Yellow Star quilts designed by Pat Sloan – Quilters Stand for Ukraine. The quilt panel project was initiated by PDG Tony Castley and the team purchased the panels from Hobbysew, who donated 100 per cent of all kits sold to the UNICEF Quilters Stand for Ukraine donation page. The women of Days for Girls Avoca Beach made six Ukrainian Star quilts and donated them to Blue and Yellow Hearts Charity for displaced Ukrainian families.

The relationship between Natalia Oleksyn, coordinator of Blue and Yellow Hearts, and the Rotary Club of Kincumber has continued to grow due to the ongoing needs of displaced Ukrainian families.

Woolworths vouchers to the value of $300 each have helped ease the burden of those who have experienced so much suffering.

One young woman in her early 30s explained that she had a house, a well-paid job, and plenty of money in the bank before the war commenced in February 2022. This woman talked about losing her home and job; she said she gave most of her money away to people in need. In the end, it was fear and dread of the sirens blaring out at night that tortured her mind and deeply affected her mental health. Finally, she was able to scrape together enough money for an airfare to come to Australia.

“I can only imagine the heartbreak they are experiencing being so far away from their loved ones in Ukraine,” then District Governor Mina Howard said.

A letter from Natalia Oleksyn, Blue and Yellow Hearts

Blue and Yellow Hearts Charity for Ukrainian displaced people arriving in Sydney would like to express our sincere gratitude to District 9685 TRF Chair David Dean, Rotary District 9685 and the Rotary Club of Kincumber, for the incredible support provided to families arriving in Sydney.

On November 13, 2022, members of Kincumber Rotary and District Governor Mina Howard attended Blue and Yellow Hearts to distribute 69 Woolworths vouchers to the value of $300 each to mothers whose partners were still in Ukraine. Again, on November 26, a further 67 $300 vouchers were handed out to older Ukrainians and families. This donation was a huge help to these 136 families, who are really struggling to make ends meet during this very difficult chapter of their lives. Without David’s hard work and the wonderful team of Rotarians and other volunteers, this project would not have been possible.

Blue and Yellow Hearts was started in March 2022 to assist Ukrainian displaced people escaping the horrors of Russia’s attack on their homeland, many with little more than one suitcase of possessions. We are endorsed by the Ukrainian Council of New South Wales and fully supported by the Intercession of the Holy Virgin Ukrainian Orthodox Church Council and Parish in Strathfield West, whose church hall we operate from.

PICTURED: Natalka Oleksyn, left, with Rotary Club of Kincumber members Jan Brown, Tina Latham, Jutta Stone, and then DG Mina Howard hold messages of support for Ukraine. The blue and yellow watermelon picture held by Natalka was drawn by a child from Kherson living in Sydney when the city was reclaimed by Ukrainian soldiers late last year. Kherson is known for growing watermelons.

Our effort is entirely voluntary and unpaid. We currently have just under 280 Ukrainian displaced families registered with us. Some come once or twice to take what they need; others come fortnightly or even weekly. Our goal is to provide these displaced people with essential items to help them settle into life in Australia. Initially, our focus was on clothing, shoes, toiletries, prams/car seats and treats for children. Over the months, we have expanded our services and now also provide food, household items, toys, books and school items. We also provide a one-off $200 student sponsorship to every school-aged child to assist with school associated costs. To date, we have sponsored 172 students.

Blue and Yellow Hearts relies entirely on donations from the public. Therefore, such tremendous support, as given by Rotary through this project, was so very much appreciated. The smiles, the hugs and the tears of gratitude shed by the recipients on the voucher distribution days – and even up until this day – just say it all. Thank you from the bottom of our Blue and Yellow Hearts.