It has been widely reported that during NATO summit in Vilnius, Ben Wallace, the UK defence secretary, said that “whether we like it or not, people want to see a bit of gratitude”. This particular comment has generated a lot of discussions within the Ukrainian community in the UK.
Paul Kuznecovs, director of Friendship Zone, has said: "After reading few articles about Ben Wallace comments, which generated a good few heated debates within the Ukrainian community, I thought - is there another way People of Ukraine could show their appreciation for the help UK has provided. I immediately called upon my relatives from Ukraine to clarify what can be done. And our children were the ones who suggested sending gratitude cards to UK government, like they were doing it in Ukraine."
It is a common practice for children in Ukraine to show support to the Army of Ukraine by sending well wishes cards to the front line. Most, if not all, soldiers have got these cards, which not only boost their moral, but constantly remind them what they are fighting for and who they are protecting.
By Friday all gratitude cards have been drawn and posted to 10 Downing Street.
Irina and Roman, originally from Rivne, Ukraine, parents of 2 children taking part in this initiative, received their refugee status and moved to Northampton few months ago, have both said: "We sincerely and with all our hearts appreciate everything what has been done by the UK government to help People of Ukraine. We hope the war will end soon and people will stop suffering. We also hope that the time will come and we would be able to go back to Ukraine"
Natalia, a mother of 3, originally from Varash, Ukraine, moved to Northampton last year, has added: "There is not enough words to express my gratitude to the UK for its help to my family and many other people from Ukraine. I cannot still believe, it feels like in a dream - I and my children are very happy here in the UK. Thank you very much".
It was interesting to hear what eleven years old Maksim had to say: "Thank you for saving me, my sister and my mom and dad from being killed or even kidnapped by orcs". It should be noted that the use of the term "orc" to describe Russian forces has become increasingly ubiquitous in Ukraine.
To conclude, Paul Kuznecovs, has said: "While drawing and sending to 10 Downing Street gratitude cards has been our extended family private initiative, I sincerely hope that many other people would do the same, or perhaps even think of other creative ways how to thank the UK, its government and its people for that extraordinary help they provided to People of Ukraine. Thank you very much".
Registered charities Friendship Zone and Ukraine Appeal have decided to take this idea even further. A campaign Thank You UK will start at a charitable event in Milton Keynes next week, where hundreds of children will have an opportunity to draw and send to 10 Downing Street their gratitude cards.