A small community with a big heart
The residents of the Isle of Canna, a small island off the west coast of Scotland, have raised more than £2500 for the people of Ukraine, who are facing a humanitarian crisis amid the ongoing conflict with Russia. The islanders, who number only 18, decided to launch a crowdfunding campaign after learning about the plight of the Ukrainian people from one of their own, Olena Mysnyk, who moved to Canna from Kyiv three years ago.
Olena, who runs a small business making bookmarks, said she was touched by the generosity and compassion of her neighbours, who wanted to do something to help her homeland. “I am very grateful to the people of Canna for their support and friendship. They are like a family to me. They have shown me that even a small community can make a difference in the world,” she said.
A long history of connection
The Isle of Canna, which is part of the Small Isles archipelago, has a long history of connection with Ukraine, dating back to the 19th century, when a Ukrainian sailor named Ivan Korostovetz settled on the island and married a local woman. He became a prominent figure in the community, serving as a postman, a fisherman, and a storyteller. He also helped to preserve the Gaelic language and culture of the island, by recording the songs and stories of the elders.
Ivan’s descendants still live on the island, and some of them have visited Ukraine to learn more about their heritage. One of them, Geraldine MacKinnon, said she was proud of her Ukrainian roots and wanted to show solidarity with the people of Ukraine in their time of need. “We have a special bond with Ukraine, because of our ancestor Ivan. He was a remarkable man, who brought two cultures together. We want to honour his legacy by supporting the Ukrainian people, who are facing a very difficult situation,” she said.
A global appeal for help
The crowdfunding campaign, which was launched on the online platform JustGiving, has attracted donations from all over the world, including the United States, Canada, Australia, and Germany. The islanders have also received messages of gratitude and encouragement from Ukrainians, who have expressed their appreciation for the gesture of goodwill.
The money raised by the campaign will be donated to the Ukrainian Catholic University, which provides humanitarian aid to the victims of the conflict, such as food, medicine, clothing, and psychological support. The university also runs educational programs for displaced children and youth, who have lost access to schooling due to the war.
The islanders hope that their campaign will inspire others to join them in helping the people of Ukraine, who are facing a harsh winter amid the threat of a Russian invasion. They also hope that their campaign will raise awareness of the situation in Ukraine, which they feel has been neglected by the international media and the political leaders.
“We are a small island, but we have a big heart. We want to show the people of Ukraine that they are not alone, that we care about them, and that we stand with them. We also want to urge the world to pay attention to what is happening in Ukraine, and to do something to stop the aggression and the suffering,” they said.