Ukraine family visits Warwick to thank local supporters

Inessa Cole, Rita Crawford and Nia Blacky at the garage sale.

Inessa Cole and her daughter Nia Blacky visited Warwick on Saturday 7 May for the fundraising garage sale being held to raise money to fly their Ukrainian family to Australia.

The garage sale, held at the home of Sally Edwards in Locke Street, provided an opportunity for locals to meet the people behind the story.

Sally started the fundraiser three weeks ago after discovering that Inessa’s family were being forced to leave their homes and were seeking to reunite with their three family members in Queensland – Inessa did not have the funds to pay for their airfares.

However, Sally said that due in part to the Southern Downs community’s generosity, this has been made possible.

“We have achieved our initial goal of raising $15 000 and have now exceeded $20,000,” Sally said.

“Not only does this pay for their flights and will help to support them when the family of five arrive, but it bolsters their visa application as it shows the immigration department they have support in Australia.”

Garage sale organiser Rita Crawford said it was lovely to hug Inessa and Nia and tell them they have friends in Australia who care about what is happening.

“There were lots of tears, but tears of joy and hope,” Rita said.

Furthermore, Inessa said she would like to thank the people who donated to help her family.

“We are overwhelmed by all your good wishes, it’s so amazing,” she said.

The first funds instalment will be transferred to the family next week to help with their current living costs and medical expenses.

Sally said that when the visas are obtained, their air tickets can be purchased.

“We don’t know when that will be as the Grandmother is very unwell and in shock from losing everything,” she said.

“But it is such a relief to know that they are safe and that the money is there and they now have options and hope for the future.”