FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – 24 March 2022
In the absence of co-ordinated international evacuation efforts, a collective of British volunteers are independently operating a 56-seater “Bus For Peace”, providing a vital route to safety for Ukrainians who have no other means to flee the country. In the last two weeks, missions have rescued 201 women, children and babes-in-arms from danger in Uman with people arriving there from Mariuopol and have taken them to allocated places of refuge in Poland.
Driving the “Bus for Peace” are Clifford Wilson, Language Coach for the European Parliament in Brussels with experience solo-cycling the world, and former British Navy Niall Gordon. Co-ordinating mission control behind the scenes are their partners Danielle Turkov Wilson, Brussels-based Humanitarian Activist and Filmmaker, and Megan Lloyd, a Finance Business Partner and community volunteer based in Sheffield.
Funded solely by the team and community donations, the Bus for Peace appears to be the only consistent humanitarian effort offering all Ukrainians in need free and safe passage out of the war-ravaged country. Operated at personal cost and free of charge to Ukrainians in need, it is filling a critical international relief gap.
On journeys in, the team are delivering essential supplies to women, children, elderly and those with severe disabilities and incurable diseases. They are working with a number of different partners on the ground, travelling to where the need is greatest and going deep into the conflict zone, far further even than the few international aid supply trucks that have been permitted entry.
The team has experienced on their rescue missions how the most vulnerable Ukrainians are effectively being abandoned. Clifford Wilson said: “I’ve seen first-hand how many people are terrified of the advancing Russian invasion but have no means to escape. No-one should be left behind to face the dangers of war alone.”
Bus journeys can span up to 1,000 KM each day. To keep the mission running, the team is fundraising to cover core operational costs including fuel, administration and humanitarian supplies. Individuals wishing to help may donate here.
In a bid to upscale their relief efforts, the volunteer team have also coordinated with a wider campaign, #BusesforUkraine, which is aiming to get a fleet of buses on the Ukrainian roads in the next weeks, so that everyone who needs help to leave their locations can do so free of charge. The campaign is in need of companies to sponsor bus purchases, and drivers to volunteer.
Danielle Turkov Wilson said: “Hundreds of people are asking for our help every day and we are struggling to keep up. One bus alone is not enough.”
There is a small window of time left for Ukrainians to exit the war-zone. These brave volunteers are sacrificing their families, livelihoods and personal safety to help people get out. They need all the help they can get.