Despite heartache and anger, a Ukrainian-born high school student was touched by the kindness and generosity of the Richmond community.
Dasha Laptieva, who was born in Ukraine and moved to Canada at the age of six, volunteered with her classmate Isabella Tang at the Lansdowne Centre on Mar. 12 and 13, giving out masks and medovik -- a Ukrainian honey layer cake.
Over the two days, the pair raised $4,080 in donations, all of which will go towards the Canadian Red Cross Ukraine Humanitarian Crisis Appeal.
There were many heartwarming moments over the last two days, said Laptieva.
“There was a lady who said she felt touched by what we were doing, and there was a man who made us a sign in calligraphy that said: ‘We stand with you,’ and it was a really pretty and nice gesture,” said Laptieva.
The 18-year-old told the Richmond News she is heartbroken by the suffering of her people and the destruction of her homeland, but she is trying to stay positive by helping in any way she can.
“I am angry with the Russian government and military for committing war crimes, hurting innocent children, women and men, destroying hospitals, cathedrals and homes and spreading disgustingly wrong propaganda,” said Laptieva.
“I am fearful for the future of my country, but I feel proud to be Ukrainian as the Ukrainian people show how brave they are fighting for freedom.”
Laptieva said although her grandparents have managed to flee the conflict, her extended family is still there, including her uncle’s family, who refuse to leave their hometown.
Laptieva encourages Canadians to stay informed with news related to Ukraine by reading reliable news resources, signing petitions, and writing to their government officials to offer more support to Ukraine.