Ukraine-Russia: Scots lecturer heads to Poland on mercy mission to help Ukrainian refugees

A Scots-Polish lecturer has headed to her homeland on a mercy mission to raise money for deliver vital goods to Ukrainian refugees.

Dr Monika McNeill, a psychology lecturer at Glasgow Caledonian University, has already raised more than £3,000 to help those fleeing the conflict in Ukraine.

Now she has travelled to Poland to co-ordinate the mission to distribute electricity generators to fuel temporary hospitals, shelters and housing.

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Dr McNeill, originally from the city of Lublin in eastern Poland, situated just 60 miles away from the border with Ukraine, is also visiting refugees in the shelters, including children who are suffering from psychological injuries in the wake of Russia’s bloody invasion.

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She explained: “My crowdfunding target was initially £600 to buy two generators, but people have been incredibly generous, and I now have raised over £3,000. The more we raise the more people we can help.”

Dr McNeill took on the challenge to support her academic friends from Lublin University, who are fundraising, collecting clothes and food, and organising emergency vehicles to help their Ukrainian neighbours.

So far, she and her friend Oleg Gorbaniuk, an associate professor in psychology at the University in Lublin, have bought eight 3kW generators from Fogo, a company in Poland, which sold them for half the retail price to contribute to the cause.

Military emergency service members remove the body of a dead Ukrainian serviceman in the area of a research institute, part of Ukraine's National Academy of Science, after a strike, in northwestern Kyiv. Picture: Aris Messinis/AFP via Getty Images

Dr McNeill also hopes to raise money for a larger generator for a hospital in the Ukrainian city of Kropyvnytskyi to provide power for its bomb shelter.

She said: “I hope we’ll manage to deliver help on time to this hospital, but if not, the charity we work with in Ukraine will equip another hospital in desperate need with this equipment.”

Dr Kerri McPherson, head of the psychology department at Glasgow Caledonian University, said she was “immensely humbled” by Dr McNeill’s fundraising efforts.

Dr Monika McNeill has raised more than £3,000 to date. Picture GCU

“Monika’s actions in this reflect not only the values of the university, but also the department,” she said. “We have a strong focus on applying psychology in the real world and we know that the immediate and long-term support of people in crisis is an important matter for a psychologist like Monika and her colleagues in Lublin.”

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Donations can be made Dr McNeill’s appeal via her crowdfunding page.

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