Valerie Project

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Valerie Brookes with children Valerie Brookes (26.6.31 – 24.6.2007) devoted the last 17 years of her life to supporting children in distress, becoming a very active member of our charity. Sadly, Valerie spent her final months in hospital, during which time representatives of the Maria Relief Fund arranged for her flat to be cleaned. The excellent cleaner employed for that purpose turned out to be a fully-qualified doctor from the Ukraine. This is how we discovered the major problems facing that country. Our cleaning lady earned roughly twice as much for a day's cleaning work in the UK as she could for a month's work as a hospital doctor in her own area of the Ukraine.

Through our cleaner, we were able to locate four children in the Ukraine whose father had died and whose mother was unemployed. A fundraising concert -- featuring no fewer than 12 harps! -- was organised in Reigate, and part of the money raised was sent to that family. It was a small beginning, which led to our charity's increasing involvement in that country.

During a follow-up visit, it was discovered that there were more distressed children and families in that area of the Ukraine. Fortunately, the charity didn't have to pursue its work on its own. Local professional people volunteered to become helpers, and we gained the willing and active co-operation of the local churches. Currently, the project helps over 130 distressed children. The emphasis is on maintaining a family structure for these children and to provide them with a voice. Although the media generally focus on other areas of the world, this part of the Ukraine suffers from acute poverty.

We have won the trust of the local community, whom we have encouraged to offer mutual support. We have also received considerable help and support from our network of friends in the UK. In memory of our much loved friend, Valerie Brookes, our work in the Ukraine is dedicated to her and has been named, "The Valerie Project".

Boy dancers in Chortkive, Ukraine

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Maria Relief Fund
20 Morris Road, Lewes
East Sussex BN7 2AT

Registered Charity No.
1113029

Email:
info@mariarelieffund.org.uk

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