It was IBEB student Jan Biegun who came up with the idea for a fundraiser. He serves as the Sustainability Hub’s financial manager and community manager. “Normally, we host sustainable cooking workshops at the Erasmus Food Lab, and this week we were supposed to do so in association with the Eastern European Student Association, EESA. Due to the situation in Ukraine, I thought it would be a better idea to organise a fundraiser,” said Jan. “The Sustainability Hub seeks to save the planet, but you can’t save the planet without saving the people on it.”

The charity chosen to be the beneficiary of the event was Come Back Alive, an organisation that seeks to improve the military equipment and training given to the Ukrainian army. In addition to this organisation, the Sustainability Hub wanted to allow donors to pick a humanitarian aid organisation of their choosing. They chose Nova Ukraine, which supports volunteers who provide emergency aid to civilians at the front.

Ukrainian dishes

Sofiia Slisarenko (blue) & Oleksandr Kulyk (green) eating (EM)
Sofiia Slisarenko (blue) & Oleksandr Kulyk (green) enjoying the food. Image credit: Ali Alshamayleh

Preparations for the dinner to be served at the fundraiser started at 1pm. The menu featured Ukrainian dumplings, borscht (soup made with red beetroots) and kompot (a sweet drink). All dishes were vegetarian. “All the tickets were sold, so we had to cook for 45 people,” says Jan. “As a result, we had to start preparing three hundred dumplings as early as 3pm.”

Ukrainian IBEB student Oleksandr Kulyk thoroughly enjoyed the dishes served. “I’m a terrible cook, so I hardly ever eat Ukrainian food these days. My grandmother used to make borscht whenever I visited my family, so this brings back some pleasant memories in these hard times,” he says.

The Ukrainians in attendance not only loved the food but were also very appreciative of the support of their fellow students. For instance, Communications and Media student Sofiia Slisarenko told EM she found it heartwarming to see how many of her fellow students are currently trying to help Ukrainians in one way or another.

Speech and live performances

Anna Rudya performing Ukrianian song (EM)
Anna Rudya performing a Ukrianian song. Image credit: Ali Alshamayleh

Before the dishes were served, Ukrainian Daria Mangous gave an emotional speech in which she provided a brief introduction to the current situation in her home country. She also mentioned other ways to help Ukraine. “In the next few days there will be many protest actions, for instance in The Hague, that you can attend to show even more support,” she said. “I’m completely fascinated by our army and the other people who are fighting in Ukraine at present. It makes me proud to be Ukrainian.”

During the course of the evening, there were performances, as well. For instance, Anhelina Shablovska read Ukrainian poetry, first in English, then (very passionately) in Ukrainian. Ukrainian student Anna Rudya sang a song by her favourite band, called ‘Okean Elzy’.

Funds raised

All the money donated was doubled by the foundation that runs the Sustainability Hub. As a result, more than two thousand euros were raised for the two charities.

Bohdan 2 (EM)

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