Ukrainians unite for Somali famine relief
August 18, 2011
Former Etobicoke Centre MP Borys Wrzesnewskyj is leading the Ukrainian community’s fundraising effort for famine relief in Somalia.
“The images of starving children” were the impetus for the program by the Ukrainian Canadian Congress, which kicks off Friday, he said.
The tragedy unfolding in Africa resonates particularly with his community because of the 1932-33 Holodomor, a Ukraine famine which killed millions and is commemorated annually, said Wrzesnewskyj.
“Of course every Canadian is affected by those horrific images,” explained the three-term MP and Future Bakery owner who visited Somalia in 2005. “But Ukrainians anywhere in the world are especially sensitized to famine. We can’t help but think, ‘What can we do as a collective?’” he said.
“In the historical recollection, people understood that this was a period of almost two years of a famine in Ukraine and people slowly starved. And people also understand the first to die are the most vulnerable, the children. And that’s the future, and it’s the future that’s being taken away from a people. That’s what’s happening in Somalia, and you won’t see those horrific images of damage that you see with other natural disasters.”