LONDON : A 10-year-old Indian-origin schoolboy and award-winning fundraiser has travelled to Poland with his parents to hand over books and other stationery products collected in the UK for Ukrainian children displaced by Russia’s invasion.
Milan Paul Kumar from Bolton in Greater Manchester, northern England, arrived in the Polish city of Krakow earlier this week ahead of the first anniversary of the Russia-Ukraine conflict on Friday. According to local reports, Kumar and his family visited the Meeting Point integration centre organised with the support of UNICEF and run by the Zustricz Foundation, among others.
“Most importantly, I have made lots of new friends who I will visit again,” Milan tweeted during his humanitarian mission. He handed over coloured pencils, markers and colouring books acquired in a collection organised in Bolton and also donated gifts to add to the resources of a neighbouring public library so that they could be used by Polish and Ukrainian children.
The schoolboy began his journey at the Ukrainian Centre in Bolton and while in Krakow was also invited to the Ukrainian Consulate by Wiaczeslaw Wojnarowskyj, the General Consulate of Ukraine.
His humanitarian mission this week has been backed by several organisations, including the Tesco Staff and National Literacy Trust.
Kumar, who washed vehicles to raise funds and donated his pocket money to the Ukraine Schools Appeal last year, is a recipient of the Princess Diana Award 2022 for his fundraising efforts and is also the #iwill Ambassador for Social and Humanitarian Action for the youth action movement based in London.
Last month, he received a letter from Queen Consort Camilla in praise of his story-telling efforts through a charity called Silver Stories.
The idea behind the initiative is to help children in their reading skills as Silver Readers while reading to older members of the communities, called Silver Listeners.
In 2020 during the Covid lockdown, he was honoured with the British Prime Minister’s Points of Light Award for his fundraising activities through a self-published book entitled ‘COVID Christmas Parade’, about a young boy spreading festive cheer during the pandemic.
It raised money for the National Literacy Trust to support children whose literacy and learning had been adversely impacted by COVID-19.
“I feel proud knowing I have made a difference in the lives of other children affected by COVID-19 because reading promotes health and well-being. I love reading and learning about the world through books and I want to help as many children as possible discover the magic of reading and all the great benefits it comes with,” said Kumar.