How it all began.
Back in 1990, I was a porter at Canterbury hospital in Kent. Watching the television news one evening my wife and I were saddened by the images of babies and children being found in orphanages in Romania.
The president, Nicolae Ceausescu and his wife had been executed and we were sat looking at the shocking images of Romanian orphans, some five to a cot, filthy and unloved, shaven heads covered in sores and it brought home the full horror of Nicolae Ceausescu’s brutal Communist rule. I turned to my wife and said, "I feel that I need to go there and do something" - My wife being a very practical person, just said, "If it's in your heart, then you must do it."
Having made arrangements, I hired a trailer, hooked it up on my Volvo estate, filled it with pampers and baby items and set off to Romania. With the help of a taxi driver in Bucharest, I found an orphanage at Plataresti. The horrors that unfolded were totally heartbreaking, and the news pictures from the TV could not convey the stench coming from a room with 40 tiny children, lying on urine soaked mattresses, totally abandoned.
On returning home, I approached my local newspaper, who did an article and I had asked them to see if any volunteers would like to travel out with me on my journey to Romania. So many people wanted to help and with my little convoy of vehicles, filled with humanitarian, we returned to Romania. The convoys of vehicles grew and grew. Some volunteers took over the running of different orphanages all over Romania and we called the convoys 'Hope Romania' - Many of the orphans were adopted by people all over the world and the situation gradually improved.
Whilst this endeavour was slowly coming to an end, the conflict in the former Yugoslavia erupted. Again, I travelled on my own to see if we could help? I was told of many refugee camps housing hundreds of refugees. I visited one of them and saw firsthand the terrible conditions these people were living in. On returning home, we decided to register our charity and become a British Humanitarian aid. During the conflict, I personally headed 186 Convoys of aid to Croatia, Bosnia Herzegovinia, Macedonia, and Kosovo. When eventually the war subsided, I thought maybe, that was that, but..................No!
Snovsk community center
This group is mainly impoverished families who are in need of support. Activities include teaching the younger children English lessons, sewing, knitting, painting etc. and supplying food where necessary.
This group was set up before covid became rife. This group consists of down syndrome children and adults, partially sighted, incapacitated, and deaf people. They have various activities to help improve their quality of life.
Makoshino community center
This centre was initially supplied by us but has now been adopted by John Bushby who was previously a truck driver transporting aid for our charity but now retired.
Chernihiv community center
Aratta team is fine, working actively to help many people every day. We count about 300 people plus 3-4 organizations come to get humanitarian aid and food parcels every week! Our volunteers are brave to listen to many sad stories, also to find necessary support for every person who comes to us.
The situation is unstable, the prices grow very much, people go through constant stress and threats with the siren warning about a possible bombing. But we all believe in our Victory! We are happy to be able to support so many people together!