Ukrainian academic pleads with people of Sheffield to keep up support

A Sheffield academic has pleaded with the people of Sheffield to maintain their support of the Ukrainian people.

Lena Mandrik, 38, who lives in Woodseats, but is originally from Ukraine, showed her gratitude to the City Council and the people in Sheffield during a city council meeting on 2 March. 

Dr Mandrik is a researcher at the University of Sheffield and moved to Sheffield from Kyiv three years ago. She has organised multiple rallies in the city since the start of the conflict. 

She said there were only a few of them attending rallies at first, but after people contacted her, hundreds of people have turned up to support her country’s plight. 

“There were people from different ages On Sunday and Monday, while on Friday there were only six of us standing,” she said. 

“Actually the rally on Sunday was organised on demand of people in Sheffield,” said Dr Mandrik.

On Sunday, 27 February, more than 300 people gathered in the city centre to protest against the invasion by Russia. 

Dr Mandrik said: “On Monday, again, horrible weather and again hundreds of people turned up and there are many people on Facebook asking how can they help.

“People are contributing not only their money, but also their time, efforts.” 

On Facebook, there are already 700 members in the group named Stand With Ukraine Sheffield, and the number of people is continuing to rise.

“Please don’t stop supporting Ukraine because urgent changes are needed on the national level and without that we will not be able to reach peace in Ukraine,” said Dr Mandrik during a meeting of Sheffield City Council on Wednesday 2 March. 

At the meeting Councillor Shaffaq Mohammed, leader of the Liberal Democrats in the council, said: “We are willing and able and ready to accept people from Ukraine to come and seek sanctuary in our city. ”

Sheffield is the UK’s first City of Sanctuary for asylum-seekers and refugees and it is holding its ground to keep giving asylum seekers and refugees the shelter they need. 

Dr Mandrik said: “We are overwhelmed how warm people in Sheffield are and how supportive the politicians in Sheffield are.

“People come to me and say they are willing to accept refugees at their homes.” 

Councillor Gail Smith, the Lord Mayor of Sheffield said during the council meeting: “We need the government to allow us to bring people to Sheffield and make them feel safe.” 

Written by Gana Ming

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