Youngster of Chernobyl evokes thought to provide Ukraine’s youngsters 20,000 hand-knitted teddies


Yuri is a bear. He’s a cute, hand-knitted teddy from Australia.

Yuri can also be a 40-something member of Ukraine’s safety forces, taking part in his half in that nation’s warfare in opposition to one of many world’s strongest armies.

Now a venture is underway to ship 20,000 Yuri bears from Australia to Ukraine to consolation 1000’s of kids displaced by the Russian invasion.

The bears are impressed by Yuri who, 29 years in the past, was a sponsored foster youngster who got here to Australia as an 11-year-old boy. His dad and mom had been first responders to the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear catastrophe and despatched him to the opposite facet of the world to be protected.

Now a husband and father, Yuri has evacuated his family from Ukraine whereas staying behind to defend his nation.

Debra Richardson took in Yuri as a foster youngster for a number of months in 1993, however then misplaced contact with him for 3 many years. They later reconnected because of the web and persistence.

Yuri (proper) in Australia with Debra’s son Brody.(Provided)

“I despatched one million emails out to anybody I may discover who was named Yuri. That was in about 2018 and I did not hear something for a 12 months,” Debra stated.

“Then I received a message out of the blue someday saying, ‘Hey my Australian mummy’.

“It stated, ‘It’s me, it’s Yuri, I am at work however I am going to message you after I get residence’.

“We have had many conversations after which, again on February 23 this 12 months, we received these stories Russia was going to invade Ukraine,” Debra stated.

“By means of the course of the following few weeks he wanted to evacuate his household from Kiev.

“He’s in Kiev however has been to the entrance line and seen issues no-one ought to ever need to see.”

A need to assist

The Yuri bear venture began as a must do one thing – something — to assist. What began as a small gesture has grown into one thing larger.

“For weeks I used to be asking what I may do to assist. I used to be feeling very helpless sitting on the opposite facet of the world and never understanding what we may do to assist Yuri,” Debra stated.

Hand-knitted teddy bears.
The Yuri bear venture intends to ship 20,000 handmade teddies to Ukraine.(Provided)

“Finally in one in all our calls I stated: ‘Yuri, I knit. Can I assist by sending children some teddy bears?””

“He stated, ‘That may be wonderful as a result of the youngsters don’t have anything. Many needed to pack up and go away on the drop of a hat’.

“I believed initially I may knit 100 and possibly get the area people behind me and make a thousand.”

In honour of Yuri

Debra enlisted the assist of her employer Ryman Healthcare, which runs retirement aged care houses throughout Australia and New Zealand.

“We now have the assist of an entire heap of aged people who find themselves serving to to knit these teddy bears,” Debra stated.

“So Challenge Yuri Bear, named in honour of my foster son was born, and we set a goal of 20,000.”



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