You are currently viewing Covadonga Solares, the Asturian that mobilizes support for Ukrainian refugees from Krakow

“I am going to run out again to buy medicine for a point where they have asked us.” Hasty, the Asturian journalist Covadonga Plots (@covasolares) picks up the phone from Krakow (Poland) on his way to buy medicines for one of the Ukrainian refugee centers What is there in the city.

Solares has been studying there, since September 2021, a master’s degree in European Politics and Last Friday the 24th he woke up with news that he hoped he would never see. “I froze and said ‘this can’t be happening 250 kilometers from where I am’.

Something inside her said “you have to do everything in your power to help”. So he began to mobilize, to look for things and found that the Krakow City Council had organized a collection of aid to send to Lviv (Lviv).

Lviv, in addition to being one of the largest cities in Ukraine, is only 70 km from Poland. It is located in the west of the country, so it is a place that the ukrainians have chosen to take refuge from the russian attacks.

At first, he asked his parents and sister who are in Asturias for help. “I told them that I was going to buy certain things and asked them to send me some money”.

As she knew that she was going to need hands to carry all that, she told her fellow students and suddenly she stopped to think that she, who is a person who likes social networks and exposes herself a lot, could help through them. “If I use Instagram for nonsense, for my friends to see my life, why not use a platform like this to ask for help?”.

He recorded an impromptu video and posted it thinking “I’m sure someone will listen to it, even if it’s two or three people, someone will want to help”. Today the video has more than 15,000 views and has raised more than 50,000 euros.

Social media is a huge platform. “I go with my mobile, with the little resource I have, and I take pictures of everything for people to see, I think that seeing it in the first person is a way to push you not to close your eyes. Especially from Spain, it could be easy to say that this does not go with me, but this goes with everyone”.

Right now Solar just use the networks to channel help and reach as many people as possible“which is also what the media are allowing me to do”.

“We need a washing machine”

When he posted the video he had in mind raise money to buy the things that they ask for from the refugee centers that they have set up in Krakow.

Solares allied himself with his fellow students, whom he asked to share his message, and they send the donations to them. They go to refugee centers every day to ask what they need. She tells us that in many centers they already know her and have her telephone number “I receive many calls every day and they tell me, for example, ‘here we need a washing machine’ or ‘we need electric radiators’”.

they need medicine

One of the spaces that has become a refuge for Ukrainians is the old building of the main train station in the city. “It’s heartbreaking to see how they are there.” The woman who runs the clinic at the shelter frequently asks him for medicine. “Just when I walked in there was a child with a fever and his mother was very worried because she didn’t have medicine.”

He explains that all the centers are very improvised, they are field hospitals. “Every time there is a new reception center. I think that in Krakow there is no more place to welcome people”.

One of the things that they ask for the most is walkie talkiesbecause it is what people inside Ukraine communicate with when the communication infrastructure goes down.

Asturian help

Nerea Prado, an old classmate from high school, saw his initiative and wanted to collaborate. She “she told me that they were going to set up donation collection points in Asturias and that together we could send that help”. so they did, Asturian businessmen offered their small premises to collect. solar offered his studio of 30 square meters to receive in all the boxes that were sent from Spain.

Asturias turns

They set up the network and have already managed to send two multi-ton trucks and are confirming three more to go out this week. These trucks have been financed by businessmen from the region. “Asturian businessmen have been involved in getting this help, they have helped us to pack, to transport…”.

Solares is surprised by the response to her mobilization. “I feel overwhelmed by blind trust”. She is proud and very grateful for the donations that she has received from family, friends, colleagues and people who do not know her. Asturian businessmen have turned to her initiative and even a group of young people has started a crowdfunding to send another truck.

it’s a war

We ask him about the situation and Solares replies that it is horrible. Ukrainian citizens arrive in Krakow exhausted and desperatevolunteers who speak their language redirect them to places where they can stay.

“The other day I was talking to two 26-year-old girls from kyiv for whom I arranged accommodation at a friend’s house (via social media) and they told me that they stood for about 10 hours waiting at the station without knowing if they could get on a train”.

The two women took a journey that normally takes three hours, about thirty, without space to sit, surrounded by children, adults, the elderly and animals.

“They died of hypothermia and exhaustion”

“They were people who had still had to walk 20 kilometers to get to a place where there were trains. But there were people who were even worse off, groups of people who went on foot and someone died a few days later, not from an attack, they died of hypothermia and exhaustion. What we are seeing is horrible, it opens your eyes to the reality of what a war is”.

How can we help?

Solares invites anyone who wants to help go to official agencies. “Right now, for example, there is an enormous need to welcome refugees and in Spain this can be done through the Government Delegation and the Red Cross, in addition to other NGOs.

“Write us if you want to help those refugees who are inside the Ukraine or in areas like Poland or the NGOs established on the ground, who know the needs of these people better than anyone and who have the resources to make it happen.

Russia-Ukraine War

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