The founder of The Yorkshire Aid Convoy, Mark Murphy, has been involved and visiting Romania for over 20 years. He witnessed first hand the abject poverty that people were living in through many visits to towns, villages, orphanages, hospitals and refugee camps. An exploratory visit to the Ukraine in 1999 presented an even more dire set of circumstances. Determined to make some small difference to people’s lives, he and Simon Hartley founded The Yorkshire Aid Convoy in 2002 with the objective of collecting, transporting and distributing humanitarian aid to exactly where it is needed throughout Romania and The Ukraine. Despite entry into the EU, there is no welfare state or any government help for citizens in need and subsequently the poor are getting poorer.
The work of The Yorkshire Aid Convoy is constant. Collecting much-needed basic essentials from kind donors and corporate sponsors who offer everything ranging from bicycles to soap powder throughout the year, packing the lorries for an annual distribution mission, plus (of course) the actual driving of some 4,000 km to deliver the goods. Ideally we would like to increase the frequency of our our distribution missions to twice yearly. All this work is done by unpaid volunteers from all walks of life who take time out of their busy lives to help others.
The Yorkshire Aid convoy liaises closely with local organisations and charities on the ground in Romania and The Ukraine to ensure it delivers the type of support and donations most appropriate, as well as identifying institutions such as children’s hospitals or schools that are most in need of help and resources. In Romania, Caritas assist with the distribution of aid, and in The Ukraine links with Caritas and the Rotarians guarantee that donations reach their destination safely. This level of local knowledge and on-going visits means the Yorkshire Aid Convoy delivers what is needed, to where it is needed. We send people aid that they actually need, rather than the aid we think they need.
Many organisations in Romania and The Ukraine have come to rely solely on The Yorkshire Aid Convoy to make sure they can continue to provide basic healthcare and education services to their communities.
If we didn’t help these people, nobody else would.