Evolving into Ukraine aid


A north London couple have organised a summer camp in Ukraine after being inspired by their teenage daughter to set up a charity for former Soviet Union Jewish communities.

Around 30 children aged from four-to-13 attended the week-long day camp in Mukacheve, in the west of the country, joining in festival-themed programmes, sports and games.

Accountant Jason Bennett set up the charity, Evolve, with his wife, Nikki, in 2012 after their daughter, Dawn, took part in a batmitzvah twinning project, which partnered her with girls in Belarus. Dawn, now 15, was so enthusiastic that she insisted on going to Belarus to meet her "twins". Through people they met, they were put in touch with the Mukacheve community.

Dawn, a Haberdashers' pupil, was one of eight young British madrichim who ran the camp, having spent six months planning programmes.

"It was really rewarding and at times quite humbling," Dawn said. "Seeing them cry on the last day and asking us to come back - I don't think I will ever forget that."

Mr and Mrs Bennett, members of the Whetstone Masorti community, fit their charity work around their jobs, also organising an annual bike ride fundraiser for Evolve. "It is just so easy to help someone else," Mr Bennett said. "Everyone can find time if they really want to."

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