Not Only by Tank Alone: How Roma Youth Donated a Car for the Armed Forces

During the war, the Roma don’t only steal a tank from the Russian invaders, but above all help our Ukrainian defenders to fight against enemy forces. Every day, dozens of Roma women and men in Ukraine unite in their communities to provide our fighters with all the necessary ammunition, and thus bring our victory closer.

Okhtyrka is a city that has been bleeding from deep wounds of pain and sadness since the 24th of February. Here, in the first days of the full-scale invasion, the Russian troops entered, trying to turn the peaceful city into a firestorm. However, the power of the local residents is stronger than any Russian aerial bombs and missiles, because despite everything, the city continues to function, and those who remain – help the boys and girls from the Armed Forces.

Volunteer Pavlo has been staying in his home from the first days and has been doing everything to free the city from the invaders since the beginning of the Russia-Ukraine war. At first, he organised all kinds of initiatives to support those who suffered the most from Russian aggression. Later, he began active work to help the Ukrainian military. The boy says that recently the 91st separate regiment of operational support, which is stationed in the city of Okhtyrka, Sumy region, needed a reliable car to perform combat missions, and time was too short. Pavlo, without thinking for a long time, decided that it is worth collecting funds for a pickup truck right here and now, so he turned to the team of Roma youth from the “ARCA” organisation.

I wrote to Tania, and then to Volodia (Tatiana Storozhko, Vladimir Yakovenko-vice-president and general director of Arka, – eds;). I told them that there was a need for our boys, but there was not enough time”,— the boy recalls, — “In a few days we already collected the necessary amount and asked one of our friends to go to the Polish border to drive the car over.”

It was a long, tiring night. There were several hours at the border there and back. And that’s it. The new reliable pickup is already in Lviv, where it was later brought to the right place for its further work. Pavlo says that vehicles for our defenders are as necessary as bread or water, because they help to perform tasks better, more harmoniously and faster, to move quickly and therefore to be stronger than the enemy.

“Well, the boys have a car and it serves them reliably,” — Pavlo assures, in a confident and comforting voice. After all, this is not the only initiative that the volunteer from Okhtyrka implemented with the “Youth Agency for the Advocacy of Roma Culture “ARCA”.

Roma Easter bread for the Armed Forces, humanitarian aid and constant support of Ukrainian soldiers at the front from Roma youth are an important part of the activities of the “ARCA” organisation. Because not only by a tank alone: the Roma also know how to quickly drive the cars over to the front line, bake fragrant Easter bread and fight fiercely in the ranks of the Armed Forces.

The car is used for sappers to make roads safe for people. It is useful, needed everywhere. It is carrying a lot of flammable objects”, — one of the soldiers of the city of Okhtyrka with the nickname “Sobol” said.

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