A Llanbrynmair volunteer returns from her second humanitarian trip to Poland, helping Ukrainian refugees who have “lost everything and are utterly traumatised”.

Vicky Rowe spent two weeks in Poland, from 13 to 29 May, at the Przemysl Humanitarian Centre on the border with Ukraine. During her time there, Vicky provided financial support to refugees thanks to the fundraising by Syrian refugee Seba Dabado who raised £1,000 by holding an Arabic Coffee Morning.

At the centre, each country welcoming refugees has an information desk. Vicky created a Welsh desk, something she said was missing when she spent a week at the centre with Sara Wheeler in April.

“I did set up a Welsh desk in the centre. There was already a UK desk, but it wasn’t advocating at all for Wales. Especially for our super sponsor scheme. I am so proud of it, it’s fantastic. It enables people not to have to be matched. I’ve watched other desks trying to match and they’ve fallen through, these people are utterly heartbroken.

“I was the only presence for Wales on the border. When people come in from Ukraine, they are bussed to a humanitarian centre or to a train station, they don’t know what they’re options are. They are fleeing a warzone, they are confused, stressed, then suddenly they have to decide whether to stay in Poland or go to another country to seek sanctuary.”

Vicky said half of the funds raised by Seba allowed her to purchase a cooker, a toilet, and other things, and to take them to a school on the Ukraine side of the border, housing families “hedging their bets, going close enough to the border to remain safe but not to leave home”.

Vicky said the issue with visa waiting times for refugees coming to the UK remains a problem, but that this is out of the hands of the Welsh Government: “The Welsh Government are fast, and they’re ready to welcome people. That’s not the problem, it’s centralised government. The Welsh Government have done everything they can and more.”

But Vicky said the Senedd need to look at the “overly strict” pets policy, stating that other countries allow refugees to travel with their animals, while the rest of the UK insists on an EU passport. However in Wales, they “insist on three to four months standard quarantine”.

On returning home, Vicky said: “I’m looking forward to seeing my family. I think there’s always a guilt when you’re leaving here. So much needs to be done.

“What’s amazing is as an individual, and not part of a big organisation, you can make a difference to people.”

Vicky added: “It is getting more desperate now, I think the media focus is shifting, it’s all about Johnny Depp and Amber Heard. People get fatigued. I hope to god people don’t get fatigued about this, because they still need so much more help.”