Brave apprentice with Peterborough-based Amazon goes on unpaid leave to extend holiday to support Ukrainian refugees

Trainee engineer made emergency trip to buy vital supplies for war victims

By Paul Grinnell
Monday, 25th April 2022, 11:24 am

An apprentice with a Peterborough employer took unpaid leave to extend his holiday to help Ukrainian refugees fleeing the war with Russia.

Daniel McGeorge-Oanta (25), who is an engineering apprentice with online retailer Amazon, at Kingston Park, was in Moldova on holiday with his wife Lucy, when the conflict erupted on February 24.

The couple had originally planned a one-week long volunteering trip with the Christian Mission International Aid (CMIAID) to Moldova, which shares a border with Ukraine.

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Peterborough Amazon apprentice Daniel McGeorge-Oanta took unpaid leave to extend his holiday in Moldova to help refugees from war-torn Ukraine.

The had expected to be painting and organising props and backdrops for a play on the life of Christian evangelist George Muller, which would be shown to school children in the surrounding area.

But the day Daniel and Lucy arrived in Moldova, war broke out in Ukraine and a state of emergency was declared and their one week stay became a three-and-a-half week humanitarian effort with the couple taking unpaid leave to extend their trip.

Daniel said: “The decision to stay was easy.

"We couldn’t justify leaving when we saw the need of people crossing the border from Ukraine.

Peterborough Amazon apprentice Daniel McGeorge-Oanta took unpaid leave to extend his holiday in Moldova to help refugees from war-torn Ukraine.

"We were in the country to volunteer, and whilst the war is heart-breaking, it was a privilege to be able to serve in Moldova with CMIAID and play a very small part in a worldwide humanitarian effort.”

CMIAID in Moldova became a base for new arrivals from Ukraine, with 30 to 40 people staying at one time before traveling on to further destinations.

The charity also prepared 150 meals each day, which were delivered to neighbouring city Cahul, where more refugees were staying.

To support the charity, Daniel even made an emergency trip to Romania to purchase supplies including toothbrushes, toothpaste, and hygiene products, as well as participating in the daily food preparation and distribution.

He said: “Many of the people we cared for at the border in Moldova were stopping for a short time before continuing their journeys to families and friends in Moldova and across Europe.

"There is still so much more to be done, as those who have chosen to stay longer in Ukraine will undoubtedly need more help due to the increasingly dangerous situation in their home country.”

The couple, who live in Spalding, are now safely back in the UK but Daniel said: “Lucy and I will be continuing to support CMIAID through regular donations of food parcels that will be sent out to Moldova by our church, and I am grateful to the Amazon Peterborough team for allowing me to extend our stay and contribute what I could to the aid effort.”

Gareth Davies, site leader at Amazon in Peterborough, said: “We commend Daniel’s commitment to volunteering in Moldova when war broke out in Ukraine.

"His sacrificial act to extend his trip to support others sets an example to his colleagues, friends and family and we are extremely proud that he is a member of our team.”

Amazon has launched two humanitarian aid hubs in Slovakia and Poland to assist with the crisis in Ukraine.

A network of Amazon fulfilment centres across Europe is delivering more than four million supplies donated by both Amazon and its customers—including shelter materials, hygiene items, blankets, and clothing.

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