On Thursday 7th July, a charity founded by six-year-old Madison, a student at Thornton, was launched from the 14th Century Drawing and Conference Room at Thornton College.
Hands Across the Skies is a Charity set up to provide messages of support and much needed aid to children impacted by the war in Ukraine.
The attendees for the event included MK Mayoress, Amanda Marlow, Mr Mark Baker, UK Aviation Industry and Madison alongside delegates who had flown in from Bulgaria: Lidia Martin, UK Aviation Industry and Humanitarian Aid Director of Hands Across the Skies based in Sofia; Todo Ivandjikov, CEO of IAS and President of BAIA, (Bulgarian Aviation Industry Association) and Ivor Ivanov, CEO, Gullivair, Bulgaria. An equally impressive number of attendees joined via zoom for the launch including representatives of Red Cross Bulgaria, Foundation for Good, Bulgaria and Ukraine, the Bulgarian Embassy, Ana Georgieva a student founder and reporters located on the front line of the war in Ukraine.
At the launch delegates heard of the challenges currently being faced by families and children in Ukraine and how one refugee centre has already helped 15,000 child refugees since the beginning of the war. Mr Ivaylo Moysov from the Bulgarian Embassy gave a message of concern as he described the situation that there are now over 100,000 Ukrainian Refugees in Bulgaria. Lidia Martin shared that over 5.2 million Ukrainian children have been displaced already and that countries such as the Yemen and Lebanon which import up to 80% of grain from Ukraine are facing extreme hunger within months with an estimated 45 million people across 43 countries at risk of famine.
Hands Across the Skies is a channel for young people to share their messages of support via social media for children across the world affected by the war in Ukraine. It also aims to practically help children by providing much needed supplies via an aid flight from Luton to Sofia, the first of which is scheduled for 14th July 2022.
Madison’s Father, Mr Mark Baker said
“it staggers me that this generation at such a young and tender age, are so informed and, so compassionate, to less fortunate citizens of the world facing such a dreadful plight. It is a credit to Mrs Holmes, Mrs Thomas and all at Thornton College, that our future leaders shall progress through formative years and, into adult life, with such a determined ideal to avoid conflict and look to put others first”.
Mrs Holmes, Head Teacher said,
“It is wonderful to hear about Madison and her enthusiasm to help other children her age affected by the war in the Ukraine. We are proud of her efforts to put her ideas into action and wish her and her father the best of luck with their impressive aims and scale of their project”.