CEO to cycle to Ukraine in aid of landmine charity

time:2023-06-09 05:34:15source:NBC News author:Press center9

A CEO is to cycle from London to Lviv in Western Ukraine to raise money to help clear landmines in the country.

Tom Hashemi will be embarking on the 2,000km journey in the hope of raising £20,000 for the Mines Advisory Group (MAG), which works to clear landmines worldwide.

The cycle ride is expected to last for two weeks and Mr Hashemi is calling for other cyclists to join him.

He sets off in late April.

Mr Hashemi was inspired to organise the ride when he heard about how children are particularly prone to mine casualties when they are out playing in fields or woodland.

He explained that "kids being kids", they often ignore their parents' warnings, and this made him think of his five-year-old son.

"I thought, 'I can imagine my son doing that'," Mr Hashemi said.

He was also motivated to do the cycle ride as he has colleagues in Ukraine, who have been affected by "power cuts, curfews and Russian missiles".

It costs about £500 on average for one landmine to be cleared - he hopes to raise enough to clear 40 or more.

To do this, he will travel an average distance of 140km a day and go through seven countries in total, including France, Belgium and Poland.

Mr Hashemi, the CEO of communications agency Cast from Clay, hopes his fundraiser will encourage people to "think long term" about how to support Ukraine as the one-year anniversary of the invasion approaches.

"It's not just about sending weapons or taking in refugees," he said. "I want to raise awareness of the challenges faced by Ukraine not just now, but years into the future."

He emphasised that landmines in the country would remain there "decades after the conflict ends".

According to the State Emergency Service of Ukraine (SES), about 30% of Ukraine's land could be mined as a result of the conflict.

In 2019, Ukraine was marked third in the world for mine casualties, due to the 2014 conflict there.

The UN Children's Fund estimated at the time that some 400,000 children in eastern Ukraine were at risk from mines on a daily basis.

Darren Cormack, the CEO of MAG, said the conflict had left a "devastating and deadly legacy" in both rural and populated areas of Ukraine.

He explained that the charity had been "working closely with local partners to provide risk education to at-risk groups" and intended to "scale up and accelerate our efforts to keep people safe".

"We stand with the people of Ukraine, as we stand with all communities afflicted by conflict."

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