“Flowers” for the Enemy: Goncharenko Centers Raise Funds for Self-Propelled Howitzer – Kyiv Post
The volunteer educational and cultural network of Goncharenko centers, operating throughout Ukraine, has launched a large-scale charity collection to purchase aGvozdika (carnation) self-propelled howitzer for the 1st Ivan Bohun Detached Special Forces Brigade. The campaign aims to raise 10 million Hr. (roughly $270,000).
Describing the initiative, Founder Oleksiy Goncharenko said:“Russians proclaimed that people in Ukraine would be waiting for them with flowers in their hands, despite the reality that the only flowers greeting them were Gvozdika self-propelled howitzers and other weapons.”
To “remind the occupiers” about the “flowers of rage” from Ukrainians, Goncharenko explained that his network of centers is collecting money to buy another Gvozdika for the Bohun special forces brigade.
“It was the soldiers of this unit who liberated the Kharkiv, Kyivand Donbas areas… now they will go further to fight the enemy,” he added.
“Gvozdika self-propelled howitzers aim at packing the occupiers into black bags… the shared dream of all Ukrainians. So, we invite you to join. Every hryvnia is important,” Goncharenko stressed.
According to volunteer Valentyna Shults, chief financial officerof the Goncharenko network, the centers plan to hold a number of charity events across the country.
A serving member of the brigade, Taras Berezovets, has also been helping to organize the collection.
“We understand that the project is quite ambitious, but our volunteers do not know the word ‘impossible,’” Shults said.
“Since the beginning of the war, we have already purchased more than 40 vehicles for the front, 11 anti-drone guns andsent hundreds of tons of humanitarian aid. We know that our defenders on the front line need the Gvozdika howitzer to liberate our territories. As they themselves say: ‘There is no victory without artillery.’ And victory is our common goal, which everyone can join now,” she added.
Young volunteers Sofiyka, Oleksiy and Vika from Khmelnytskyi region, joined the effort by setting up a roadblock and collecting money for the Armed Forces for Ukraine (AFU). They donated all raised funds to go towardsthe purchase of the Gvozdika for the Bohun brigade.
The children stopped cars and informed drivers that they wereraising money for the AFU. In total, they collected almost 1,000 Hr, ($27) which they handed over to the Goncharenkocenter in Teofipol.
The young patriots explained how they engaged with drivers at the checkpoint.
“We built a roadblock using stones, bricks, and sticks. People came up to us, we said ‘good afternoon,’ then my friend Oleksiy asked them to say ‘Glory to Ukraine!’ and I demanded that they say ‘palianytsia’ [a Ukrainian word that Russians notoriously find difficult to say]. Afterwards, my sister Vika asked for money for the Armed Forces,” six-year-old Sofiyka said.
“We want to help our soldiers win sooner. Let them return alive!” Oleksiy added.
Lilia Arkhipovych, director of the Goncharenko center in Teofipol, noted that the children came up with the idea to raise funds and put them towards the purchase of the Gvozdika.
“I want to thank the parents of these children for their patriotic upbringing! It moves me to tears when such conscious and caring little volunteers come along! That instills faith in our victory!” she said.
Anyone can join the collection here.
Goncharenko centers are a national Ukrainian network of open cultural and educational centers. They are currently engaged in providing assistance to the military, asylum seekers and others in war hotspots.
The network was founded by member of parliament Oleksiy Goncharenko in February 2021, with the aim of providing free education to various segments of the population. Centers also conduct English language courses for children and adults, prepare teenagers for external independent testing, help to develop financial literacy skills, and teach modern technology skills to older people.