Refugee toddler's delight as charity replaces doll she left in Ukraine

'Moment of joy and connection' for young Veronika after she arrived in UK from war zone

Veronika with her new doll after she and her mother Tatyana arrived in the UK under the Homes for Ukraine scheme. PA

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A young refugee was delighted to receive a doll the same as the one she had to leave behind in Ukraine when fleeing the war.

Veronika and her mother Tatyana arrived in the UK on Thursday to stay with a sponsor family in Surrey, southern England, through the Homes for Ukraine scheme.

They arrived with only one case and a pushchair, so the sponsor family contacted baby bank charity Stripey Stork for help in sourcing some practical items.

They travelled to the charity’s warehouse to pick up supplies kept aside for them, including clothes, shoes, toys, a high chair, bed guard, potty training kit, nappies and toiletries.

But Veronika and her mother “got very excited”, the charity said in a tweet, when they spotted the doll which was “just the same as one she’d had to leave behind”.

Nicola Dawes, founder and chief executive of Stripey Stork, said: “It was particularly special to discover this doll was just the same as one that Veronika had not been able to bring from home.

Sara Beadle, operations manager of Stripey Stork (L), with Veronika and the girl's mother Tatyana. PA

“A moment of joy and connection, and it made our day when Veronika blew us a kiss as she left.”

Stripey Stork has been helping families across Surrey since it was formed in 2013.

It uses a model similar to a food bank to help provide essentials to families with young children and is now helping Ukrainian refugees arriving in the region.

“We know that over 700 families have been matched in Surrey and we are scaling up to support any requests we receive,” the charity said in a tweet.

Updated: April 11, 2022, 12:36 PM