Orphanage (stock image)
Orphanage (stock image) iStock

The British Jewish community has raised £1.2 million ($1.6 million USD) for a Jewish orphanage and school in Odessa, Ukraine whose students had to flee due to the Russian invasion.

According to the Jewish Chronicle, children from the Tikva Jewish orphanage and school had to flee Odessa on 14 buses, travelling to an area near the Carpathian Mountains that remains safe.

Over 400 children and other people were evacuated by Tikva last week, with another 50 children travelling this week to safety.

About 80 of the students have been able to leave for neighbouring countries. But the others are wards of the state or cannot leave for various other reasons.

“As soon as the shelling happened next to the girls’ orphanage, I decided we had to evacuate immediately at seven o’clock in the morning on Friday,” Tikva CEO Refael Kruskal told the news outlet. “We were going to take everyone out of Odessa.”

Travelling out of the city proved difficult, including hours long traffic jams and inflated expenses due to the war.

Kruskal said that the journey was fraught with drivers and passengers panicking and bombs erupting behind them.

“Some roads had been bombed. We saw some crashes in different places,” he said. “There were some places which had been mined by Ukrainians because they wanted to hamper the speed of the Russian invasion.”

Their new location is a summer camp near the mountains.

So far, more than 2,000 donors in the UK have contributed to help the Tikva orphanage and schools.

“Due to the difficulties of a war economy, the cost of essential items such as bedding, generators, food and security are rising at alarming rates,” Karen Bodenstein, the CEO of Tikva’s UK support charity, said.