Ukraine Aid and Education Fund was established following a visit
to Ukraine in 2000 by a small group of farmers from the Wimmera
region in North West Victoria. Ian and Alison McEwen who led the
group had a long held desire to see this intriguing country.

Prior to 1991, Ukraine was not readily accessible to the free
world. However, having a reputation for being the best cereal
growing land in the world, farmers around the world wanted to

We were not disappointed as it turned out to be just as people
said, beautiful chernozem soils, rich in fertility, with a climate
that allowed not only winter cereals but also summer crops such as
corn and soybeans. Another remarkable feature of the land is that
the top soil is feet deep and in places metres deep. Very different
from the shallow soils of Australia.

We found the Ukrainians were hospitable people, warm and

`Glasnost' - openness in 1991, left the economy to painfully move
from a socialist system to private enterprise. This left many
unemployed and a Government under enormous strain to meet the
needs of an emerging society.

We came away determined to get involved in helping these folks to
be a real part of the free world and to be able to grow and market
their products to a hungry world.

Our involvement in the agriculture sector of Ukraine has been
limited by the fact that our own farming enterprise has felt the
effects of continuing drought over the last 13 years, with the
hope that the 2009 season will be different.

Over the past eight years we have compiled humanitarian aid and
shipped it in shipping containers to the port of Odessa to be
distributed through the churches to families, children in care,
prisoners and patients in psychiatric hospital who have a need.

We are currently farming in the Donald area in Nth West
Victoria , Australia with our son, James and his family.
We grow wheat and barley, legumes and canola and also graze sheep
for wool and breed prime lamb
About Us
Ukraine's rolling black soil plains
Unfold a vista from the bus and train
Autumn struggles for bronzey hew
As green verdant pastures dominate the view

Ancient machinery and rusty iron abound
Crumbling concrete and decay all around
Family garden is lush and prolific
Plenty of hungry mouths to feed from it

Lada, Lada everywhere, dinted taxis and trolley bus
Tramcars,  trucks of all sorts and the occasional limo
An odd side car bike and a few pushbikes  about
And unfortunate for us most prefer to wear leather out

Cities like Kiev, Odessa, Vinitsa and Sumy
Vibrant and busy, tree lined streets for a greenie
Cloned apartment blocks, white and stark
Collective sameness makes a sad heart

Cold water or none at all today
Is stoically accepted the Ukrainian way
Power cuts often, one never knows
And the sewerage too is on the nose

Wary of eye in a crowd, it is difficult to chat to the
But in the homes, farms and business's, the warmth
is contagious
The amount of food and drink is embarrassing to see
Especially in the light of their frugality of opportunity

‘Dobraye utra’ is good morning to us
‘Spasiba’ is thankyou, no need to fuss
A translator a must for communication
Not used to the lingo of our Aussie nation

They do not have much, but are happy to share
Come in and eat, it is prepared with care
Conviviality and joy, and a song on cue
We will talk and dissect each others view

Teetering on the brink, sitting on knife edge or just a
basket case
A time to love, and a time to hate, a time of war,
and a time of peace.
This beautiful country had it all, Cossack, Hitler and
Stalin and then some
So many have said ‘too hard’ and packed up and
gone home

A history of genocide, torture and the penitentiary
This country must move smoothly into the new
A new spirit is emerging, a search for meaning and
The free world must demonstrate what is secure and

The prayers of the west, a jubilee focus in time are
Marx and Lenin move over, loyalty to Jesus
New churches everywhere, the young seeking the
Need mentoring and partnership and focus on youth

Ian McEwen  after extensive trip in September 2000
Back to home