The second phase of Project Ukraine, an initiative to support young Ukrainian golfers displaced by war, is now underway with the launch of a gofundme page aimed at providing scholarships for those affected by the ongoing hostilities.
Project Ukraine was founded earlier this year by nine women from across the golf industry who took part in The R&A’s Women in Golf Leadership Development Programme.
The women were inspired by their colleague, Ukrainian Veronika Rastvortseva, after hearing her emotional experiences of the Russian invasion of her country and the devastating impact it had on young athletes.
Project Ukraine’s first act was to reunite seven young golfers and their families at a training camp in Scotland in October.
Now the Project Ukraine group aim to raise £170,000 and help support post-secondary education scholarships for 17 talented Ukrainian golfers and their families.
The funds raised via the gofundme page will be administered and distributed by The R&A. Funds will assist these individuals in their pursuit of post-secondary education in a golf-related management programme, pursuing a career in golf, or continuing to play golf competitively.
Rastvortseva said, “The way the golfing community has rallied behind Project Ukraine in recent months has been overwhelming and truly humbling.
“The impact of war on all Ukrainians has been shocking but it’s especially difficult for youngsters who have had opportunities snatched from them in the most harrowing of circumstances.
“All we want to do is make sure that, while many people have been driven beyond Ukraine’s borders, the pathways to their dreams remain free of obstacles.
“By donating to this gofundme page you will be helping talented young Ukrainian golfers take the next step on their golfing journeys – a route many of them thought had been blocked by the onset of war and the fact they had to flee their homes.
“Golf participation in Ukraine was growing before the war and I am determined to do all I can, with the support of the Project Ukraine team, to make sure that the sporting ambition of our young people is not another casualty of this horrible war.”
This follows the successful training camp last month where seven Ukrainian golfers from the nation’s junior golf programme were reunited for the first time since February at the Macdonald Cardrona Golf Resort in Peebles, Scotland.
During the six-day camp, the youngsters – now scattered across Europe as the war continues – were able to get back together on the tee and continue their golfing education.
The boys and girls benefited from high quality coaching and clinics, health and nutrition sessions, mental skills and Rules of Golf workshops.
The camp in Scotland also coincided with the staging of the Dunhill Links Championship at St Andrews.
During a visit to the Home of Golf, the Ukrainian delegation got close to the action and enjoyed a meeting with world number one Rory McIlroy.
Now the team behind Project Ukraine is aiming to step up their efforts and focus on those older Ukrainian teenagers who have had their world turned upside down by conflict.
“To see the pure joy on the faces of the youngsters involved in the training camp in Scotland was special,” added Rastvortseva, who sought sanctuary in Belgium after the war began and attended the Scottish camp along with her two daughters.
“If we can now add our support to those teenagers wanting to spread their wings and further their career with a scholarship then it will be another truly wonderful contribution to the story of Ukraine’s resilience and fightback.”
If individuals or companies would like to make a donation of more than £5,000, they should contact Jennifer Hedge, Philanthropy Manager, at The R&A directly. Further questions can also be answered via The R&A Philanthropy Support website.
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