A couple who work for Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust have stepped in to offer a family from war-torn Ukraine a new life in their home.
Harry and Kerry Madhar agreed to take in a young Ukrainian family after Harry heard of a plea for help through the church he attends.
Now they have received the family at their home in Willenhall, and the couple and their toddler daughter are settling in well.
“After hearing the family’s plight we knew had had to do something to help, said Harry, an Academic Tutor in the Undergraduate Centre at Walsall Manor Hospital.
“You watch the footage on TV and think ‘what if I was in that situation?’ I thought of how we take our liberty for granted in this country, and how would we react?
“I go to Legacy Church Walsall in Corporation Street regularly and our pastor told us about this family in desperate need of help. “I thought ‘I need to do something’ so I volunteered straight away – without telling my wife or family!
“But we had a long chat and thankfully the family were all on board with it, so we agreed to do it.
“We know this is going to have a huge impact on our lives and we’re going to have to make sacrifices for them when they’re here.
“But I think it’s the human thing to do. I don’t want praise. We show compassion and care in our jobs, but we would all live in a better community if society had those principles and core values. Life would be a lot easier.”
The practical elements of welcoming a young family to share their home have gradually dawned on Harry and Kerry too.
“We talked for about three hours about the things we’ll need,” he said. “We’ve bought a cot, high chair and even a car seat for the toddler, microwave, wardrobe and bed.”
Then there are other considerations – such as the courtesy of letting their neighbours know.
“When I told them we were opening up our home to some refugees, I was absolutely overwhelmed by the support they said they’d like to give,” said Harry.
“One lady invited us all to her open house party for her 80th birthday, so they can meet all the neighbours. They said ‘what would you like? I’ll write a cheque, just get it for them’.
“Someone else said they knew someone with a bed factory so they’d see if they could get a bed at discount. Another neighbour popped round with a new toaster.”
“The response from the local community has been brilliant and our new house guests are settling in very well.”