The Times

Meet The Australians Cooking Pierogis For Peace


Poland has responded to the Russian invasion of Ukraine with outstanding generosity. The Ukraine neighbour has taken in 2,968,716 refugees, more than 60% of all those who have fled the country. Anna Christensen, the head of channel marketing at ICT distributor,  NEXTGEN Group, has been watching her birth country’s remarkable efforts from afar. So, she has planned a remarkable effort from Australia. Anna’s 2,000 pierogis will raise funds for medicines to be sent to a hospital in Drohobycz. She is hoping to raise $20,000 for this worthy cause.
Poland’s generosity has been applauded globally, inspiring countries such as Moldova, Romania and Slovakia to adopt similar policies, as well as parts of Ukraine, where more than 6.5 million people have been internally displaced and many urgently need help to cover their basic needs. In Poland, eligible refugees who enrol for its PESEL programme will receive 700 Polish zloty (US$165) per month for at least three months, with an additional 610 Polish zloty for each household member, to a maximum amount per household of 2,500 zloty (US$605) per month. They can stay in the country for up to 180 days and access the labour market, health care system and social benefits. Anna realised she had a number of resources that could be leveraged to support Ukraine’s resilience.
The first is her husband. Anna is married to Kasper Christensen, former executive chef for Sydney Opera House, who has also worked at Bathers Pavilion, Quay and Noma in Australia, as well as formerly serving as the private chef of the Danish royal family. The second is a high school friend and paramedic still living in Poland, who can deliver the funds raised directly to the hospital. “I didn’t want to sponsor a large charity,” Anna says. “It was really important to me that all of the money went from us straight to the hospital where it is desperately needed to help to keep people alive.”

“Our pierogi won’t be ordinary,” she adds. “They will be made by an awarded chef and delivered with the same love my people are showing to their Ukrainian neighbours. They will be as outstanding as the Polish response to the Ukranian invasion. We hope they will do good. We hope they will save lives.”
“What Anna does in her daily life at NEXTGEN, helping protect businesses from cyber attacks and potential ruin, is great. What she is doing off her own bat, helping to saving people under military attack from dying is absolutely glorious. The whole team at NEXTGEN and I could not be more proud of her” says John Walters, Group CEO of NEXTGEN.



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