Italians have been quick to offer assistance and support to Ukrainians after the Russian invasion. Facebook groups for Ukrainians in Italy have shown a substantial increase in support including Italians offering lodging and jobs. However, Daniele Bellofiore is an extraordinary example of going above and beyond to help others.
He is a 44-year-old Italian humanitarian who drove 1,988 miles to pick up Ukrainian refugees. Daniele has a history of serving others and set up two associations in Kenya and Tanzania to help companies and craftspeople, and spent 12 years there. He then moved back to Italy and opened a B&B in Tuscany, which he still runs today.
Daniele had an urge to help Ukrainians after Russia’s assault. However, Oleg, a Ukrainian doorman in his mom’s condo inspired him to take action. Daniele asked Oleg how he could help, and Oleg explained that there were a few individuals he knew who were attempting to escape. Daniele later found out that these individuals already escaped but one individual was hoping to rescue their cousin.
On March 6th, Daniele and his team left Sienna, Italy, and set out to Poland. His team included a convoy of eight people in six cars equipped with clothes, food, blankets, and medical supplies for the refugees. After a few days of traveling, Bellofiore arrived at the Polish border city of Przemyśl, fewer than 100 kilometres (62.1 miles) from Lviv.
Here, Daniele witnessed utterly horrific scenes which he explained were far worse than what he previously saw in Africa.
The team spread to other towns including Medyka, and picked up over 10 individuals.
Daniele rescued an 84-year old woman with a visual impairment, her niece, and her two dogs. They were all incredibly anxious and traumatized but he brought them to safety in Rome.