A UKRAINIAN union representative has used skills passed down by her grandmother to raise hundreds of pounds for those suffering in the devastating conflict in her home country.

Tetiana Phillips has raised more than £350 for DEC Ukraine and WarPaws Aid for Ukrainian Animals in a matter of weeks by creating and selling Motankas, a traditional handmade symbol of female power in Ukraine.

The UNISON Cymru/Wales rep was taught by her maternal grandmother how to make the Motanka, which is seen as a guardian angel in Ukraine.

Tetian first came to the UK and settled in Newport in South Wales 14 years ago.

She said: “In Ukrainian folklore, Motanka is a handmade symbol of female power, the guardian of the family, which protects from evil, for health and welfare. It is believed that if you inherit or acquire a Motanka she will honour her duty as a guardian angel.

“I nominated myself to be a UNISON rep because, after two devastating years of pandemic and having witnessed everyday sacrifices, courage and humility of my colleagues and friends, I felt it was my moral obligation and duty to support them back and be there when they need me.

“To me, UNISON is about solidarity and community. The community, which is defiant, fearless and unbreakable, just like my people back in Ukraine.”

Peter Garland, UNISON Newport City branch secretary, said: “The funds raised by the sale of these unique items will be vital to support the ongoing relief effort as a result of the heart-breaking war in the Ukraine.

“We are extremely grateful to Tetiana for her fantastic creativity and to her UNISON colleagues for their support.”