Hillsborough Elementary School student selling hand-crafted paintings in support of Ukraine

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PHOTO COURTESY OF MARTA MURTAZIN
Hillsborough Elementary School third-grade student Sofia Murtazin is selling hand-crafted "I Stand With Ukraine" paintings to raise to support people in Ukraine during the Russian invasion.

Ukraine runs through the veins of Hillsborough Elementary School third-grader Sofia Murtazin.

Both her mother, Marta, and her father, Illya, were born and raised in Ukraine, before coming to the United States over 20 years ago.

Various members of Sofia’s family currently live in Ukraine, such as her grandfather and great grandmother.

Sofia is very proud of her Ukrainian heritage and that has been shown without a doubt through her efforts to lend a helping hand to her family members and others in Ukraine that are struggling through hard times since the Russian invasion last month.

For the past three weeks, Sofia has been putting her artistic efforts towards a great cause in raising money to help all Ukrainians in need.

She has currently raised over $3,300 from selling hand-crafted canvas that feature her hand print in blue and yellow, the colors of the Ukrainian flag, with the message “I Stand With Ukraine” below it.

All the proceeds from the paintings have gone to Sofia and her family purchasing medical supplies, toiletries and other materials to send over to the Ukrainian Army to help them support the people of Ukraine.

“It’s a great feeling to help Ukraine,” Sofia said in an exclusive interview with centraljersey.com. “I want to help people and help the Ukrainian Army help them.”

All of this came about after Sofia saw her mother work hard to raise money to send to her family in Ukraine when the war with Russia began.

Sofia wanted to do her part as well and thought of an idea of creating paintings for her mom to sell to raise money towards the cause.

“I thought she would only want to do it once, but after she did one, she wanted to get more supplies to make more,” Marta Murtazin said. “It’s amazing. I’m very proud of her. She was so determined to find time to do this.”

Each painting was priced at $15 and Marta Murtazin sold them through social media on Facebook and Instagram.

Family members and friends spread the word of Sofia’s mission and before you know it, paintings were being bought and donations were sent in from all over the country.

People from New York, Pennsylvania, Chicago, Florida and Las Vegas have contributed towards the cause, Marta Murtazin said.

“It’s so amazing to see people from all over America come together to help out,” she said. “People really want to help out Ukraine.”

Locally, Sofia’s painting made a big impact in the Ukrainian Village located in Somerset where Marta’s mother lives.

Sofia raised a total of $475 by selling around 25 paintings in the community, her mother said.

Sending out all the materials purchased from the sales of Sofia’s paintings has been a true family activity for the Murtazin family. Sofia, her brother Maks, and their parents pack each box for shipment to a network of family and friends in Ukraine.

Amazed by the impact her eight-year-old daughter has made these last few weeks, Marta Murtazin said she knows her family in Ukraine proud of what Sofia is doing as well.

“They are amazed by what (Sofia) is doing with her paintings,” she said. “They are really happy about all the support we have gotten for them.”

Just like her entire family, Sofia said she hopes this war ends soon. She will continue to paint in the meantime and try her best to raise money to help all those in Ukraine get through these tough times.

“I wanted to help others,” Sofia said. “I wanted to help all the mothers and children. I want to help the Ukrainian Army get supplies to help protect them.”

To purchase any of Sofia’s artwork or to donate money towards the cause, contact Marta Murtazin through email at [email protected] or by calling the number 908-294-0755.