Lancaster mum who rescued Ukrainian gran now donating shoe sale funds to help refugees

A Lancaster mum who rescued her gran from war-torn Ukraine is now helping others escape the country by donating funds raised through her designer shoe company.

By Gayle Rouncivell
Monday, 18th April 2022, 4:55 am
Updated Wednesday, 20th April 2022, 4:27 pm

As we reported last month, Tanya Mulesa brought her 83-year-old grandmother Natalia Anufriieva from the invasion-torn country on March 20.

It was a fierce battle with the Home Office amid many logistical challenges, but Natalia is now safe in Halton.

Ukrainian-born Tanya is now working tirelessly to provide all support possible for refugees.

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Tanya Mulesa with her gran Natalia.

While helping match them with hosts in the UK, she discovered that most people in Ukraine were too scared to throw their remaining savings on a trip to the UK.

“Their minds are numb to making serious decisions like this,” she said. “Most have lost jobs.

"A lot of them don’t have many savings and are worried that if they leave Ukraine or Poland they will have to spend their final savings.”

With this in mind, Tanya is now helping through her shoe business, which she runs out of Halton Mill.

A pair of Cleverstein shoes.

Tanya has lived in England for 10 years and her family moved to Halton four years ago.

Cleverstein designs and makes innovative ballet flats which are sold alongside detachable accessories to completely transform the shoes.

The shoes and accessories were made in Ukraine pre-invasion. The brand is circular, upcycling leather and fabric waste to make shoe accessories with Ukrainian artisans and taking them back for recycling.

Tanya is an award-winning footwear designer, and was recognised by the Global Network of Women Innovators as the winner in the creative category in 2019.

Tanya Mulesa operates Cleverstein from Halton Mill.

Cleverstein is now dedicating its remaining stock to support Ukrainian refugees. The sale of each pair of shoes will sponsor a Ukrainian refugee to travel to the UK to stay with a host.

“Sponsoring refugee travel at the moment is the best way people can help,” Tanya said.

Meanwhile, Natalia is now enjoying her new life in Halton, where she is now baking her signature Ukrainian cakes for the local community, as well as gardening, learning English, and helping refugees come to the UK.

She is also helping Cleverstein with shoe fittings, and visitors can say hello at the Halton Mill office.

Cleverstein shoes come with detachable accessories.

You can shop for Cleverstein shoes and accessories online, or contact Tanya to schedule a fitting in Halton at [email protected]

Cleverstein shoes are being sold to help Ukrainian refugees.
Cleverstein shoes are being sold to help Ukrainian refugees.