Thankfully her cousin is now safe in Poland, but her plight sparked Maria’s determination in wanting to do something to help Ukrainian refugees.
Very soon after the conflict began the 15-year-old turned up at the office of Sue Davies, Assistant Head (Pastoral) & Head of Boarding asking what she could do to help.
They both came up with the idea to fill shoe bags filled with essential items such as toiletries, stationery, and underwear to be given to mothers and children having to flee their country.
The bags cost £1.50 each, and Maria was so successful in selling them to pupils and staff, that she very soon had to make another order for dozens of more bags.
After the Easter holidays, the shoe bags will be distributed to Ukrainian refugees arriving in North Wales. Each county in Wales is expected to welcome 45 refugees in the coming weeks.
Mrs Davies said: “Maria has driven this project right from the beginning. As soon as the conflict in Ukraine began, Maria turned up at my office asking what we could do to help.
“It took a couple of weeks to develop the idea, but once we knew what we had to do, Maria took charge!
“Since then, she has spent each day taking bags to pupils who want them, giving out the leaflet (which she designed!) and encouraging as much participation as she could.
“She has been amazing!”
Maria, who is from Zambia, said: “I just wanted to do something because what is happening is terrible and these people fleeing are innocent victims.
“My cousin, who was at university in Ukraine, is fine thankfully, but for a while, she was stuck in a basement and it was difficult for her to find food.”