HOW TO HELP UKRAINIAN PEOPLE DURING THE UKRAINE-RUSSIA CONFLICT
It goes without saying that the Ukraine-Russia conflict is an absolute tragedy. A horrific and unnecessary loss of precious human lives. Cruel suffering thrust upon millions of innocent Ukrainian and Russian people. A lot of us are wondering how to help Ukraine right now.
With all this in mind, we must remember that both our Ukrainian and Russian friends are hurting. We need to come together, educate ourselves and be inquisitive about what we can do to help. We won’t pretend to have all the answers, but we must at least try to help in any way we can.
Here are some ways that we can all help support the people directly affected by this crisis:
1. DONATE MONEY
One of the quickest and most practical ways to help Ukrainian people is through donation. There is an abundance of worthy causes. Some reputable options that directly help those affected includes:
Save the Children UK are providing children and their families with immediate aid, such as food, water, hygiene kits, psychosocial support and cash assistance.
The British Red Cross, the Ukrainian Red Cross Society (URCS) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) are all helping those affected get food, water, medicine, clothes and shelter. The British Red Cross in particular has a new emergency appeal to help with extreme water shortages following damage to several water stations and pipelines during the invasion. And the International Committee of the Red Cross is fundraising for its volunteers to repair infrastructure, support health facilities with medicines and equipment, and support families with food and hygiene items.
UNICEF is also focusing on children’s welfare and health by making sure they have adequate nutrition and water. They are also using money from donations to bring blankets, warm clothes, hygiene and health kits to children and their families in Ukraine.
Revived Soldiers of Ukraine is a non-profit that helps to deliver humanitarian and medical aid to soldiers and their families, and any other affected by direct military conflict.
The UN Refugee Agency is sending resources, staff and aid to Ukraine’s neighbours, who are taking in hundreds of thousands of refugees. This will help people fleeing to keep safe and cared for.
Voices of Children is a Ukrainian organisation that provides psychological care to children dealing with the trauma of war. Donations go towards programmes, such as art therapy, mobile psychologists, and individual help to support families.
Sunflower of Peace prepares first aid medical backpacks for paramedics and doctors, with each backpack saving “up to 10 lives”.
2. DONATE ITEMS
In addition to monetary donations, local donation centres for items have been put up across the UK. You can check for initiatives in your local area via a quick google search. Many centres have a list of suggested items to donate but volunteers say their most needed items include batteries, torches, warm clothing, shoes, sanitary products and bedding.
If you are London-based, there is White Eagle Club in Balham, south London which are open for people to drop off items. Donations there will be sent overseas to Ukrainian refugees fleeing the country. You can check their Facebook page for opening times.
The Community Clothes Swap in York is also taking donations.
3. STAY INFORMED
I know endless consumption of upsetting news can be difficult, and it’s important to take breaks for the sake of our mental health. But knowledge really is power, and the more we learn about the conflict, the more we understand how to help Ukrainian people. If you are in the UK, the least we can do is educate ourselves about the evolving situation and spread this knowledge to friends and family who may then be inspired to help too.
For independent reputable news sources from Ukraine that you can read in English, The Kyiv Independent is reporting from the front lines on how the conflict is impacting citizens, the economy and politics. Or you can also try The New Voice of Ukraine for frequent updates on the hour.
If you have young children, it can be hard to know whether they are old enough to understand what is going on, and if so, whether you should start a conversation with them. There are some great resources from Common Sense Media and Very Well Family about how you can approach the subject with your kids if you choose to.
4. SHOW LOVE, SHOW EMPATHY
Practical support is crucial. But never underestimate the importance of empathy - it may be the greatest gift we have right now. If you have any Ukrainian or Russian friends, please reach out to them. Truly listen to them. Show support in any way you can. Love and kindness know no borders.
I hope these resources have been helpful for some ideas on how to help Ukrainian people. And to anyone who is suffering right now, and worried for the future, we are sending love and compassion your way. To our friends who are hurting, you are in our hearts.
Words by Eleni Evangelinos.