The world has watched in horror as Russian troops move across Ukraine, bombarding its cities, displacing millions of its people and leaving devastation and a humanitarian catastrophe in their wake.
Many Americans are desperate to do something to help.
One simple idea is to book an AirBnB. You don’t need to go to the war-torn country, but the cash will go direct to the landlords.
Airbnb has waived the guest and host fees on bookings. ‘We are so humbled by the inspiring generosity of our community during this time of crisis,’ the company said in a statement.
One word of caution though: The idea could be open to abuse by Russian scammers who might post fake listing to cash in on noble intentions so users are cautioned to check reviews before trying to help.
As Ukraine announced that it has reached a tentative agreement with Russia to secure safe corridors for civilians to be evacuated and aid supplies delivered, DailyMail.com highlights some of the organizations with a presence on the ground and through which you can send aid to those who need it most.
One psychologist named Oksana in SOS Children’s Village works with families who have chosen to remain in Brovary, Kyiv region, as well as remotely with foster families who relocated to western Ukraine
Speaking from Brovary Oksana said, ‘At the moment, I am in a basement. Missiles are flying over us. I am here with my children – the little one is four years old, and the older son is twelve’
How even AirBnB can help. Make a booking in Ukraine and the money goes directly to the people wh need the help
SOS Children’s Villages
Psychologist in Ukraine tells of hiding out in a basement with children as missiles fly overhead
Oksana is a psychologist in SOS Children’s Village working with families who have chosen to remain in Brovary, Kyiv region, as well as remotely with foster families who relocated to Truskavets, western Ukraine.
Speaking from Brovary she said, ‘At the moment, I am in a basement. Missiles are flying over us. I am here with my children – the little one is four years old, and the older son is 12.
‘All [foster] parents said the children started to eat lots of sweets. Everybody noted that. Then some children started wetting the bed, having anxiety, vomiting. The children started to have different bodily reactions.
In a heartbreaking example she said, ‘One boy, according to his foster mother, without anybody telling him to do so, got dressed and was simply standing dressed in boots, waiting to run somewhere.’
Oksana said, ‘You don’t have to be a specialist to look into the eyes of children and adults and understand how they feel.’
According to Oksana, ‘I had talks with the children, did breathing exercises, used various games and exercises and then we moved to tackle the feeling of fear.
‘I didn’t lead them into the emotion but arranged it like a game asking them to describe what they felt before, during and after they got scared – so that each child could speak.
She said, ‘At first, they were a little bit closed but then they opened up and each of them started to talk about their fears – how they experienced and were worried about the explosions, how scared they were to lose each other or their foster parents, that they could be physically harmed and disabled if they happened to be trapped in the ruins.
‘There were lots of fears… The children talked and talked and talked.’
This group has been in Ukraine since 2003 and was engaged in assisting post-war recovery from the 2014 conflict when the current war erupted.
SOS Children’s Villages supports the foster care system in regions where no state program exists as well as providing support for families and children struggling with poverty or illness and the fighting is making an already fragile situation worse.
Speaking Thursday, Serhii Lukashov, the National Director of SOS Children’s Villages in Ukraine told DailyMail.com, ‘We are left without a future.’
In a video message shared with DailyMail.com he explained that their psychologists are trying to teach children basic survival under the guise of play in lessons conducted ‘between air raids.’
Staff in Ukraine told of a worsening situation in the Luhansk region where many are based. Sievierodontesk and Popsana are continually shelled and Starobilsk is occupied. Shops are nearly empty, ATMs out of cash and card payments no longer accepted.
Director of Communications and Brand, Catherine Weston, told DailyMail.com, ‘The situation is changing hour by hour, but we have people on the ground and in neighboring countries, including Russia, and are liaising with all to get the best outcome for children and families.’
A total of 103 people from SOS Children’s Villages have been evacuated to Poland a figure representing foster parents, children and care assistants. In addition, 23 children and 5 caretakers from a children’s home in Kyiv are being accommodated in the SOS Children’s Village in Siedice.
Revealing the dire situation Weston said that what is most needed right now is funds and awareness. She said, ‘Stay informed, get the word out. Everyone is in shock and sharing information as well as donating is vital.’
The international organization is on the ground in Romania, supporting thousands of predominantly women and children who have fled across the border.
More than a million Ukrainians are now believed to have fled the conflict and World Vision aims to get essential aid to the approximately 67,000 who have made the journey across to Romania as well as providing psychological and educational support to children and families.
Children like Tasia, 4, and her brother Tihon, 6 – featured on World Vision’s site – whose father brought them to the border then returned to Ukraine to fight.
The organization is working to find accommodation and basic services and looking to partner with organizations in Moldova and Ukraine, where more than 7.5million children’s lives have been put in grave danger, not only from the war, but from the heightened risk of violence, exploitation and abuse that it brings in its wake.
Global Empowerment Mission
GEM is a Miami based organization that has established a Ukraine Crisis Plan and a base in Medyka, Poland where refugees can be welcomed and helped to relocate.
The organization’s BStrong fund is primarily aimed at buying flight and train tickets so that people fleeing Ukraine can reach a country where they have family or friends who can take them in. According to the organization’s people on the ground all hotels are full, so helping people travel on is the best solution in the face of a growing crisis.
To date GEM has sent 100,000 hygiene kits, $550,000 in medical supplies, $10,000,000 in essential supplies and 100,000lbs of Goya Food to Poland. It has also sent $250,000 worth of supplies to Moldova and is actively helping 10,000 families relocate.
Last week mother-of-one Christina shared her story on the group’s Facebook site telling how her husband was unable to cross the border into Poland with her and their daughter. He had to return to fight under emergency laws that make it illegal for men aged 18 – 65 to leave the country. This week Christina shared an update and the news that she had managed to unite with family in Spain thanks to GEM’s BStrong fund’s assistance.
DailyMail.com has highlighted some of the organizations with a presence on the ground in Ukraine and through which you can send aid to those who need it most
Speaking Thursday, Serhii Lukashov, the National Director of SOS Children’s Villages in Ukraine told DailyMail.com, ‘We are left without a future.’ Children are seen hiding in a basement as missiles fly overhead
This organization, staffed entirely by volunteers and based in New York, grew out of the response of the Ukrainian American diaspora to the Russian invasion of their country in 2014. Then, it established the Emergency Response Fund and procured medical and tactical supplies for the eastern front. When reports came that Russia had begun amassing troops on Ukraine’s borders the group began actively promoting the fund once more on social media.
Since fundraising efforts began on February 18, they have received more than $768,000 via social media. The funds will take as long as four weeks to transfer to their accounts, so the group has opened the option of people donating directly to their PayPal and bank accounts. They have now raised over $1.05million through these efforts and have published a list of the lifesaving supplies they have already purchased.
They will deliver these to where they are most needed with the help of 20 partner organizations. As of today, they are using a ‘green corridor’ between Poland and Ukraine to reach two warehouses where supplies can be stored and distributed further.
The non-profit’s name is the Ukrainian word for ‘together’ and its goal is to foster democracy and greater freedoms within the country.
Sunflower of Peace
This Boston based non-profit was founded in 2015 and its current stated mission is to raise $5million to provide medical and humanitarian aid to Ukraine.
Images from the group’s Facebook page show the latest shipment, including diapers, sterile gloves, burn-bandages, medical backpacks, medicine and medical instruments, being sent out from Boston, Wednesday. The first shipment of vital supplies left the US on February 25.
Donations are encouraged via the group’s social media or people can order items from their Amazon list of medical supplies which will be shipped to Newton, Massachusetts and are delivered to Ukraine weekly.
Speaking to DailyMail.com Project Hope Vice President and Chief Development and Communications Officer Cinari Baldi explained how vital it is that they assess and respond to the needs of both the Ukrainians who have fled the country and those who remain displaced within it.
She said, ‘We have four teams on the ground; a small team in Ukraine and teams in Poland, Moldova and Romania. Initially the teams in neighboring countries were seeing people passing checkpoints and going to family or friends or even hotels.
‘But now they’re starting to see more unaccompanied children and women with multiple children and you’re looking at more people in Ukraine who do not have access to shelter in host countries, certainly not medical care as well as a lack of food and water.’
Through fundraising and partnering with WHO, World Food Program and government ministries in host countries Project Hope is trying to address those needs.
Baldi explained, ‘The sourcing of supplies is central right now, everything from blankets to hygiene kits and insulin. Three percent of Ukraine’s population is diabetic and insulin requires a cold chain system so those are the sort of key things we’re trying to move on.’
Founded in 1958 Project Hope is a global organization working in 25 countries. Last week they issued a statement condemning the Russian action for putting civilian lives at risk and forcing hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians to flee their homes. The organization stated that it stands by the people of Ukraine and committed to providing medical supplies, health screening and care for refugee outflows.
Baldi urged people to donate but cautioned them to research charities carefully before parting with any funds. She added, ‘I am consistently telling people to do research and make sure any charity claiming to be involved is responding. There is so much misinformation out there it is vital to ensure you are getting your news from trusted sources. Being informed is also key.’
SOS Children’s Villages supports the foster care system in regions where no state program exists as well as providing support for families and children struggling with poverty or illness and the fighting is making an already fragile situation worse
Rescuers and locals search through rubble of residential buildings destroyed by Russian shelling in the village of Markhalivka, to the south west of capital city Kyiv
International Rescue Committee
The IRC is on the ground in Poland preparing to support displaced Ukrainian families. The organization has been providing emergency relief across the world and closer to home for 90 years. Its stated aim is to provide efficient and effective relief to help those affected by disaster regain control of their lives and futures. It has done this in more than 40 countries worldwide as well as in 20 US Cities.
Donors can make a one-off donation or sign up to a monthly plan. $36 per month helps get key information to refugees, $60 can provide an emergency kit for one family, $108 provides 8 families with temporary shelter, $190 provides medical care for 10 children, while $500 is enough to equip one mobile clinic.
The renowned human rights organization is working to protect internally displaced populations and refugees, monitor and investigate human rights violations and defend individuals whom they identify as ‘likely to be targeted’ such as human rights defenders, journalists and members of the LGBTI communities.
It has set up a crisis campaign and is calling for donations to help facilitate this vital work.
Doctors Without Borders/ Médecins Sans Frontiers (MSF)
MSF emergency teams have already arrived at the Polish-Ukraine border where they are trying to get essential staff and supplies into Ukraine while setting up emergency response activities on both sides of the border. Teams are also carrying out assessments along Ukraine’s border with Russia and Belarus.
The organization has donated basic items to create a reception shelter in Poland where many refugees arrive exhausted, dehydrated and suffering from hypothermia.
In the Ukrainian city of Mariupol, which has suffered near constant bombardment in recent days, MSF teams have distributed medical kits to treat war-wounded people and have provided a telemedicine training for trauma care for 30 surgeons from eastern Ukraine.
They are appealing for funds to assist in these efforts as well as with teams in Poland, Hungary, Romania, Moldova and Slovakia.
People take cover from shelling in the city of Bucha, west of Kyiv, during a Russian assault to try to capture it
This organization has been responding to disasters and providing emergency relief since 2004. In that time, it has facilitated more than $100million in disaster donations worldwide.
Their Ukraine Disaster Relief Fund has been set up with the intention of focusing on the most vulnerable including children. The fund has raised over $4million of their total target goal of $7million with close to 32,000 donations. Donations will be used to provide shelter, food and clean water for refugees, health and psychosocial support, access to education and economic assistance.
The charity’s aim is to make it ‘easy, quick and safe to support people on the ground who understand needs in their communities better than anyone else.’
According to Deepmala Mahla, Care’s VP of Humanitarian Affairs, ‘We cannot underestimate the human suffering of this renewed conflict in the Ukraine.’
With that in mind CARE has partnered with People in Need. It aims to raise $20million to reach 4million people with emergency aid in the form of water, food, hygiene kits and cash assistance as what the charity describes as a ‘humanitarian catastrophe’ unfolds in the region.