This blog has previously been a place where I talk about myself – what I’m feeling, what I’m going through, what I like. It’s going to continue to be that, but today I wanted to talk about something that has been weighing heavily on my heart.
The war taking place in Ukraine right now is unimaginable, and as I sit here in a safe house, with food to eat, knowing my loved ones are safe, I don’t think I have the words or the perspective to describe the tragedies and their domino effects Ukrainians are experiencing in the wake of Putin’s violence.
Like most Americans, I have ties that spread across continents and oceans. While on my dad’s paternal side those ties are to Mexico and Spain, on my mom’s paternal side those ties are to Ukraine. My great aunt recently told my mom and uncle that the war in Ukraine right now “feels like history repeating itself for our family, and many families.” My great-grandma Eleanor’s parents – Jacob and Elisabeth – were from Kremenchug on the Dnieper River, several hundred miles south of Kiev. They then moved south to Ekaterinagrad, now Dnipro, before moving to the United States. My great-grandpa Al’s parents – Baruch and Bella – were from the port town of Odessa, which may be Putin’s next target according to the news. So many of us have ties to those fleeing, those fighting, and those helping. And it makes the reality of what’s happening even that much harder to understand.
Since I’m still taking a very mindful pause from social media, I wanted to use this growing platform to talk about ways we can help. Here are five different verified charities you can contribute to or share to social media to help Ukraine in the midst of their suffering:
Save the Children: According to savethechildren.org, millions have now fled Ukraine, including at least 400,000 children. Children on the move are at risk of hunger, illness, trafficking and abuse. Contributions to this organization go towards purchasing food, water, hygiene kits, psychosocial support and cash assistance.
Razom for Ukraine: This organization has been in effect since 2014, and is dedicated to helping Ukraine pursue democracy and widespread civil rights.
UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR): This organization is dedicated to providing immediate cash assistance as well as resettlement for families fleeing war zones and looking for safety.
Voices of Children Foundation: Since 2015, VOC has been helping provide psychological and psychosocial support to children affected by war. In Ukraine’s current crisis, they are providing non-stop assistance to children fleeing the country as well as assisting with the evacuation process.
International Medical Corps: According to npr.org, “the global non-profit has been delivering primary health care and mental health services in Ukraine since 2014, and is raising funds to expand those services for people affected by the latest conflict.” They will be allocating these funds to initiating mobile medical emergency teams and primary health services, as well as to manage the fallout of COVID-19 as large amounts of people flee from their homes.
*BONUS*: One great way to help Ukrainians directly right now is to book a stay in a Ukrainian AirBnB. Though you won’t actually go, airbnb.com has waived its fees for stays in Ukraine, so the money from the booking goes directly to the property owner. This has been a great way so far for Ukrainians to get the cash they need quickly. So, if you prefer to donate directly, go to airbnb.com, search for stays in Ukraine, and message the host letting them know you want to provide assistance.
If you are unable to donate money, I encourage you to share this post or the links to these organizations to your social media or directly with your family and friends. Ukraine needs us to step up and help them as they brave the unnecessary violence and force that has invaded their homes.
I also rounded up some of my favorite Instagram posts about the current situation. Let’s use social media for good again.
- How to Maintain Our Mental Health: Dr. Hepburn is sharing useful tips on how to maintain your own mental health during this difficult time. Even though we can be grateful for our safety, this kind of situation puts stress on the entire world, and in order to help the best we can, we have to make sure we’re taking care of ourselves, too.
2. How to Help Ukraine if You Can’t Donate Money: Darya Zorka made a great infographic with some creative, non-financial ways you can help Ukraine right now.
3. Stay Informed: When it comes to getting regular updates on the situation in Ukraine, it’s very important to make sure your sources are credible and verified so as not to spread misinformation which can end up hurting the people you’re trying to help. The New York Times and NPR are two credible sources that provide day to day updates on the current crisis.
To everyone who has taken the time to read through these resources, and especially to those who will share them, thank you. I think in times like these what is most important is remembering that we are stronger together than apart. The people of Ukraine are our worldly neighbors, our friends and in some cases our family. They need not only thoughts and prayers, but also resources and relief. Sending love and light to everyone who feels heavier because of the current crisis, and especially to those suffering in Ukraine.