How can you help a Ukrainian family?
Since Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine last February, Ukrainian families have been divided and uprooted. For many families, ordinary life seems like a distant memory. Often, Ukrainian families have left their homes and friends to seek safety in neighboring countries or further afield.
It’s been incredibly tough, but Ukrainians are determined to come through this conflict and disruption and rebuild their lives. How can you help a Ukrainian family? The good news is you can support Ukrainian families in a number of meaningful ways. Let’s explore further…
Donate to help Ukrainian families
Ukrainian families have been through so much during the last year. Many have experienced trauma, or lost their homes or livelihoods. Children’s education in Ukraine has been interrupted and the country is battling a range of economic and social problems.
Making a donation is one of the most impactful and straightforward ways to help this humanitarian crisis. Your donation can support organizations raising money to respond to humanitarian needs in Ukraine and neighboring countries.
Charities on the ground in Ukraine urgently need donations to help vulnerable Ukrainian families. D&S Ukraine works directly with families in Ukraine and Ukrainian refugees to provide essential resources, whether it’s food, shelter, medical care or emotional support.
Many other organizations are also working tirelessly in Ukraine to meet humanitarian needs, such as the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the UNHCR refugee agency, Unicef and the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC). These charities have an established presence in Ukraine and can act quickly to meet rapidly changing requirements.
Help Ukrainian refugee families
More than 8 million people have fled Ukraine since last February in search of shelter and safety. Ukrainian families have moved to countries throughout Europe and further afield to the United Kingdom, United States or Canada.
Ukrainian refugees and third-party nationals who were living in Ukraine, have the right to live, work, access healthcare, housing and education in the European Union for up to three years, under an emergency plan announced last year. This extended welcoming of Ukrainians is heartening, but it doesn’t stop with opening borders and letting people in. Ukrainian families need help to integrate and settle in new countries and this is where you can make a difference.
Charitable organizations need your support to assist Ukrainian refugee families. Consider making a regular financial donation for Ukrainian refugees. Or, seek out charitable organizations in your local area who are helping refugees and offer your services as a volunteer. Opportunities to volunteer remotely are also available. Charities are looking for people with a variety of attributes, including language, administration, interpersonal and professional skills.
Host or sponsor a Ukrainian family
Offering living accommodation or sponsoring refugees is another way to help a Ukrainian family. Some countries are offering schemes to host or sponsor Ukrainian refugees.
The United Kingdom has a Homes for Ukraine programme where individuals can apply to host a family from Ukraine for a minimum of six months. Or, for Ukrainian nationals with family in the UK, there is the Ukraine Family Scheme. In the United States it’s possible to sponsor a Ukrainian family under its Uniting for Ukraine programme.
If you’re considering helping a Ukrainian family by sponsoring or hosting them in your home, it’s important to think carefully about your decision. It’s a big commitment. Families arriving from Ukraine are likely to have suffered trauma at some level and need a safe and welcoming environment and sensitive support. They’ll require practical advice and assistance with employment, education, health services, community support and more.
However, reaching out to help a Ukrainian family can also be a rewarding and enriching experience. It can benefit both the recipient and host, leading to new friendships and the chance to discover a different culture. When a host is prepared and engaged with the process, they can make a tangible difference to a Ukrainian family’s life.
Businesses can support Ukrainian families too
Businesses can also play an important role in helping Ukrainian families to come through this conflict. Ukrainian families need opportunities to help them continue working and earning a living, whether in Ukraine or elsewhere.
You could join a Ukrainian charity as a corporate partner and provide essential help and resources for vulnerable Ukrainian families. Businesses can also fundraise for Ukraine through their sales by donating a percentage of sales to a charity supporting Ukraine.
There are also opportunities for businesses to sponsor or offer accommodation for Ukrainian refugee families. If your company is looking for skilled workers, you could consider making jobs more accessible to Ukrainian refugees. Employment is well recognised as a key factor in successful refugee integration.
Donate essential supplies for families in Ukraine
Many local initiatives are also being organized to collect items such as blankets, food, sanitary items and medicine to be transported to families in Ukraine. Before donating goods, get in touch with a charity to find out exactly what’s needed. Sometimes well meaning donations of goods can block already fragile supply chains in Ukraine.
For medical aid, companies can list their offer on a scheme called Enkidu, and if it matches the needs of the Ukrainian government, they will get in touch with the supplier directly.
In some cases, a monetary donation to a registered charity may be the quickest and most secure option.
Show your solidarity
Finally, showing your solidarity with Ukraine gives Ukrainian families hope as they live through these challenging times. Follow and support Ukrainian organizations on social media and use the hashtag #StandWithUkraine. Buy Ukrainian products, and engage in advocacy activities and protests if you can.
Even simple measures, like turning down your thermostat slightly, or switching to renewable energy sources, reduces gas levels imported by Russia and has an economic impact.
Ultimately, put yourself in their shoes and think about a Ukrainian family’s essential human needs – food, shelter, healthcare, education, employment and emotional support. We can all do our part and you have the potential to meet some of these needs. No donation or act of kindness goes unnoticed.
Have you helped a Ukrainian family already? Would you like to help? Please tell us more in the comments below – we’d love to hear your thoughts.
Team D&S Ukraine