When Russia’s invasion began on 24 February 2022, Ukrainians started organizing to help each other. Dozens of chat groups and information boards now connect people and help them navigate life during the war.
People around the world wanted to help as well, in the most meaningful ways possible. However, it is not easy to get in touch and organize help in ways that those on the ground actually need, and make certain that the help gets to them. To help fill in this gap, many spontaneous local initiatives for solidarity with Ukraine began to emerge.
Using technology, leveraging social media, and devising innovative solutions to help Ukrainians safely leave war zones, find accommodation, or talk to officials in a foreign country are just some of the most useful initiatives.
Some were started by activists scattered around the world, including Russians who fled the country’s authoritarian regime. Some provided a grassroots response in the areas accepting most refugees. And some repurposed their resources to address the crisis. All of them are volunteer-based and raise funds exclusively for the purpose of covering the costs of the aid they are providing.
It is not always easy to find these organizations, but Rights CoLab has uncovered some important initiatives, which all operate as close to the ground as possible.
This list contains a short description of the work of each organization and their immediate needs. You can support them by following the link at the end of each description, which will bring you to their fundraising pages.
Naym is a nonprofit platform that helps Ukrainian refugees and displaced persons find employment in Europe. Founded as an international recruitment service for top-class developers, Naym suspended its business activities when the war started and focused on supporting transition processes for women as well as individuals with weak language skills, educational deficiencies, or a lack of other needed qualifications. They crowdfund to cover operational costs and salaries.
Helping to Leave is an independent grassroots project assisting those in the process of leaving Ukraine, as well as those currently in the country and in need of help. Over 400 volunteers work to guide people step by step to safely leave hostile areas. Help them fund transportation, accommodation, and other immediate needs for Ukrainian refugees.
Solidarity is an app that was created by Georgian developers to connect people isolated by COVID-19 with those willing to provide help. The app was then modified in consultation with Ukrainian refugees to connect volunteers with people affected by the war. Support their effort to sustain the growing demand for the app. Any excess funds will be transferred to the National Bank of Ukraine.
LINGVO Volunteers is a group of volunteer interpreters who translate household, legal, and medical documents for Ukrainian refugees and run a hotline for live interpretation over the phone. With very modest additional support, they can offer the hotline free for refugees worldwide.
Black is Polish is an anti-racist educational initiative in Poland. It has become part of a collective effort to help Black and Brown refugees facing additional traumatizing experiences of discrimination and racism when fleeing Ukraine. Donations help them provide transportation, accommodation, legal advice, psychological help, translation, information, and material aid to displaced people of color.
Unchain Fund is a Ukrainian project facilitating direct humanitarian assistance to people by means of cryptocurrency. The project accepts donations in 14 blockchain currencies and distributes them directly to families, volunteers, organizations, and medical institutions in Ukraine, with a focus on the areas where hostilities are most intense.
Initiatives to help Ukraine are growing quickly, so we will add them to this list as we discover them — keep checking back!
Photo by Egor Lyfar on Unsplash