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Blog < Helping Ukraine

Helping Ukraine

Like so many over recent days I have been moved by the extraordinary events in Ukraine. I had the pleasure of spending time there in 2019 travelling to Chernobyl, Kiev, Lviv and Ivano Frankivsk. The train from Kiev to Lviv is one of the great train journeys of the world in normal times. Ukraine is a sophisticated and modern European country with a wonderful people. GRID have also been blessed that its very first borrower was the amazing Ukrainian owner of the Art of Coffee, Ruslan Mocharsky. Seeing the pictures of people fleeing reminds me of my time working in GOAL during humanitarian crises. Having seen the impact of conflict and disaster in Uganda, Bosnia and Haiti there are some reflections that I thought are worth sharing:

  • Once conflict breaks out it is a long way back – the Ukrainian people are going to need our help for decades to come
  • If you can’t help during this emergency phase there will be a longer recovery phase that Ukraine will need your help with – this is as important as the emergency phase
  • Having worked with an amazing professional humanitarian organisation (GOAL) for 4 years please remember that these organisations can get maximum impact from every euro you contribute. Renting properties in Kiev on Air BnB is untargeted help in that we have no idea which landlords need help and which don’t. I know from our time in Haiti that many of the landlords disappeared to Miami and were getting paid handsomely by NGO’s to rent their houses and offices. Also donating goods can cause logistical issues unless its channelled through a professional humanitarian organisation. One of the big challenges in crisis/disaster management is ‘help congestion’ i.e. too many people/varying organisation trying to help at the same time without appropriate coordination
  • Try to give regularly as opposed to one-off – as long as the conflict is ongoing help is needed on a continuous basis so supporting with a small amount on a consistent basis allows organisations to plan and maintain service levels throughout the crises
  • We cannot over-estimate the trauma that the Ukrainian people are going through and the long-term impact that this will have – if there are psychologists and counsellors out there who can provide remote support please do.

As a father and husband seeing Ukrainian men leave their wives and children on buses and trains to then turn around and go and fight for their country is heart-breaking. You can’t help but put yourself in their shoes. On behalf of GRID I will be making a donation to GOAL and the Irish Red Cross every month to help a proud people get through this horror.