How to Help Ukraine Now
Feel powerless about the situation in Ukraine? Here’s what you can do right now.
Posted March 4, 2022 | Reviewed by Gary Drevitch
- Witnessing the Russian invasion of Ukraine (human casualties and the destruction of culturally rich landscapes) can be traumatizing.
- History has taught the power individuals can have to affect millions.
- The fastest way to help during this catastrophe is through monetary donations to reputable agencies.
A young American man, distraught about the invasion of Ukraine by Russia, contacted us yesterday and asked in despair, “What can one person do to help this situation? I’m too far away to do anything effective. I’m not a wealthy person. I feel powerless!” (As an aside, it’s our experience that if one person feels strong enough to take the time to reach out to us, there are many others feeling the same way.)
Invasion in real time
Underscoring the distress and terror of the current state of the world is the fact that an invasion of a peaceful, democratic nation, Ukraine, by the far stronger Russian military led by a dictator posing as a duly-elected president is taking place in real time right in front of our eyes. Like the young person mentioned above, we watch in heart- and gut-wrenching horror as innocent people, including children, are wounded or killed; To date, a million have been displaced, forced to leave their homes to seek refuge in neighboring nations west and south. We witness historic, culturally-rich structures destroyed by missiles and bombs while apartment buildings, medical facilities, schools, and universities are also razed.
This technique of bullying and threatening, combined with the use of propaganda, disinformation, and finally military might to try to reclaim a free nation that was once, reluctantly, part of the former Soviet Union has become the playbook for Putin's Russia. Specifically targeting civilians to demoralize resistance is a cruel psychological strategy, but it’s not new. In the late 1990s, Russia invaded Chechnya under the guise of fighting terrorism, and in 2014 when it invaded and annexed Crimea, which had been part of Ukraine. But at this moment, as dictators seem emboldened by a worldwide resurgence of far-right movements, the free world is saying no to autocracy.
The Power of One
History has taught us the immense power one person can have to affect million, for good or for evil. We’ve seen it in leaders such as Washington and Lincoln as they championed freedom for their fellow citizens. And now, we see it in Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who is again proving that one person can empower others to stand up for freedom, and for what is right and just.
As we told the young man, although he may feel he is powerless, he isn’t. He has freedom now, and the ability to make choices, and therein lies true power.
What can you do?
While it’s up to nations and their leaders to stop wars, each of us as individuals and communities can unify and help each other during catastrophic times. By focusing on the expanding humanitarian crisis, there are ways we can do good for others, and perhaps in a small way feel as though we’re making a difference.
So let’s consider giving to an organization that is helping Ukraine and its neighboring countries receiving desperate refugees, like Poland, Hungary, Moldova, Slovakia, and Romania. No amount is too small. The power of your gift will be added to thousands, perhaps millions of others and perhaps make life a little easier for Ukrainians during unimaginably devastating times.
With the help of historian Timothy Snyder and our friends at NPR, we’ve gathered a list of vetted organizations that will gratefully accept your gifts:
- Doctors Without Borders (Médecins Sans Frontieres) is setting up emergency response activities in Ukraine and dispatching teams to Poland, Moldova, Hungary, Romania, and Slovakia. Teams are also ready to respond in Russia and Belarus.
- The International Committee of the Red Cross is supporting the work of the Ukrainian Red Cross and helps people affected by the conflict.
- The International Medical Corps. This global nonprofit has been delivering primary health care and mental health services in eastern Ukraine since 2014, and is raising funds to expand these services for Ukrainians affected by this current conflict.
- Return Alive Foundation. This NGO arranges life-saving equipment for Ukrainian soldiers and command.
- Save the Children. This London-based organization helps deliver lifesaving aid to children in Ukraine and around the world.
- United Help Ukraine provides medical aid and humanitarian relief for the Ukrainian people.
- The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) supports health, nutrition, education, safe drinking water, sanitation, and protection for children and families caught in the conflict.
- The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) provides emergency assistance to families in Ukraine.
- World Central Kitchen provides fresh meals to Ukrainians fleeing home as well as those who remain in the country.