Our volunteering activities and response to the escalation of the Russian invasion of Ukraine
Volunteering activities have always been embedded in ULA’s regular formation (education) program. The culture of volunteering is literally in the veins of ULA’s students and the team. Escalation of the Russian invasion of Ukraine over the period after February 24, 2022, additionally revealed the ULA’s existing volunteering potential.
Like millions of Ukrainians, the team and the students joined the nation-wide volunteering efforts.
ULA community members’ individual initiatives:
Support to the Ukrainian Armed Forces through:
- food provision;
- producing camouflage nests;
- purchasing ammunition, medicine and other needful materials.
Support to civilians through:
- collecting and delivery of humanitarian aid to the internally displaced persons and the civilians suffering from the war on sites, including those with special needs disable and elderly;
- provision of legal consultations to the refugees and internally displaced persons.
Individual initiatives remain on the agenda and carry on.
We also felt the need for volunteering streamlining and focusing on the long-term implementation and impact as an organization. Hence, the following initiatives were launched and the results were generated.
In early March 2022, in response to the war in Ukraine, ULA joined the nation-wide volunteering movement via scaling up its existing volunteering activities and launching One Heart, civil emergency service, that aims to unite the efforts of people who help save lives of civilian people, especially kids, elderly people, women, supply hospitals, the Ukrainian military, etc.
Within One Heart, we engage ULA, authorities, other NGOs, movements and initiatives, as well as individual volunteers. The mission of One Heart is to help linking the existing demands and supplies effectively, addressing social and humanitarian issues, to support the invincible spirit of society and the Armed Forces of Ukraine, and to unite like-minded people.
ULA was assisted by its Israeli long-standing friends and partners experienced in rolling-out a similar large-scale volunteer movement in their home country.
The groups from Israel regularly visit the ULA and the partnering teams to support them in building-up the initiative, sharing hands-on expertise and experience, as well as giving a hand in implementing the actual initiatives on sites.
They provide considerable assistance within the cross-border activities for the Ukrainian IDPs predominantly on the Polish side of the border, focusing on basic needs and providing psychological support.
Israeli colleagues also run self-defense and teamwork master classes for the ULA team and students. They help to reflect on war, everyone’s personal contribution and readiness to work in the long run and remain a powerful movement to help the country.
The “One Heart” response focuses on the following primary areas:
Volunteers’ support to the Ukrainians forced to temporarily leave the country on the crossing points on both sides of the border (provision of food, drinks, moral and psychological support, consultations, looking after children and elderly etc.).
Support of evacuation of Ukrainian internally displaced persons:
- evacuation and transportation of women, children, and elderly, provision of food essentials, medical supplies and overall hospitality.
Education and support activities:
- Basic Life Support training for trainers;
- training for emergency response teams and territorial defense;
- training for civilians;
- youth development programs and volunteers’ coordination;
- youth and kids activities targeting internally displaces persons;
- psychological support.
Equipping shelters with supplies that raise the spirit of Ukrainians and help with the needs of kids in particular:
- shelter kits that’ll contain symbols of Ukraine state, lights, board games;
- sets for kids with supplies for activities.
Cyber and information forces: raising awareness of the war among international community and Russian inhabitants of the cyberspace:
- Obiznani (Aware) project by ULA Kharkiv (described below);
- Involving international community;
- Reaching out to Internet users.
ULA volunteer efforts are currently financed by the following donors:
- Canada Ukraine Foundation – USD 40,000 (supplies for volunteer activities, branding);
- USAID/PACT – USD 30,000 (communication campaign and external visibility within One Heart initiative);
- several grant applications are pending (e.g. IREX, UNITY).
The overall project budget equals USD 450,000 with the fundraising efforts continuing.