Solution 16:40 11 Nov 2022

Helping the Kherson region: how volunteers fundraise for essentials and what else can be done?

Even now, when events in the southern direction are developing very quickly, the people of Kherson and the residents of the region need help.

What is the problem?

Many Kherson region families now remain under occupation. In this region, people are in an extremely difficult situation due to food and medicine high prices, and the lack of benefits and salaries. Humanitarian organizations do not work here, and volunteers who go to the occupied territories at their own peril and risk are simply unable to reach most areas.

Why didn't these families leave? The reasons are different: health, old relatives who need constant care, and lack of money to travel. And now it is almost impossible to get to Ukraine-controlled territories — the occupiers are introducing passes, blocking the roads, preparing for defense, and trying to make people a "human shield." And although the events in the southern direction are now developing very quickly, the residents of Kherson Oblast still need help. And, as the experience of the territories of Kharkiv and Kyiv regions liberated from the occupiers has shown, it will be needed even after de-occupation.

What is the solution?

Currently, almost the only way to help those currently under occupation is through financial assistance. You can support the families of the temporarily occupied part of the Kherson region only by transferring money on the card, which people then convert to cash to buy the most necessary things — food, medicine, and hygiene products.

An important financial assistance project for families with children in the occupied territories is implemented by the Kherson Community Fund "Zahyst." The fund collects money for monetary assistance to families of the temporarily occupied Kherson Oblast — since the beginning of the war, this fund has already helped more than 1,000 families!

In this good cause, Ukrainians help him with donations, as well as other public organizations that take care of the humanitarian problems of people during the war.

And in October, to support the "Zahyst" fund, the National Network of Local Philanthropy Development "Philanthropy" organized the charity event "Youth for the Children of Kherson Oblast" at the fair in Stryi (Lviv Oblast), where they were able to raise additional funds for the families of those forced to live under occupation.

How does it work?

"Philanthropy" is a team of young people who, at the beginning of a full-scale war, definitely understood for themselves that they could not just sit at home. The only way out for them was to work for Ukraine's victory within the framework of their own knowledge, skills, and capabilities. Social and humanitarian projects became a tool for this. One of them is a charity fair in Stryi, Lviv region.

On October 29, the "Philanthropy" team held a conference of Youth Banks Initiatives of Ukraine for young teams from Kyiv, Mykolaiv, Khmelnytskyi, and Vinnytsia regions. At the conference, the experience was exchanged regarding the organization of charity events. By coincidence, the festival "Stryi OrganicFest" was held simultaneously, which the "Ridnia" community foundation has been organizing for 16 years.

The festival organizers invited the youth of "Philanthropy" to participate in the fair. And the Youth Banks of Initiatives launched the campaign "Youth for the Children of Kherson Oblast," the goal of which was to collect 22,000 hryvnias to help 10 families remaining under occupation. The event initiators in the city of Stryi planned to send all the collected funds to the "Zahyst" Community Fund of the city of Kherson.

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Young people sold handicrafts — paintings, quilts, handmade bags, knitted toys, and much more. They were created in different parts of Ukraine by teams of community foundations that are part of the National Network of Local Philanthropy.

In addition, workshops on weaving African braids were held:

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Visitors to the fair also learned how to paint a sycamore toy, declared a national heritage of Ukraine:

"Many people simply donated because they understood that together we are the force," says Anastasiya Korytska, the National Network of Local Philanthropy Development "Philanthropy" representative.

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According to her, the young visitors were so interested that on their own initiative, they took a collection box and went to communicate with other guests of the fair to attract more funds to help the Kherson region.

In total, volunteers collected UAH 7,726 online and UAH 4,673 at the festival itself. The "Ridnya" Foundation doubled the amount collected, and another foundation — the Cifers Foundation — offered to double the already doubled amount once again. Thus, the collection result was quadrupled. All funds were transferred to the Kherson community fund "Zahyst" for financial assistance to dozens of families in the occupied Kherson region ("Zahyst" transfers UAH 2,200 for each application to the bank cards of the region's residents).

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"We were very grateful for the help of the "Ridnya" Community Foundation, which helped organize the place and collection during their fair," says Darya Rybalchenko, head of the "Philanthropy" board. In 2014, she learned from her own experience what the occupation is when there is no one to turn to for help: "All you can count on in such a situation is your own strength. It is considered great luck if you have a garden where you can grow something to ensure at least a minimal livelihood. In most cases, a person has to survive the entire occupation because prices increase several times, forcing them to spend all their savings. At the same time, of course, many other negative factors are taking place."

Darya Rybalchenko emphasizes: monetary aid to the occupied territories is a chance to help people who are in places where it is very difficult to live now. Support them as much as possible. Charitable fund-raising events are an opportunity to present people under occupation with support from all of Ukraine to demonstrate that they are not forgotten, and they are not alone. "We remember them and work for their liberation from the occupation. The financial aid we collected is the least we, as volunteers, can do in such a difficult time for them," the volunteer shares.

More useful solutions!

How to help Kherson region's residents?

1. How to help the Kherson Community Foundation "Zahyst":

  • You can find out more about assistance options on the Fund's website. Today, every contribution saves the lives of children of the Kherson region.
  • In addition, you can help organize fund-raising events, as the National Network of Local Philanthropy Development "Philanthropy" did.
  • Repost the foundation's posts — informational support is no less important.
  • Spread information about the fund where people can see it: social networks, work chats, and donor organizations.

Those in occupation who need help should write an application to the fund's email. You need to send an application letter, documents, and bank details. After the verification by the "Zahyst" Foundation team and confirmation of the possibility of receiving funds, the Kherson Community Foundation "Zahyst" provides families with financial support in the amount of UAH 2,200. Financial assistance is sent to the family's bank card.

2. If you want to join the Youth Bank Initiatives, write to the "Philantropy" work email. The National Network of Local Philanthropy Development needs volunteers who will work with social networks, media presence, translation, writing grant applications, and be involved in the work of humanitarian headquarters on the ground.

3. The "Support Kherson" charity fund, whose volunteer activity began from the first days of Kherson's occupation, also helps the residents of the Kherson region.

  • They handed over 210 tons of food and 40 tons of hygiene products to the already de-occupied territories of the Kherson region.
  • 90 tons of drinking water — to those settlements where water supply networks are damaged.
  • 1.5 tons of medicines and dressing materials — to the Kherson region de-occupied communities and the temporarily occupied territory.

The fund continues its work. More information on how to help the fund can be found at the link.

4. "ADRA Ukraine" is a charitable organization that is part of the worldwide network of the Adventist Relief and Development Agency. The main task of ADRA is to support people in need and the most vulnerable segments of the population, improving their lives and making them more active and successful in overcoming difficult life situations. Here they help displaced people and people living in temporarily occupied territories — they can receive monetary and food aid. See the link above for details.

5. "Cultural Hub" is a public organization engaged in popularizing Ukrainian culture and art, educational and cultural, and artistic activities. Since the beginning of the full-scale russia's invasion, it has been temporarily requalified as a humanitarian headquarters. To get help, you need to fill out a short Google form and wait for volunteer feedback.


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