My name is Joseph. I have been living and working, full-time, in Ukraine since 2014. Though mostly self-funded, this fundraiser began almost two years ago and has collected over USD $30,000 in U.S. donations, along with over 6 tons of medical supplies and equipment, hygiene products, desks for students, school supplies, water filtration kits, solar generators, and communications equipment. It has also allowed us to pay a small stipend to teachers that the ongoing conflict has displaced.
In addition to donations from the U.S., generous private and corporate donations from Germany, Poland, and the UK make up over 85% of the aid we have distributed since the beginning of the war.
As a grassroots organization, our operation in Ukraine is staffed with local and expat personnel. We're American, Canadian, Polish, German, South African, and of course Ukrainian volunteers......100% of all donations go to those in need.
The focus of our work is supporting Internally Displaced People (IDPs), people that have been forced from their homes and cities but do not have refugee status. Through programs like "KEEPING THE KID'S LEARNING", our teams offer daily social support, in addition to basic medical and dental care, teacher support, and safe places to stay warm. In the past year, we have delivered solar generators, water filtration kits, power banks, medicines, wound care supplies, medical equipment, and more throughout Ukraine.
In addition to the "Keeping The Kids Learning" program with have installed small micro-networks of HAM Radio equipment in rural areas for emergency, non-military use. These networks use solar power generators and have proven valuable for multiple medical aid groups (we are not territorial in our efforts).
We also established a program of volunteers that help repair homes damaged in the conflict. Covering broken windows, doors, and roofs with plastics and repairing wood stove pipe and basic electric. This past winter we were very busy.
Keeping equipment such as generators operational is another important aspect to our work. Repairing existing equipment is just as important as delivering new units -so we are constantly scavenging for parts and supplies as well as training locals to fix "stuff".
One of our American volunteers was trained as a radio technician in the U.S. Army. In a previous life I was a BioMedical Equipment Engineer for Construction Projects and Field Operations. I also served as a Global Systems Power Engineer for Kyocera Solar.
Our team has decades of expertise in critical fields.
As of 01 July 2023 over 700 schools have been destroyed and over 1000 damaged in the year-long war.
In total, more than 750,000 children currently face limited access to education at the beginning of the 2023 school year.
There are over 8 million internally displaced people (IDPs) in Ukraine, primarily women and children. It is estimated that there are over 10 million refugees - people that have left the country.
We know that children are affected by disruptions in social interaction and long-term isolation in multiple ways. Cognitive skills are impacted, as is behavior, and essential abilities such as speaking and problem-solving are negatively impacted. The effects of war - loss or separation from family and friends, displacement in the community, fear and hopelessness must be mitigated during the conflict. We need to do all we can to keep their minds active with positives, to foster interaction and a sense of "normal" (even a small one). Just a couple of hours of respite a day can be a massive gift to these innocent kids, their parents, and their future.
We continue to raise money to purchase computers, books, and supplies. In addition, our operation has established eighteen learning centers in Lviv, Chernihiv, Ternopil, Rivne, and other locations, for children and young adults displaced by the conflict.
I am already making trips to deliver medicines to the region and have connected with many teachers ready to devote the necessary time and energy. The number of children being forced to move is growing daily, and I know what I am going to do is a drop in the bucket - but dozens of others are doing it, and hopefully, in the months to come it will grow. All donated funds will go to purchase equipment and supplies - 100%.
Thank you for reading my story. Please donate if you can.