Female Ukrainian geoscientist refugee funds

Many Ukrainian female geologists have escaped the violence in Ukraine to nearby Poland and other countries, some with children, parents, and siblings. Most have left their spouses, brothers, fathers, and other male friends behind fighting the Russian invasion. All are needing support to sustain them as they look for work, housing, schools, medical help, etc. Some are trying to send medical equipment, clothes, equipment, etc to their men left behind.
Proceeds from this GoFundMe will go directly to the women identified as geologist refugees in Poland, to begin with, and others as they are identified. At this time, ten women have been identified with these needs.
Polish geoscientist, Dr. Piotr Krzywiec, with the Institute of Geological Sciences in Warsaw, is on the ground identifying and coordinating contact with these refugees. Ms. Robbie Gries is in Denver, Colorado, and will coordinate the transfer of funding to these geologists/geoscientists.
Robbie is a former president of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists and visited Ukraine and Poland during her presidential term. Past presidents, Randi Martinsen and Denise Cox are also strongly and financially supporting this effort as well as current president, Gretchen Gillis.

April 9, 2022 update from Robbie:

We have heard from several of the women we are tracking and hoping to help.  One has made it to Gdansk, Poland and lives in  temporary refugee center with her disabled daughter.  The child needs a special diet.  Another had a grueling journey by train standing all the way from Kyiv to Poland...traveling with her retired mother (also a geologist) and now trying to make a life there. Several use their spare time helping other refugees. 

April 13, 2022 update

One of our female geologists writes that they moved to western Ukraine from Kyiv and are all living in crowded quarters with relatives. Any funding will be used for 1. personal needs of food, and clothes (they did not know how long they would be gone and did not bring seasonal clothing). They will also spend on medicine, car fuel, household items.  She and her husband both have not received a salary since January. They are looking for work.  They are also working with other refugees and would use some funds to help them resettle.  If funding allows, they will send necessities to fighters in the eastern part of the country.  Some other items she mentioned having a need for is a scanner to listen to radio frequencies, weatherproof periscopes, small solar panels for recharging devices, and water filters. The needs are great. 

Our contributions will make a difference. 

April 18, 2022

Last week I started sending funds, small amounts at first, via Western Union.  I am in contact with them to see how these first 6 women are able to access the funds.  As soon as I hear from them, I will send them larger amounts that can make a difference in their situation.  Meantime, Piotr has identified another ten.  I am still gathering data on three that he introduced to me last week.  

My heart breaks for Mariupol and eastern Ukraine right now, and it feels good to be able to do something.  

April 20, 2022

Our recipients are beginning to receive the initial funds that we are sending .  I have CVs and information for 4 additional women who need our assistance and am processing them now.  

 One woman says "On February 24, 2022, at 5:10 am, when the connection with the military actions in Kharkiv (Ukraine) my daughter (9 years old) and I left for the city of Smila (Ukraine). March 6, 2022 arrived in Poland (Szczawnica). Now I am looking for a job and I conduct distance learning with students from Ukraine." 

Another note, "Unfortunately, due to the military aggression of the Russian Federation, my life changed forever. After 9 days in a bomb shelter, my three children and I were forced to flee to a safe place on March 4, 2022. The Polish Geological Institute in Warsaw became such a place for me and my children.  I strongly believe that everything will end soon and Ukraine will win. And my children will be able to again see their father, and I, my husband."

And another, "On February 24, 2022, at 5:10 am, when the connection with the military actions in Kharkiv (Ukraine) my daughter and I left for the city of Smila (Ukraine). March 6, 2022 we arrived in Poland (Szczawnica). Now I am looking for a job and I conduct distance learning with students from Ukraine. Mom and brother stayed in Kharkiv. My brother, still there, works as a lifeguard and fireman. I am divorced and have a daughter Karolina (9 years old). In Poland, she goes to school. I have temporary housing."

April 21

A note from one of our recipients, " Got the money, and a little shocked. I am amazed at how much the world, the United States, geologists and you in particular support Ukrainians.  I can't describe in words my words of thanks to you.  Sincere thanks to you and everyone who joined the financial aid.  You helped me and my children a lot!  Sincerely, Tetiana T."

April 22

"Thank you very much for your contribution and financial support!  My family is grateful to all geologists who sent these funds!" Sincerely, Yulia

"I want to thank you and other fellow geologists for helping me.  You have no idea how warm our hearts are for your support.  When in a difficult moment, help comes from strangers from a distant country.  This helps me to believe in the future and in the victory of Ukraine.  When we know that there are friends nearby, we become stronger. On Sunday we celebrate Easter and thanks to you we will have a festive dish :)"  Anna

April 26

By the end of this week I will have provided 12 refugees with $1000 each.  Most are in Poland, one in Spain and one in Sweden.  As we go into the third month of this insane war, I will begin to send another similar amount to the women in the program so far as well as a few newly identified refugees.  As you do the math, you can see that what we have raised thus far would not cover all of that funding, however, we have had a direct contribution to the fund from a gentleman in Eureka, Kansas of $10,000 and this will supply us most of the funding for the second round. 

Katya says, "I received funds today. I am very grateful to you and the geologists in the USA. You have a big heart!"

From Tatiana, "Today I received money. I'm grateful to each person for the help. Thanks a lot."

Anna writes, "I got my second transfer today.  Thank you very much.  Tell other geologists that I am grateful to you all for such kind support.  I rode into the unknown, not knowing what and how it would be. But with such care from you, from the polish colleagues, I feel much calmer. Thank you."

April 27

From Olga, "Since 2008, we have lived in the city of Bucha, Kyiv region. We had a small apartment, later we earned a large apartment and only six months ago we moved. In our country, new housing is expensive and we need to work hard.
 We have a daughter Sofia, 11 years old. She studied at a local school, also she studied modern dance and English. 
We lived very happily, we were successful people in our work, our city was very beautiful and comfortable, we did our job and had many plans for the future....My daughter dreams of visiting New York and London. 

On February 24, Russia destroyed our lives and plans, separated me from my husband and my daughter from her father. 
My sister, her husband and daughter and my father live in Kharkov. In Kharkov bombs fall every day, people die. Perhaps I will never see them again.

 It is impossible to realize that in the 21st century there is such a terrible war in Europe. 
On March 5, 2022, my husband and my daughter walked more than 15 kilometers on foot to get out and escape from Bucha!!. It was very dangerous. It was a miracle that we weren't killed. Many were killed as they tried to get out. More people were killed while the Russians were in Bucha. I think you know about this... The future instills so far only anxiety and pain. Russian propaganda is monstrous, they have fueled hatred for Ukraine and we now hate Russians too.  To tell the truth, the Russians will not stop, they hate America and the war in Ukraine is their part of the war with America." 

May 2: 
At the first day of the war we didn`t have to opportunity to leave Kyiv because of horrible traffic jams. First day and night of war we spend in the metro station, we couldn`t believe that Kyiv, the central city of our country, can be bombed, but, unfortunately it happened. I live in Kyiv, 200 meters from  The Kyiv TV Tower. It is a 385 m-high (1,263 ft) – higher than the The Eiffel Tower. It was bombed a few days after I left my home. At the second day I, with my sister (thank God we have a car!), left Kyiv and go to our parents (they are old, 66 years). They live at small town in Zhytomyr region, town is named Korosten, that is 200 km from Kyiv, in the side of Poland. The road was scary – then we got in the car – sirens started, we were afraid to be bombed in the road. During the road we change the route several times – we planned to throw our ordinary route – Gostomel, Irpin, Bucha, Borodyanka, and after these towns there is big track to Korosten. But during the road we got a call our parents – they said that a landing party of enemy troops was already landing in Gostomel.  from must go around the Gostomel town. On the road, we found detours so as not to encounter enemy troops. Halfway through, we learned that a military unit in my hometown was being bombed, and we had to travel at high speed to our parents. Quickly gathering our parents, we headed for Poland. There was also alarm in the cities along the way, and we kept a close eye on the news that made it safer to get to the cities. We spent three nights and 4 days in a traffic jam on the border with Poland without getting up from the wheel of a car. It was a very difficult road, but I am very glad that we are all safe and sound. The day after my parents left their apartment, it turned out that a sabotage group had mined an apartment upstairs above my parents. They wanted to blow up a house in the yard of which the city's heating network is located.
A large railway junction passes through Korosten, connecting Kyiv and Lviv. Railways, railway depots, houses near the railway were bombed many times. Also due to the fact that near the railway in Korosten there were many oil depots (5 pieces), now they are all destroyed by enemy missiles. There is a Soviet bomb shelter in the central park of Korosten. Civilians were hiding there. It was hit by several rockets and many people were injured. Fortunately, no one was killed in the bomb shelter then. Many enemy drones were shot down over Korosten, and several enemy planes were shot down near Korosten. The military base was bombed several more times, ammunition was hit, and many of our guys died there.
Many guys younger than me, whom I knew from Korosten, have already died at the front.
It is too early for us to return home, because no one knows where the rocket will land today.
In Ukraine, I worked as a geologist at my father's company - he is a great specialist with 40 years of experience. We are now in Poland with our family and living on our own. My mother is ill, she had to have back surgery after the injury, but now there is no such possibility. Parents will not be hired in Poland because they are elderly. My sister and I help them as much as we can. It is difficult for a girl to find a job as a geologist in Poland, especially without knowledge of the Polish language. The sister works remotely on her old job from Ukraine - in an insurance company. I [can make]small earnings via the Internet. I really want to return home, my heart is bleeding for our people, for our defenders, for Mariupol. There is a feeling that they just want to destroy us." Valentina

May 3

The Denver International Petroleum Society (DIPS) today donated $5000 towards this effort.  What an amazing way for geoscientists to join hands with colleagues in need across the globe.  I am so happy with their generosity and thoughtfulness.  
May 4, one of many responses to receipts:

 "Today I received the second part of the financial aid from your charity project, I am very grateful to everyone for their support.  This will help me adapt to new conditions in another country.   I [hope there will never be] a situation in your life when you need to suddenly leave your home and go somewhere, parting with your family and friends. 
 May you always have a peaceful sky and a life without war.
 Thank you colleagues-geologists!  Help received in difficult times is never forgotten" Hanna

May 4, also. Heart rending. 

"In 2005, my husband died with whom we lived and worked together hand in hand all our lives. Our common investment in oil and gas geology with him lasted more than 60 years. We raised 4 children and 7 grandchildren, 5 of which he never saw.

At the time of the start of the military aggression against Ukraine on February 24, 2022, I lived with my son, my daughter and her 3 children in the village of Krasnokutsk, Kharkov region. When air raids began and shelling of nearby settlements such as Kharkov (90 km), Akhtyrka (40 km) and there was a siren, we went down to the basement of our house and sat there for a long time until we received the news about the end of the air raid alarm.

So we hid until March 2. During this period, no institutions worked in the village, and when the food was already [gone], my daughter and her children decided to go to my second daughter in Poltava, and my son stayed to defend Ukraine. But in Poltava there was also the same situation: we had to constantly go down to the basement and wait there until there was an air raid. After the shell hit the neighboring house, we decided to take the evacuation train from Poltava to Lvov, and then to Poland. It was a very difficult decision for all of us.

But since my husband died and my daughters have no husbands (divorced) and we were with children, we decided that no one would protect us and it was very dangerous to stay. Therefore, on March 2, 2022, we all (3 women and 5 children) went to the railway station and began to wait for the evacuation train there. The time when the train arrives was not indicated to us, we were told that they were afraid that they would bomb and therefore they told us to just wait on the platform. But there were so many people who wanted to leave that when the train arrived, a terrible panic and crush began: everyone wanted to get on the train. It so happened that me and my daughters with 3 children were pushed into the car, and two children were pushed out of the train.

Since the train immediately went, it was only then that we saw that the children were running after the train and we could not do anything. The train went non-stop to Kyiv. It was horror and shock!! But there were police on the platform and they saw how the children ran after the train and they took them away and they called us, as we sewed pieces of fabric on each jacket with their names and our phone numbers.

The police reassured us and said that there would be another recovery train on which they would put the children. We had no choice and we agreed. All this time we remained in telephone contact and reassured each other that we would get off our train and wait for them in Kyiv. When our train was approaching the railway station in Kyiv, the bombing began. Our conductor shouted for us all to lie down on the floor, the lights were turned off in the train and the driver decided to go without stopping in Kyiv. We just rushed through Kyiv. For two hours we lay on the floor of the car with no light and with the phones turned off and could not call the children.

So we didn't meet in Kyiv but stayed alive and still traveled by different trains to Lvov. It was a difficult trip, the train was crowded with people: only women and children. We sat and slept right on the floor. The train was traveling at night and at low speed. They were afraid that if they bombed the railway, the driver would have time to slow down. So we got to Lvov. But when we got off this train, they immediately lined us up in a column and began to board another train that was going to Poland. We immediately said that we would be waiting for the children, but the police on the platform told us that we could not get off the convoy and had to get on the train now and they would meet the children and they would be put to us. There were so many people that we were simply not allowed to leave the column and were literally pushed into the train. It turned out that the train to which our children were traveling was late and the driver did not wait and went to Poland across the Shegeni border. This was the next horror for us.

But apparently God was near and helped us, because at the station the children from the train were met by the police and put on the next train to Poland. We constantly talked to them on the phone and knew how things were, but we were still very scared!!

The rail from Lviv to Przemysl is a distance of 100 km and we rode for 12 hours. We did not know what was happening and why we were standing still, then we moved a little, then again the train stopped and stopped for a long time. The windows were all curtained and it was impossible to turn on the telephones and the lights were turned off in the train. When we nevertheless reached Poland and crossed the border, we were allowed to turn on the phones, we called the children and were horrified to find out that they were still on the train, but they were being taken to another Polish border, Dorogusk. This is a distance of 230 km from us. But we were thankful that children are on the territory of Poland and are safe; it gave us strength!

Our acquaintances from the Institute of Oil and Gas in Krakow found out that we had arrived in Poland and immediately offered us help and retrieved our children from the border by bus and then brought them to Przemysl for us. What a joy it was to be together again! Alive! Safe!

We were then taken by bus to Krakow and settled in the Felix Hotel. We had nothing with us, only documents. No things, nothing! Just what we were wearing. But we were just happy that we were able to leave! But the way people met us in Poland was so amazing and wonderful that I can’t help but say about it! We were treated with such love and understanding! People gave us everything we needed: food, clothes and toys for children and medicines, since the road was hard and it was very cold, we caught a cold. But it was nothing compared to the horror that we experienced!

Thank you to all people around the world for your help, for your compassion, and for your warmth and care!

We don’t know when and how it will all end, we don’t know if we can go back to our home and whether our house will be whole, but we believe that God will not leave us!" Katerina 

May 5 update, here are some appreciations. 

 "I received funds today. I am very grateful to you and the geologists in the USA. You have a big heart!" Kateryna

"Got the money, and a little shocked. I am amazed at how much the world, the United States, geologists and you in particular support Ukrainians.  I can't describe in words my words of thanks to you.  Sincere thanks to you and everyone who joined the financial aid.  You helped me and my children a lot!" Tetiana

"Thank you very much. Tell other geologists that I am grateful to you all for such kind support. I rode into the unknown, not knowing what and how it would be. But with such care from you, from the Polish colleagues, I feel much calmer." Anna

"Good afternoon! Today I received a money order. I'm overwhelmed with emotions! I will be able to buy essentials (underwear, shoes), now we have the opportunity to buy fresh vegetables and fruits, my daughter dreams of a book and much more!! It is impossible to convey how hard it was to suddenly leave your home, to flee to another country with one backpack. We express our sincere and heartfelt gratitude for your assistance. In addition to financial assistance, we are grateful for the huge strong support in difficult times. It inspires us and gives us strength to believe in Victory!! Your help is greatly appreciated and will never be forgotten. The world rests on caring people who are always ready to help and provide support. You spared no time and effort for us, and I sincerely thank you and the American people for this. I wish you good health, peace over your head  and happiness in every new day."  Yuliia

    • $500 
    • 8 d
  • Christy Reed
    • $1,000 
    • 10 d
  • Dave Eby
    • $500 
    • 11 d
  • Ray Henkel
    • $1,000 
    • 14 d
  • Anonymous
    • $250 
    • 28 d
See all


Robbie (Ruth Roberta) Gries
Denver, CO

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