As Russia’s war against Ukraine rages on and thousands of people are forced from their homes, it’s easy to feel powerless, but there are ways we can all stand in solidarity with Ukraine and make a difference to those who have had to leave everything behind.
Here are 8 ways you can support Ukrainian refugees:
1) Make a donation to a trusted organisation already working in Ukraine. Some suggestions:
- The Disaster Emergency Committee are working with their local partners to provide food, water, shelter and medical assistance. The UK Government will match fund up to £20 million donated by the public.
- The UNHCR Refugee Agency emergency appeal to help ensure that Ukrainians forced to flee their homes are sheltered and safe.
- The Red Cross have established a Ukraine Crisis Appeal to provide food, water, first aid, medicine, warm clothes, and shelter.
British-Ukrainian Aid – supports people suffering from the war and humanitarian crisis in Ukraine by aligning UK and Ukrainian efforts.
- The Kyiv Independent needs support to continue reporting on the ground from Ukraine.
The Ukrainian Institute in London has a good list of local groups who can get your donations to where they’re needed most. See here.
A note on clothes donation collections: Many UK organisations are collecting clothing donations, we will share these on Twitter when asked to. It is worth bearing in mind that large quantities of clothing and other essential needs are already being provided by countries neighbouring Ukraine, and so shipping similar items from the UK may be expensive, time consuming and not always necessary. Cash donations are usually more helpful to groups on the ground.
2) Send an email to your MP urging them to call on the UK government to cut the red tape and do everything they can to support people forced to flee Ukraine. This means taking a stand against the cruel Anti-Refugee Bill which will see Ukrainian refugees punished for seeking safety in the UK if they arrive without proper permissions. You can use the Refugee Action’s template, it only takes 30 seconds. You may wish to consider amending the template letter to call for the waiver of visa requirements altogether. Also if you have the time we recommend you adapt the letter further to make it personalised; it is important to explain level of support from across your community i.e. number of Schools of Sanctuary etc.
3) Sign a petition. Tell the UK Government to help Ukrainian Refugees. Sign here.
4) Join a local demonstration or vigil. We will share local events on our Twitter account, follow us to keep up to date.
5) Take sanctuary for yourself – the news can be scary and overwhelming. Breath deeply, take breaks from reading updates, and spend more time doing the things that make you feel safe.
6) Get your news from a reputable source. Alongside the main UK news orgs, follow Ukrainian English-language outlets The Kyiv Independent and The New Voice of Ukraine, or Ukraine-based journalists: Olga Tokariuk, Christopher Miller, Nika Melkozerova, Illia Ponomarenko (and many others!).
7) Show solidarity to all refugees. It is heartening to see so many people across all stratas of our society stand up for the people of Ukraine, but your race or skin colour should never determine what support you receive. Politicians and pundits have described Ukrainian people as “civilised refugees”, commenting on how “like us” they are. This is racist and despicable. There is no such thing as an “uncivilised refugee”, just people looking for safety, compassion and understanding. We must all remind each other that being anti-war today, includes supporting refugees tomorrow. If you feel for the plight of Ukrianian families, you will also understand the plight of families forced to flee their homes in Syria, Afghanistan, Sudan and so many other countries.
8) Pledge support & Take action – Providing true help isn’t a one-off, commit to being in it for the long term even when the media loses interest.
Support a local City of Sanctuary group in your area – many groups will have their own pledges of support. Or if there isn’t a local group please contact a Regional/Nation Coordinator who will be able to support you to either set up a new group, or connect you with existing local organisations.
For more information please attend our event – Supporting Refugees: Responding to the Ukraine Crisis
We will be updating this list as the situation develops.
Talking to children about what’s happening in Ukraine is really tough. For help on having conversations about war and conflict, see here.
We’re working incredibly hard to grow and support this movement of welcome. Our networks will ensure more Ukrainian refugees in the UK, and all others seeking sanctuary in our communities, are met with understanding and compassion wherever they go. If you can please donate to help us keep this vital work going.