Thousands of people have been displaced from their homes in Ukraine due to the Russian invasion early this year. One such woman is Kateryna Terekhova who fled with her family from Kyiv in the starting days of the war to a town called Zakarpattia closer to the border of Slovakia, Romania, and Hungary.
When she moved there, she immediately began working on ways to help others. She saw an abandoned schoolhouse in the town and decided to create a shelter with all of the necessary amenities. She decided to make the shelter a perfect place but it had been emptied for four years and had no plumbing or central heat.
She was a part of a chat with IT Troops who are a group of Ukrainian technology workers and entrepreneurs who send supplies to troops and fund humanitarian work. They liked Terekhova’s idea and put her in charge of their volunteer efforts. They were then in contact with Razom for Ukraine which is an 8-year-old charity run by Ukrainian and Ukrainian American volunteers.
Tarafa explained her plans to two Razom board members about the renovations she was going to do on the shelter and presented the expected cost of materials. She had already raised funds to cover labor costs as well as food expenses during. Just three days later Razom send her a grant of $28,000 which could cover all her construction costs.
She was able to renovate the shelter to have communal rooms for men women and families separately. There are dozens of beds with new mattresses and linens as well as bathrooms and new showers. There is even a kitchen where three meals are cooked for the residents each day.
All this was possible with the help of Razom which has made more than $3 million in donations to ninety-eight small humanitarian efforts like this one since late February.
They were a tiny nonprofit, but they have made a huge difference in assisting and providing donations. Before the war they raise 1.5 million a year for the prosperity of Ukraine but since the war had started their donors went from 4000 to 150 thousand raising $57 million.
One of their major efforts has been so assembling medical kits to shelter locals and troops back in Ukraine. They had already planned this before the invasion started while the troops were collecting on the border. Since then and now they have sent more than 62,000 kits and spent $38 million on humanitarian efforts altogether. This is more than the amount raised by Project Hope a nonprofit organization training medical professionals in Ukraine on trauma care and which has received more than 21 million dollars and donations for the crisis.
Razom called over medical professional volunteers to make sure the medical surprise but the right ones with excellent quality. They used the supplies to put together kids in a New Jersey warehouse. Volunteer software designers even created a system to track shipments of supplies when they arrived in Ukraine and through transit. They worked with shipment companies and corporations to get their cargo on planes and get them shipped as soon as possible without delay. With the help of volunteers, they were able to send shipments in just a few days instead of bonds.
They also have a new system of tracking donations as compared to before when they only had an online spreadsheet. They successfully spread the word on social media so they could gather donations for their cause. Their fundraising operation was so successful that the person running it had to hire more. Volunteers still handle all the incoming funds as well as the potential donors.
Razom has received some high-profile donations: Tipper Gore, Netflix co-founder Reed Hastings, and Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey each gave $1 million. The New York Jets donated $100,000.
The president of Razom Maryna Prykhodko herself traveled to Ukraine to rescue her aunt and uncle and she saw the destruction firsthand. She also visited the warehouses where they store supplies and went for distribution of aid, around places. She found that most of the locals were the elderly and the disabled who could not flee and most of them were now living and destroyed buildings but just a room or kitchen standing over their heads.
Since then, she has vowed to make plans for after the invasion to restore their beloved country Ukraine.
Ukraine and its people are facing extremely difficult times. Many non-profits are trying their best to help people remaining in Ukraine as well as those who have left the country. Your donations to the following charities could mean life or death for a person.
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