April marked a new round of UNWLA fundraising for humanitarian aid to Ukraine. The UNWLA team constantly communicates with healthcare providers in Ukraine. In these conversations, Orthopedic External Fixators and Wound Vacs (Vacuum-Assisted Closure Systems) were identified as the top priority request. External fixators keep a fractured bone stabilized and in alignment, while Wound Vacs prevent infection and speed up the healing of even the most gaping wounds. It is vital for the urgent treatment of injured patients.
While the benefits of such equipment were clear, the challenge was the high cost. The UNWLA has started to work with a few companies that manufacture these devices, and we managed to negotiate a significantly lower price: external fixators for $1,000.00 per kit; wound vacs for $3,000.00 per system. Even with the reduced prices, the volume of requests for this medical equipment was (and still is) so overwhelming, that we needed a major step up in our fundraising efforts. We were not waiting to reach the 700K needed to purchase the planned amount of equipment – it was purchased and shipped to Ukrainian hospitals as soon as possible.
Figure 1. Expenditures in April
- $429,000 for Wound Vacs and related supplies
- $270,340 for Fixators
- $65,000 for shipping
Huge thanks to our trusted partners The Paul Chester Children’s Hope Foundation, TOETAL Podiatry in NY, Stryker, ROC Maidan (Rochester, NY), Ukrainian Orthodox Holy Ascension Church, WBLL Ministry Atlanta Georgia, UNWLA Branch 137 Clifton NJ, our Branches, Regional Councils, and many other amazing individuals and corporate donors who bring much-needed aid to Ukrainian hospitals. Thanks to them, the first shipments of fixators have reached the patients in Ukraine in record time.
Thanks to UNWLA and other international donors, our partner AICM Ukraine has the largest humanitarian multi-platform covering the north, center, and east of the country. Such support enables them to help 75.000 people per week. Numerous AICM deliveries help people get essential items but also supply hospitals and other medical institutions with medical equipment, medicine, and other necessities.
With the challenges mounting in front of us, the UNWLA community has come together as a united and powerful force to be reckoned with. Our Branches, Regional Councils and members-at-large have organized numerous fundraising concerts, auctions, and other events. , From New York to California, from Michigan to Florida – every Soyuzanka deserves the sincerest appreciation for her efforts.
The weekly all-UNWLA meetings have grown into informative community gatherings, with guest speakers joining for informative sessions on various topics. Among the invited guest speakers were:
- Soyuzanka Areta Trytjak, regarding fundraising opportunities through her company HELPSY – a for-profit company that collects, reuses, and recycles used clothing. The largest clothing collector in the Northeast Us, HELPSY offers a range of fundraising opportunities for those who wish to part with the clothes they no longer use.
- Tatiana Stawnychy, CEO of Caritas Ukraine, tuned in from Lviv, Ukraine, and shared updates on how Caritas has been helping internally displaced persons in Ukraine and distributing aid. The organization has learned a lot from 2014 when they had to shift gears and aid displaced people and now are able to quickly adapt to the realities of war.
- Artur Kulian, CEO of UkraineNow.org, has invited our members to join the ranks of volunteer case managers for UkraineNow.org – a resource that helps Ukrainian refugees adapt to a new life abroad and connects hosts and the people in need of accommodation.
People working in response to the russian war in Ukraine might start to feel exhausted and demotivated; volunteer burnout is natural, yet preventable. Elaine Miller-Karas, an internationally recognized expert in war-based trauma, offered free training to members of our organization, called “Resiliency Building for Helpers in Wartime”. Through breathing techniques, mental awareness, and other practices that make us feel good and remind us of our purpose, we can stay resilient and strong – for ourselves, for our communities, and for Ukraine.
Our UNWLA Advocacy Team continues to respond to the pressing need for public advocacy on behalf of Ukraine, focusing its efforts on both political and cultural advocacy.
Since the beginning of the full-scale russian invasion of Ukraine, our Advocacy Team has rallied our community to advocate for more weapons and aid to Ukraine, to gather support for Lend-Lease Bill, to declare russia a State Sponsor of Terrorism. Meanwhile, it was tracking companies still operating in Russia, and looking out for sources of misinformation in the media.
Consistent training and support are also offered to any UNWLA member who is interested in public advocacy: weekly meetings of the Advocacy Team, training sessions in advocacy basics, and brief prep sessions for in-person meetings with elected officials. If you would like to engage in public advocacy, an email to email@example.com is your first step.
Working in sync with multiple organizations around the US, our Advocacy Team continues to share Information and advocacy goals with independent Ukrainian advocacy groups from around the country, including Minnesota, Washington State, Utah, Pennsylvania, and Texas. Our active members are also reaching out to their local communities, using every opportunity to gather more support for Ukraine. Public advocacy can take different forms – an email to your Representative in the Senate asking to support a bill to aid Ukraine, or attending events in your community and sharing our vibrant culture, language, and the truth about Ukraine.