We are in shock about the situation that is currently unfolding in Ukraine. According to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), over 100.000 people are currently on the move within the country, over 50.000 people have already fled Ukraine to neighboring countries within the last 48 hours. The UNHCR is estimating that up to 4 million people in total will flee Ukraine due to the war.
This war can and needs to end! When reading the news from Germany or other (European) countries, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and as if there is nothing you can do. There are, however, some concrete things that you can do to help right now:
1. Donate to organizations
There are many organization either on the ground or in other countries that are mobilizing to bring money, medication, and other things such as food and clothes to the people that are either stuck in Ukraine or arriving at the borders. In the times of war, many important things become scarce very quickly and most of the people that are fleeing had to leave their homes in a hurry. Donating money and material things is a good way to help those in need even if you are far away. Here is a list of organizations that are accepting donations (some of these are based in Germany, some are international or Ukrainian. Search for local organizations near you on the internet):
Many organizations and cities in East Germany are currently collecting things to donate and are organizing for people to drive them to the border between Poland and Ukraine. You can search on Google if similar efforts are happening in your city/area. The Instagram account StandwithUkraineEastGermany was created to inform about different efforts in the area.
Now You See Me Moria on Instagram is also continuously sharing information about people offering or looking for rides, accommodations, etc. and sources where to find/offer help.
2. Contact politicians and the government
If you are feeling powerless, contact those in power. Write to governmental and local politicians, show them that you are watching the news and ask them to help the people in Ukraine and stop the war. Let them know that they can’t just sit there and watch. Here is a list with email addresses of those you can contact in the German government together with a text that you can send (in German but search for similar efforts in English or where you are on the internet or start them yourselves).
3. Go to protests
On the website Stand With Ukraine you can find information about all of the solidarity protests that are currently taking place around the world (not just in Germany or Europe). You can also register protests on the website that aren’t there yet and you can find information about what else you can do to help. Protests are important because they show solidarity with the people in Ukraine and put pressure on the government.
4. Get informed and make sure to fact check
It is important to be informed about what is going on to know how to best help the people in Ukraine.
There are countless videos, articles and sources of information getting published and shared on the internet at the moment. The situation is chaotic and constantly evolving. Furthermore, the Russian government is using the internet to spread a lot of wrong information. It is important to fact check and only look at reliable sources, for example: Katapult Magazin’s Liveblog, Reuters, Deutschlandfunk, Deutsche Welle.
5. Talk to the people around you
Write, call, post - Let the people around you know what’s happening and how they can help. It can feel unhelpful to post an Instagram story or to message friends and family but it is vital that as many people as possible are informed about how to help the people in Ukraine.
Many of us might have friends, family members or acquaintances that are either Ukrainian themselves or know people that are there. These are very difficult, painful and traumatic times for them. Let them know that you are thinking of them and offer your help.