I have personally got petrified when hearing that Russia invaded Ukraine: after 2 years of Covid isolation, I finally felt ready to go back to my previous activities, and this new war starting right next to the European Union border made my previous problems look like simple privileges. What would we do to save our loved ones?
I froze for a few days emotionally and practically, and during the last few weeks, I start sharing and joined other people’s fundraising, mostly on my Instagram Stories, which you can still find here.
Now I feel there is so much to do, and as much as we should continue with our life, we can still help with sending monetary and in-kind help to Ukraine, while also helping refugees arriving locally, either here in Portugal or elsewhere in Europe.
Families, women, children, and elderly have been fleeing their cities and some are now in refugees camps at the Ukrainian border, on their way to other European Countries, or have already arrived at their destinations: unfortunately so many are still trapped in war territories.
There are so many ways to help
Every help counts: if we can make an impact on even one person, that’s already important and worth the effort. In the last couple of weeks, so many organizations have been setting up relief programs, collecting goods, offering any help they can: private citizens, churches, NGOs, local municipalities, and small to big businesses have been also taking part in this big effort.
Here following, you will find many ways to help and many resources to look for help.
From Ukraine to Portugal – incoming refuges resources and how to help
Ukrainian families have started to arrive in Portugal: some are reuniting with families already in the area, many are just starting from scratch. Here are some resources for both families that want to help and families that need shelter, goods, and a new community to belong to.
- A Comprehensive Directory and collection of resource for Ukrainian refugees made available by different professionals and organizations (Ukrainian Refugees Portugal): possibility to find last minute Airbnbs shelter
- Casa Fari : people living locally can offer accommodation, while families looking for shelter can find/offer a place to stay in Portugal
- I can Help Host: a volunteer based network of host that can offer different kind of accommodation to refugees looking for shelter.
- We Can Help: A global network of for people to offer and seek help
- Serviços Jesuitas ao Refugiados is collecting donations, accommodation offers and volunteers. They will match those offer with upcoming Ukrainian refugees needs, also helping them find a job: they have a form on their website for Ukrainians looking to move to Portugal.
- SOS Ukraine is a platform created by Cascais Municipality: they are setting up a system to offer shelter and support to upcoming Ukrainians. They will be welcoming Ukrainian in a shelter close to Cascais, and they are in need of many things but mostly babies cots or travel cots: the list of goods they need is here
- Fundacao AMI is a Portuguese association that helps all people with ongoing assistance for mental health and food etc.
- Ukrainian Refugees UAPT : a non-profit organization based in Portugal that provides support to people seeking refuge from the Russian war against Ukraine.
- Ukraine Take Shelter: it is an independent platform connecting Ukrainian refugees with potential hosts and housing.
Support from EU and government for Paperwork
- EU resources and info for refugees and paperwork fast racking explained
- Portugal for Ukraine is the official platform made by the Portuguese Government, for both help seeker and people looking to offer help. It offers information to upcoming refugees about how to deal with Portuguese bureaucracy
Some professionals are offering services to support the upcoming refugees:
- United in Crisis: a group of professional in the mental health area that wants to create support groups, family groups, helpline for those in distress and offer individual therapy. At the moment they are 10 psychotherapists, 2 child psychologists and 2 social workers with experience working with war refugees. All working on volunteer base. For info, contact Katarzyna Akhtar or Magdalena Kishizawa at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Letsgobaby.pt is collecting kids gears both to send to refugees camps at the Ukrainians border and on Ukrainian territories and to deliver to refugees families arriving here in Portugal.
- Gemma Urban is opening her workshop to kids and families to allow artistic expression: she is also organizing get together activity with the aim of keeping attention on the Ukrainian Crisis. Next upcoming Community workshop this Saturday 19th March Hearts for Ukraine
- Tipi, a local Forest and Waldorf inspired day center, is open to accept new kids that are coming to Portugal and could benefit of a learning environment.
- Prime International in Sintra has made available 30 scholarships for kids 5 to 10 YO coming from War Zones.
- Adriana Camilleri of Camillleri and Scorcella Real Estate Team is actively looking for properties suitable for upcoming refugees in the Lisbon area and surrounding.
From Portugal To Ukraine
There are many organizations, associations, local councils, and private citizens collecting goods and organizing expeditions to bring them to Ukraine or to refugees camp at the border with Ukraine.
- Many Freguesias are organizing collection of Goods, check their pages for info about what they need (this is just a selection of them):
- Organizations that are organizing collection of goods
- Private citizens and Small Businesses
Fundraisings for Ukraine
There are plenty of organizations that are already active in Ukraine or at the border with Ukraine. By receiving money, they will be hopefully able to provide local refugees and war zones survivors with food, shelter, and medications. This list was suggested to me by Manuela Madonia, former Fundraising and Communication Director at Lisbon Project.
- The Ukrainian Red Cross The Red Cross is often on the war’s frontliners, serving to help those affected by armed conflict. The Ukrainian Red Cross is currently assisting people inside the country by aiding evacuations and providing shelter, food and necessities.
Donate to the Ukrainian Red Cross.
- World Central Kitchen (WCK), established in 2010, is an organization that deploys chefs directly to disaster areas to provide hot meals to those in need. WCK is currently working in Ukraine and along its borders in neighboring countries.
- GlobalGiving Ukraine Crisis Relief Fund: Global Giving is raising funds to support locally-led organizations throughout Ukraine. Any donations to the fund will provide essentials for refugees, health, psychological and support and access to education and economic assistance.
- Vostok SOS: Vostok SOS is a Ukraine-based non-governmental organization (NGO) dedicated to assisting areas of conflict within Ukraine. The organization is currently accepting donations to help aid local people, evacuate the vulnerable and provide trauma support after shelling.
. (Credit card payments are also accepted through Libereco, a Vostok SOS partner.)
- Voices of Children: Created in 2015, the Voices of Children Foundation has been providing psychological support to children affected by war in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Ukraine through art therapy, video storytelling, mobile psychologists and more. Now, the organization is working to support children across the country with emergency psychological assistance and assisting in the evacuation process.
- Sole Terre ONLUS: Sole Terre is an Italian NGO promoting the right to health means ensuring the best care for everyone and dealing with people’s living conditions in order to eliminate inequality and discrimination. The priority for Ukraine patients is to provide a safe shelter for children and their families, and ensure the continuity in medical treatment for cancer.
- Media Support: Donating directly toward the media in Ukraine can help fight against Russian misinformation and keep Ukrainians informed of the latest developments. A GoFundMe has been launched by various organizations to help keep Ukraine’s media outlets running during the war.
How to Support Ukrainian Refugees
The United Nations refugee agency reported on Tuesday, 8th March, that 660,000 Ukrainians have fled the country due to the war. Many have fled to neighboring countries including Poland, Hungary, Moldova, and Romania.
Many refugees will be in dire need of basic supplies, food, and resources as they’re now forced to rebuild their lives. You can donate to the following organizations to help them do this.
- The International Rescue Committee: The International Rescue Committee is a longstanding organization that provides resources to those fleeing countries in crisis, including providing cash assistance, medical treatment and more. The organization is currently on the ground in both Poland and Ukraine to provide support to those who have had to flee their homes.
- The Polish Red Cross: As of Feb. 28, most of the Ukrainian refugees have crossed into the country’s eastern neighbor, Poland. The Polish Red Cross has provided humanitarian reception points at Ukrainian-Polish borders to assist those entering with humanitarian aid and medical support.
Donate to the Polish Red Cross.
(Note: the website is in Polish, but most browsers have an option to translate pages into English. Donations will be made in local Polish currency, zloty, and will be converted according to your card’s current exchange rate. See here for bank transfer donations.)
In the last few weeks I also had to process the fact that this war has felt “closer” than other wars: I have personally worked closely with local organizations to help refugees coming from everywhere in the world, like Lisbon Project, yet I hope that this new wave of community activation will become a modus operandi for any refugee crisis.
Every upcoming Ukrainian family is welcome to join our communities to look for friends, and any help the community can give.
I will keep sharing ways to help on all our communities groups, and I encourage every member to do the same!
A community for families living or moving to Lisbon
MOMS FOR MOMS LISBON
A support group for Moms living in Lisbon
SECONDHAND FOR FAMILIES LISBON
A marketplace for selling buying or giving away family gears
PROFESSIONALS FOR FAMILIES LISBON
A marketplace where to look for professionals or for offering services.