Like many others, you want to do something, anything, and are asking yourself the question: How can I help?
Quickly followed by: What kind of help is needed most? and What options are available?
It is a very human impulse to help others and that drive can be turned into actions giving of your time and money via donations. The following are some of the ways you can support Ukrainian refugees, Ukrainians in Ukraine and the government of Ukraine itself.
When donating: Look for fundraising efforts by existing, verified Canadian and Ukrainian organizations – ideally those that have demonstrated a track record of impact in the country and have been recommended or shared by official sources. Give with your head as well as your heart.
In general, avoid crowdfunding campaigns, charity streams on social media and streaming sites (eg. TikTok, YouTube, Twitch) and organizations that have been recently created, unless they are recommended or shared by official and trusted Canadian or Ukrainian sources.
However, do not let concerns about scams, whether an organization is the #1 most effective option or the fact that there are other crises in the world cause you to ignore the urge to help.
If the future is to become better than the past, that compassion must be paired with a serious commitment to fully understanding what’s going on and a relentless willingness to prioritize in a world that has no shortage of pressing problems.– Kelsey Piper, Vox
Donate to Canadian organizations providing humanitarian aid
Ukraine’s neighbors, namely Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Hungary and Moldova, are now caring for over 1,000,000 desperate people – 500,000 in Poland alone, many of them mothers and young children who are fleeing from the conflict. The EU estimates that up to 4 million people may try to leave the country.
Here are registered Canadian charitable organizations raising funds for humanitarian aid to Ukraine – donations to which you’ll receive a tax receipt for:
As of February 28, the Appeal has raised over $4 million from a broad base of supporters across Canada. They’ve already deployed approximately $500,000 CAD to provide food packages, medicine and shelter. Subsequent tranches of support will follow.
MSF is dispatching teams to Poland, Moldova, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia to assess the needs of refugees crossing borders and respond to humanitarian needs. Teams are also present in Belarus and Russia ready to provide humanitarian assistance:
- Distributing war-wounded kits to hospitals (they already have in Mariupol)
- Provided a telemedicine training for trauma care for 30 surgeons from eastern Ukraine.
- Getting essential staff and supplies
- Getting essential staff and supplies from the Polish-Ukrainian border into Ukraine and set up emergency response activities across both sides of the border.
Since 2014, we have responded to the conflict emergency by providing lifesaving interventions across eastern Ukraine. We support the basic needs of the most vulnerable families, proving food, shelter, coal, multi-purpose cash grants, clothing and medicine.
Support UNICEF’s ongoing programs and response to the escalating need in Ukraine by providing communities with:
- Safe water
- Urgent medical aid and healthcare services
- Child protection
Note: The Government of Canada’s Global Affairs department has now matched the first $10 million that was donated to this program.
Money raised will enable the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement to respond to humanitarian needs generated by almost eight years of conflict, as well as preparedness and response efforts due to heightened tensions in Ukraine. The support could include preparedness, immediate and ongoing relief efforts, long-term recovery, resiliency, and other critical humanitarian activities as needs arise, both in Ukraine and surrounding countries, including supporting refugees.
Working with local agencies in Ukraine’s neighbouring countries to provide food, hygiene products, medical items and more.
Read more: What the Government of Canada has done for Ukraine
Donate directly to Ukraine’s government
Here is how to help according to the official Ukraine Twitter account:
Ukraine’s Armed Forces
According to the official Twitter account, you can send money directly via Google Pay or international wire transfer to the National Bank of Ukraine’s account in support of Ukraine’s Armed Forces via these links:
Donate directly to Ukrainian charities
The Kyiv Independent is an independent English-language media outlet in Ukraine created by journalists who were fired from the Kyiv Post for defending editorial independence. You can support the Kyiv Independent on Patreon and GoFundMe, which has raised over $1.5M (15x their goal). Other independent outlets include The New Voice of Ukraine and Ukraine World.
In late-2021 they shared the following list of charities across Ukraine by topic/focus, the descriptions below are word-for-word from their journalists:
- Save Life: This NGO crowdfunds non-lethal military equipment, such as thermal vision scopes & supplies it to the Donbas front lines. It also provides training for Ukrainian soldiers, as well as researching troops’ needs and social reintegration of veterans.
- Donbas SOS: This organization helps those who live in the Donbas war zone, those who relocated to other parts of Ukraine, and freed prisoners of war. It offers legal support, accommodation assistance, and psychological aid among other things.
- Crimea SOS: This organization has been helping internally displaced people from Crimea since Russia occupied the peninsula in 2014. It documents Russian authorities’ repressions against Crimeans and advocates for the end of the occupation.
- Hospitallers : This is a medical battalion that unites volunteer paramedics and doctors to save the lives of soldiers on the frontline. They crowdfund their vehicle repairs, fuel, and medical equipment.
- Tabletochki: This foundation has been supporting children with cancer for 10 years. They procure medicines, equipment, and arrange overseas treatment, among other things.
- ChildrenWeWillMakeIt: This movement grew out of a campaign that raised $2 million to get the world’s most expensive medicine for a Ukrainian boy with spinal muscular atrophy. It now fundraises for the treatment of other Ukrainian children with SMA.
- Ruka ob Ruku: This is a running club for children with disabilities. The initiative gives children an opportunity to train and take part in races together with their parents and volunteers.
- Happy Old: This charity provides older people across Ukraine with groceries and medicine, holds educational, entertainment, and sports events, as well as helps with employment. They even created a modeling agency for the elderly.
- Let’s Help: This charity cares for older people living alone and helps state retirement homes. They also advocate for better treatment of older people by the state, including providing people aged 60+ with easy access to education.
- Starenki: It’s a charitable initiative devoted to issues of old age in Ukraine. They help lonely seniors by providing them with groceries and hygiene products.
- Women Perspectives: This organization has been helping women who have faced domestic violence, discrimination in the labor market, and other issues. The NGO works with local and state authorities to promote pro-equality gender policies in Ukraine.
- Marsh Zhinok (Women’s March): Every year, on March 8, this initiative holds a rally promoting gender equality and the protection of women from gender-based violence. Currently, the organization is petitioning for Ukraine to adopt the Istanbul Convention.
- Blood Agents: It is an NGO that promotes regular, conscious and gratuitous blood donations. They have encouraged people to donate blood over 5,000 times over the past six years.
- Donor UA: It is an automated system for recruiting and managing blood donors, designed to promote the donor movement in Ukraine. You can help by signing up and donating blood or by supporting the project with money donation.
- Sirius: Is the largest shelter for stray animals in Ukraine established in 2000. Its capacity is over 3,000 animals. The institution crowdfunds for animal feed, veterinary drugs, construction and repair of enclosures, and other needs.
- Happy Paw: Is a charity dedicated to solving the problems of homeless animals in Ukraine. The charity helps owners find lost animals, sterilizes domestic animals of people in need & holds lectures on humane treatment of homeless animals for schoolchildren.
- UAnimals: Is a movement for protecting animals from exploitation & abuse. The organization managed to achieve a ban on animal circuses & persuaded many designers participating in Ukrainian Fashion Week to abandon natural fur.
- Ukraine Without Waste: It is a Ukrainian non-profit promoting the practice of sorting household waste. They educate companies on how to go green at their offices, and hold lectures for the wider public.
- Laska: It’s a chain of two charity stores in Kyiv that promote conscious shopping. They accept donated clothes, resell 15% of them, and send the rest to orphanages, homes for the elderly and centers for people with disabilities.
- Help the homeless: This initiative supports homeless people & the elderly in need, by providing them with free meals, medicine, hygiene products, clothes & shoes. Launched by a group of volunteers in 2016, the organization has been relying on crowdfunding.
- Suka Zhizn: This organization grew big from a 2017 Instagram account launched to tell stories of homeless people. Now volunteers provide various support to the homeless: employment, sorting out documents, searching for relatives & legal counseling.
- Slidstvo: Is an independent agency launched in 2012 that produces award-winning documentaries exposing corruption. They have investigated mismanagement of prisons, fraud, money laundering at PrivatBank & the assassination of journalist Sheremet.
- UKRPravda News: Founded in 2000 by Gongadze, a prominent journalist who was killed the same year, this publication is among the most influential in Ukraine. The reporters break political scoops and unmask officials who abuse their power.
- Zaborona Media: This is an independent media outlet founded by journalists. They investigate topics such as violations of Ukrainian workers’ rights in the Middle East, arms trafficking, and corruption in the construction sector.
- Parkhomivka Museum: The museum, located in a small village in eastern Kharkiv Oblast, is an 18th-century villa that offers a permanent collection of exhibits by artists as iconic as Picasso, Malevich & Manet. You can support it by coming & buying a ticket.
- Save Kyiv Modernism: Is a movement that unites architects, designers and activists who advocate for the protection of the remarkable Soviet modernist structures across Ukraine.
- FrankivskToCareAbout: Is a movement for the preservation of architectural heritage in the western city of Ivano-Frankivsk. Founded in 2016, the initiative renovates old wooden doors of the city’s ancient buildings.
- Svoyi: Svoyi gives free oxygen concentrators to people who contracted COVID & can’t be hospitalized due to personal circumstances or when hospitals are overflowing. It also helps those discharged too early in favour of patients in more serious conditions.
- Monsters, Inc.: This organization is based in Odesa and provides emergency medical aid to people living in the region. They also help COVID hospitals, procuring medicines and equipment.
[End of Kyiv Independent’s list of charities]
Provides psychological and psychosocial support to children in the form of programs like art therapy and video storytelling. It helps them overcome the consequences of armed conflict and develop.
Organized by the League of Ukrainian Canadians and the League of Ukrainian Canadian Women, FUDF Fund has raised over $3,000,000 and provided defensive body armour, medical supplies, hygiene products and other humanitarian assistance necessities.
According to the Kyiv Independent, this NGO is one of the most accountable and trustworthy charities working for the military in Ukraine since 2014 – providing the military with auxiliary equipment, specialized software, drones, personal body protection, training, and other supplies. They’ve transferred 200 thermal imagers and sights to Ukrainians protecting Kyvi.
RSU is a non-profit organization that provides medical aid and sustainable living standards to soldiers of Ukraine and members of their families.
Donate to NGOs assisting refugees in neighbouring countries
- Polish Humanitarian Action
- Polish Association for Legal Intervention for refugee rights
- Polish Center for International Aid
Other ways to help Ukraine from Canada
Stay informed and spread the (verified) word
Fight disinformation by only sharing information from reliable journalists that has been confirmed by multiple fact-checked, trusted sources. Do not post any information about the movement of Ukraine’s Armed Forces.
Any individual or organizational can drop off humanitarian aid packages to any MEEST location or agent in Canada and they will deliver and distribute it at their warehouse in Lviv. They provide lists of priority items (currently non-perishable food) and restricted items on their website. The cost is $2/kg (or free if brought to their Toronto location)
Write to your member of parliament
Email or call your elected representatives to let them know who you are, where you stand, and what action you want to see from them. An example email template can be found here.
Find your member of Parliament here or email the following ministers:
- Minister of International Development – Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan – email@example.com
- Minister of Foreign Affairs – Honourable Mélanie Joly – firstname.lastname@example.org
Support independent journalism in Russia
TV Rain (“Dozhd”), Russia’s largest independent TV channel, and Echo of Moscow, one of its oldest radio stations have been blocked. Meduza (Russian-language online newspaper and news aggregator based in Riga, Latvia) and OVD-Info (human rights service) are online news outlets. All have been labeled as “foreign agents” in Russia.
Over to you
Are there any ways to help or organizations making a difference for Ukraine that we missed? Let us know by leaving a comment below!
Slava Ukraini! Слава Украіні!