Gift of the Givers Expands Intervention in Ukraine
The Ukraine initiative came to life at short notice through various messages we received within a few days of the invasion. The first was a South African man, whose wife is Ukrainian that managed to escape from Kyiv when the bombing intensified. On 5 March we asked them to arrange themselves in their new place of safety and source supplies including food, baby food, diapers, sanitary pads, hygiene packs, warm clothes and essential medicines. From purchasing at small shops, the team expanded to bigger shops and then wholesalers all to ensure availability and to save costs as prices were sky rocketing. This has been an extremely interesting process providing training in disaster intervention at a distance to people who have zero experience in such matters but they have been beyond incredible in applying the theory practically. We are expanding the teams and are organising them inside the "hot spots" where there is no entry point for supplies and are replicating the process, finding shops, supplying the funds, identifying specific needs and supplying. When you can't get items from outside, be resourceful and find everything inside. Orphans, the elderly, ordinary people are all being assisted. We are funding the intervention paying for fuel and everything associated with the purchase and delivery of essential and very basic necessities. We are setting up multiple storage areas. The teams are held by the hand and guided on the approach to disasters on a daily basis.
The second request came from a cardiothoracic anaesthetist, who is also being guided on disaster management, the first lesson being on how to practice "emotional distancing". The person has crossed into Ukraine this morning. We are guiding the individual, funding fuel and purchase of items from Europe to expand the scope, scale and speed of the intervention.
The Ukraine Association of South Africa has partnered us. They are connected to medical personnel inside Ukraine. Medical supplies are being sourced inside the country and together with their own financial contributions we will commence purchases of these life saving materials for health facilities "trapped" in the hot spots.
Discussions have been held with medical aid societies, pharmaceutical companies and health facilities in South Africa to supply essential medicines which will be sent by commercial flight to support all other medical requirements inside Ukraine.
Suzanne Ackerman from the Ackerman Family Foundation has pledged R1.5 million towards the repatriation of South African and African students. McKinsey is putting together a package for the same purpose. DIRCO will be engaging with Gift of the Givers on the repatriation matter this afternoon.
The Ukrainian Ambassador, Dr Liubov Abravitova, thanked us at a press conference on Monday for our intervention in Ukraine and has requested a meeting to discuss humanitarian initiatives as soon as we are available.
Those wanting to contribute to save lives and assist a nation totally devastated, displaced, in shock and in despair can deposit into Gift of the Givers, Standard Bank, Pietermaritzburg, Account number 052137228, Branch Code 057525, ref Ukraine. Send deposit slip to email@example.com for acknowledgement. Feedback on our social media pages.