At the start of the full-scale invasion of Ukraine, YMCA Volyn (Lutsk, Ukraine) and Unlocking Communities began their work together.
Twenty months into the war, with the help of YMCA Europe, they reached over 250,000 people in all regions of Ukraine, supporting Ukrainians with the most necessary items to survive the war. Learn more about the first joint action here.
The most recent shipment took place in March 2023. Three trucks of humanitarian aid worth one million dollars traveled across Europe to the YMCA warehouse in Ukraine after being shipped from the U.S. Since then, we have reached another 30,000 people together.
YMCA volunteers traveled to the remote areas at the frontline, shipped packages via post, and connected with other organizations to ensure that Ukrainians received the help they needed.
Along with material goods like water filters, flashlights, power banks, sleeping bags, and thermal underwear, the volunteers brought information, comfort, companionship, and bits of normalcy amid the chaos of war.
While traveling to the towns and villages of Kharkiv, Kherson, Mykolayiv, Odesa, Zaporizhzhia, Donetsk, and other regions, they met incredible people – civilians, soldiers, volunteers – who did their best to contribute to the victory of Ukraine with their everyday efforts.
These last six months, YMCA Volyn volunteers Marta and Stas focused on helping the helpers. With this approach, they built connections with different people and organizations to bring help not only to local people in the remote areas of the frontline and the armed forces but also to the emergency services, first responders, hospitals, churches, schools, kids & youth camps, centers of the internally displaced, community hubs and other NGOs, including branches of YMCA Ukraine.
Most importantly, the YMCA is building connections with these people. They do not just go places to offer goods and leave – they hear people’s stories, ask for their needs to follow up, check in with them afterward, and stay in touch to ensure they know they are not alone.
As winter is approaching, there is no knowing how harsh this in Ukraine will be. Still, there’s the risk of power outages resulting in no heating, electricity, water, phone, or internet connection. Yet the YMCA is determined to keep working to ensure communities in every corner of Ukraine can survive. Moreover, just like last winter, Marta and Stas plan to organize trips to deliver Christmas gifts to children still living in areas of very close proximity to the frontline, under constant shelling and risk of daily missile attacks.
Thank you to everyone supporting YMCA Volyn and Unlocking Communities in their everyday effort to bring hope to people living in Ukraine.
Unlocking Communities (UC) equips entrepreneurs with the education and tools to sell sustainable products that unlock economic, social, and environmental transformation. By building community resilience and equitable access to key tools and resources, including water filtration systems, clean-burning cookstoves, entrepreneurship training, and microfinancing, UC will impact 4 million people by 2025 and generate $350 million in economic savings for very low to middle-income households. Successfully piloted in Haiti, numerous organizations worldwide have requested to implement the UC model; and, utilizing a franchising approach, UC is partnering with local organizations to replicate and adapt the model globally. Finally, Unlocking Communities respond to disasters whenever the opportunity and network allow.