Updated 1 April 2022
We have all watched with horror the growing conflict in Ukraine, and the inevitable flow of refugees into neighbouring countries, and we all want to do something to help.
However, it is vital that we do not forget other refugees from Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere, many of whom are still stuck in camps or living rough in France, Greece and Lebanon: Just a fraction of over 80 million people who are displaced worldwide.
CamCRAG therefore launched a Fifty/Fifty Food Fundraiser to purchase food for refugees, with half the funds raised going to Calais and the other half to partner NGOs in Moldova.
UPDATE AUGUST 2022: THIS FUNDRAISER IS NOW CLOSED.
You can read more about how the funds were distributed at camcrag.org.uk/2022/09/01/50-50-food-fundraiser-update
Church groups and home-owners in Moldova have welcomed 200,000 Ukrainian refugees, more per capita than any other country. Moldova is an impoverished country with scarce resources, and our partner NGOs there have told us they are struggling to find enough food for the new arrivals.
Physical donations and other assistance
Currently we are not sending material aid to the region and we are therefore asking CamCRAG supporters to continue to not give us any donations of clothing etc. We would suggest that you do not collect material aid at this stage unless you have direct contact with NGOs operating in the region.
Other things you can do:
- All aid agencies want money so organise a fundraiser and donate the proceeds: Have a whip-round at work, throw a benefit gig, run a coffee morning, get your playgroup to do a sponsored toddle, use your imagination. There is a list of NGOs running fundraisers at the end of this article.
- Sign the petition asking the UK Government to waive visa requirements for people fleeing from Ukraine.
European countries have opened their borders, offered visa-free travel and even free transport on the railways. You can also write to your MP (find out who they are at members.parliament.uk/FindYourMP).
- Offer to host a refugee by signing up with Room for Refugees or Refugees at Home, then register your interest with the Government’s Homes for Ukraine scheme. Potential Ukrainian applicants need to be matched with sponsors before they can come to the UK: Read more and sign up for an online matching service on RESET’s website.
What you shouldn’t do:
- DO NOT organise a local collection of clothes or toys or anything else unless you have been asked to do this by an aid agency operating on the ground with refugees. They are usually far better placed to procure what they actually need, and they don’t need numerous lorries of unsolicited, unsorted and potentially unsuitable donations.
- DO NOT jump in your van and drive to Poland to help unless you know an NGO wants and is expecting your help. Doctors, translators and other skilled volunteers are likely to be needed, but if you don’t have a specific role you may just end up taking up accommodation that could be used by an aid worker or refugee.
- DO NOT try to take a collection of donations to the continent yourself. The customs regime for aid is extremely complex since Brexit, and you may well be turned around by French customs at the channel.
- DO NOT go to Ukraine to fight. Despite mixed messaging from the UK Government, it is technically illegal for UK citizens to fight against a country the UK is at peace with and, unless you have military training, you are unlikely to be effective.
If you are in contact with NGOs in the region who are collecting in the Cambridge area, please put us in contact with them (email email@example.com)
Online fundraisers for Ukraine
Red Cross DEC appeal: donate.redcross.org.uk/appeal/ukraine-crisis-appeal
Polish Humanitarian Action: www.pah.org.pl/en/donate/?form=ukraine
Hope and Aid Direct: www.hopeandaiddirect.org.uk/Appeal/ukraine
Ukrainian Government appeal: www.withukraine.org
Connect Aid (Telford): www.connectaid.org.uk
Other online resoures
UNHCR Ukraine data portal: https://data2.unhcr.org/en/situations/ukraine
Room for Refugees: https://www.paih.org/get-involved/host-a-refugee-in-your-home
Refugees at Home: https://www.refugeesathome.org
UK Government Homes for Ukraine scheme: https://www.gov.uk/register-interest-homes-ukraine
RESET online sponsor-refugee matching service: https://resetuk.org/about/ukraine
Safe Refuge guide to hosting: https://vita-network.com/saferefuge