BEARR Newsletter June 2023

Dear friends and colleagues, 

The last few weeks have been dominated by the horrendous news of the dam breach in Ukraine and the further devastation that has brought to the long-suffering population. At BEARR we have been  trying to react with speed to the urgent requests we are receiving. Details here.

The good news for BEARR and all our supporters is the recognition of our colleagues Megan Bick, Daryl-Ann Hardman and Luke Grenfell-Shaw in the Birthday Honours. Details here.

With warm wishes,
The BEARR Trust

An update on BEARR’s Emergency Appeal for Ukraine and Moldova

We are delighted to announce that funds raised by our Ukraine Appeal have topped £500,000, an amazing achievement in sixteen months. We are immensely grateful to all our donors and have already sent over 90% of funds received to the voluntary groups in Ukraine delivering assistance. But on 6 June the horrific blowing up of the dam at Nova Kakhovka near Kherson created a new kind of emergency. People were made homeless by flooding, losing their homes, livestock, kitchen gardens and everything precious to them as the water rose up to five metres above its usual level downstream from the dam, then receded leaving mud, sewage, dead animals, displaced land mines sown by the occupying forces. Meanwhile upstream the reservoir level dropped leaving dereliction and mud.

Partner organisations have been asking for outboard motors, inflatable boats, pumps, water purification chemicals and disinfectants, along with trying to provide clothes, food and accommodation to the victims. BEARR’s relatively meagre resources mean that we cannot provide the larger technical items, but we are sending funds for the basic necessities of life to enable partners to buy drinking water, food, disinfectant and other commodities. To be able to do this we launched a new call for funds into our Ukraine Appeal to enable us to help victims of the flood. The response has been swift and generous, and we are hugely grateful. 

We hope our kind and generous donors and supporters will continue to make our work in Ukraine possible. Our efforts are now going increasingly towards helping to provide therapeutic support for displaced people and others affected by the situation in Ukraine. Many of our partners are continuing to supply packages for basic needs but they are in addition providing psychological support and therapy for people suffering trauma and stress.

In addition to our Ukraine Appeal, we have started work on a project for community-based therapeutic support funded by a grant from the British Embassy in Ukraine. Our very experienced trustee Megan Bick, who has just been awarded an MBE for her services to civil society development (see separate report), is the lead in this project. Six selected partner organisations are eager to work with us to provide this kind of support and share know-how with others. We also encourage organisations to invest in self-care, as the past 16 months have placed a heavy burden on them. One of our grant schemes this year is for precisely this sort of assistance to the staff and volunteers in community-based organisations. 

BEARR Trustee Megan Bick awarded MBE in the King’s Birthday Honours

Congratulations to Megan Bick, BEARR Trustee, on her award of an MBE in the King’s Birthday Honours. 

The citation notes that Megan received the award under the Overseas and International Honours List ‘for services to Civil Society Development in Eastern Europe and Central Asia’.

But she was also singled out in the associated press release for a fuller dedication:
‘Megan Bick is recognised for an outstanding and sustained contribution to marginalised groups and civil society development in the countries of the former Soviet Union. Her work in the employment of various international and UK government agencies over the last 3 decades has had a significant impact in improving the lives of vulnerable people in the region’  and referred to her unpaid volunteer work for BEARR.

Daryl-Ann Hardman, former BEARR Director and Trustee, and Luke Grenfell-Shaw, fundraiser, were also awarded MBEs in the King’s Birthday Honours.
Full details here.

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