How we use the funds donated to our Ukraine appeal
In our mail updates and website stories we have given examples of the kind of support we have funded from the donations to our appeal. We are still receiving donations and sending funds to partner organisations in Ukraine and Moldova.
Most of our partner organisations are civil society organisations (CSOs – or NGOs) who had received grants from BEARR or attended our conferences in recent years. Some of them are new introductions and recommendations to BEARR, including recently formed associations who have approached us for funds. All organisations applying for funds are asked to complete a proforma to explain their background and what the funds are needed for. We find out what we can about the new CSOs or voluntary groups via their websites, social media posts and from contacts who may already know them.
There are many people in Ukraine and Moldova who were not previously involved in humanitarian assistance but have turned since February to helping their fellow citizens (or refugees, in the case of Moldova). These include business groups and chambers of commerce, and other organisations able to mobilise skills and resources from their previous work. We help wherever we can, but we always try to establish that the funds will be well used. We always ask for feedback, and recipients send reports and photos, including of receipts for purchases. In the interests of safeguarding, we ask our partners to be careful about sending us photos of children or other personal details of beneficiaries.
All of the money donated is being used to supply emergency aid – as we stated at the very beginning in February, the BEARR Trust covers any administrative costs and bank transfer fees out of other funding sources. Our admin costs are low anyway, as a lot of the work is done on a voluntary basis by trustees. All requests for funds are assessed by a committee of trustees, and a few are turned down, either because they do not meet the criteria for emergency funding or because they are from an organisation based outside our region of operation and should be able to fundraise in their own country. We also do not fund support to refugees in the UK, but we try to pass on requests that we cannot meet to organisations that might be able to help.
Sometimes we don’t hear from a CSO partner for a few weeks, usually because they are busy using our and other funds to help people, and we are always very relieved when they contact us again, so we know they are safe. But some of them are still living in towns and cities under intense bombardment, so we do worry about them. They have continued to provide food, bedding, baby products and hygiene items to people far from their homes, on the move, or, in the case of many elderly people, stranded in their homes, when it is not safe to venture out. Early on we helped fund evacuations, including of residents of a care home for elderly people, for whom we also paid for furniture for the new place they moved to. We paid for fridges for a refugee centre in Moldova. Our partners also buy medical items, such as medicines (many of which are in short supply) and dressings, and one has bought a fridge for a blood transfusion station, for storing blood. We have also donated to a new hospital in western Ukraine, where large numbers of wounded people are being cared for. One CSO asked for funds to buy a rehabilitation training staircase. Another has set up a sewing workshop which provides employment for people displaced from their homes and usual jobs. Yet another is issuing cash vouchers so that IDPs and people in need can buy fresh perishable produce such as fruit and vegetables, or other items not always included in emergency packages. We have supported groups caring for disabled adults or children, or organising art therapy workshops for children.
We have recently been asked for school kits for children due to return to school in September (however, many children will continue to study online as their schools do not necessarily have sufficient bomb shelters for all their children). Volunteers have set up refugee and IDP centres, where people can seek advice, shelter and psychological and medical care. Some are providing daily meals to refugees/IDPs. In most cases the premises are provided by a donor free of charge but there are bills to be paid, accommodation to be adapted and other running costs, in particular fuel and food. We have helped to kit out a mother and child centre in Moldova, where locals and refugees can mix and get to know each other.
Occasionally partner organisations ask for funds for very large projects such as hospital buildings or accommodation for IDPs and refugees. We try to recommend where the organisation concerned can seek assistance on a larger scale than we can provide. Even where the project is too large for BEARR to fund, we might offer advice and suggestions about how to take into account the special needs of people with disabilities, or provide funds for a specific part of their project.
Our heartfelt thanks go again to all who have donated – we will continue our work, as long as we have the funds to do so.