As those watching know, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has hit all U.S. Ukrainians particularly hard. On April 1, 2022 we led a group of volunteers to Poland to deliver thousands of tourniquets, drones and other critical items to the front-lines of Ukraine. All of these items were specifically requested as “critical” by friends and colleagues on the front lines.
We also had an opportunity to buy and send additional supplies while in Poland, and restocked one of the refugee centers in Krakow with essential hygiene items, and some Easter candy. We found that prices in Poland are ¼ of what they are here in the US – AND there was no shipping. We feel like there was a direct impact for the people of Ukraine – both still in-country fighting, and for the refugees in Poland.
While there, the ask changed from tourniquets (although those are still needed) to water filtration. As you have seen, the Russians have destroyed many cities and villages in Ukraine, destroying infrastructure including water systems. The remaining people are in dire need of clean water.
We will meet this call as soon as possible. I am reaching out to you to support us, see if you could spread the word, and help us bring clean water to these devastated parts of Ukraine. I have already negotiated an extremely discounted rate from the company requested, Sawyer, www.Sawyer.com. We were asked for single and bucket filtration systems. https://www.sawyer.com/products#0
This is an extremely grass-roots effort. We don’t want money and rather that supporters purchase these items directly and send to our volunteer in Virginia. We will bring them directly to Poland and have them picked up and take to Kyiv for distribution. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information and to communicate with us on where to send the filters.
To see our efforts for yourselves, you can see the story on the news:
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How do we know the supplies are actually getting to those who need it?
We are working directly with a hub in Kyiv that is delivering supplies to both civilian and military populations. The organization “100% LIFE” is comprised of medical doctors and volunteers who before the war were developing the citizen health records for Ukraine.
2. How do you know these people are legitimate?
For the last decade, I have participated in a program with the U.S. State Department program, “Professional Fellows Program” run through the American Council in Washington, D.C. Most springs and summers my family hosted Ukrainian professionals at our home. They lived with us and we hosted them to do a “Fellowship” with organization in the U.S. ( https://www.facebook.com/americancouncilsprofellows) Each of these people lived with me for 4-6 weeks. In 2012 we flew to Ukraine to consult on Euro 2012 and lived with Maria Avdeeva, one of the most vocal and prolific scholars cataloging the destruction in Kharkiv, and the author of a critical report examining Russia’s propaganda and lies against Ukraine.
3. How do you get the items over so quickly?
We have been incredibly fortunate to have committed volunteers who travel to Poland and carry the items in their luggage. We bring duffel bags and suitcases filled with supplies, pay the extra luggage costs, and deliver the items ourselves. Once in Poland we contact 100% LIFE in Kyiv and they come to collect the supplies. It is extremely dangerous work and Ukrainian volunteers are driving all over the country to deliver these items. In late March, the driver who was supposed to meet us was killed in a convoy of aid delivering supplies to the front lines. Someone quickly took his place.
4. How can we see your work?
For this project we have developed a TIK TOK page @tourniquets4Ukraine and that is also posted at www.HSToday.us. Additionally we have a Facebook page and are working under the auspices of www.LABUkraine.com, an organization building computer labs in Ukraine since 2017, and founded by my daughter.
5. What do you get out of this?
None of us are paid. Most of us pay our own way and donate a tremendous amount of our personal funds to make this journey happen. For me, it is a “Call of Duty” from President Zelenskyy who asked all Ukrainians to help against the Russian genocide. I feel a tremendous pull to do everything I can to see that my heritage and culture survive – and that Russia is not allowed to extinguish the beautiful Ukrainian culture from the planet.
Others are involved for various reasons – they see the injustice, they see the world stand by and watch the atrocities and war crimes happen in real-time. They are incensed and join our effort to express their disgust tangibly. You can see one of our volunteers talk about why she joined on Tik Tok and www.HSToday.us.
6. Is my donation tax deductible?
It can be. If you want to donate money, you can send a check written to Women in Homeland Security, a 501 c3 organization that is the umbrella for www.LABUkraine.com. We prefer you buy products directly so you are secure knowing that this money was not spent in any other way than to help Ukraine.d
7. Seems like there are a lot of organizations involved – how are they all connected?
Our family has always supported Ukraine. I was raised in the U.S. extremely engaged in my culture and heritage. My “day job” has been supporting America – through working to help and support the homeland security community. I founded a number of non-profit organizations to do that: Women in Homeland Security, the Government Technology & Services Coalition, and purchased the media site Homeland Security Today in 2017. In 2017, my daughter founded LABUkraine under the auspices of Women in Homeland Security and we went to western Ukraine and built our first computer labs for an all-girls orphanage in Bukova, Ukraine.
When Russia invaded, we pivoted a number of our efforts to support Ukraine. Can’t build computer labs when the Russians are killing the people and destroying the towns! We pivoted the group to support efforts to bring whatever is needed to the front-lines of the war. You can see the work we’ve done here:
Thank you for reading and thank you for any support to defend Ukraine against the Russian invasion.
Throughout the globe, Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) disciplines contribute to economic growth, higher wages, and technological advancement. In pace, Ukraine’s technology field has been growing exponentially in the last 5 years, with technology start-ups increasing 237% from 2014-2015. However, Ukrainian universities and education institutions only graduate around 15,000 people in technology fields and interests. It is therefore increasingly important to outfit these growing technology sectors with qualified people to build the Ukrainian economy in its greatest potential growth area: technology.
LABUkraine implements a program where Ukrainian youth are introduced to STEM skills and disciplines by providing tools and instruction. LABUkraine outfits orphanages and schools with computer labs – supplying everything from the computers themselves to furniture or anything required to provide a welcoming atmosphere. The first phase of the project is to secure and outfit institutions with the equipment needs. The second phase will include annual workshops led by technologists from the United States. LABUkraine plans to implement classes, scholarships, and “job” fairs that will expose young Ukrainians to lucrative careers in growing fields, contribute to the growing technology sector in Ukraine, improve and enhance relations between the United State and Ukraine, and provide Ukraine with a better standard of living and a better future.
Ukraine boasts the fastest growing internet availability in Europe, however overall the country is too poor to afford technology such as computers and internet for all schools and orphanages. LABUkraine travels to Ukraine to build computer labs outfitted with desktops, keyboards, internet, educational programs, and other items as needed.We first aim to renovate/build the computer lab room. Next, we install computers loaded with STEM computer games, resources, and projects then we teach the children and teachers how to use the computers. Finally, we develop volunteer staff and Ukrainian technology network that can support the lab when we are not in-country.
This project, although supported by technology donations and out of pocket support, needs money. Costs such as transportation, renovation materials, and any sort of additional resources the children might need. Donate by clicking on the icon.
Come with us to Ukraine. Let us know why you are interested, where you are from, and you can help these orphans too! Inquire here.
The main part of this is building computers for these orphans, some have already been donated, but every bit counts. If you have any old desktops, laptops or even things like smartboards laying around, donate them here.
As an add on to building the computer labs, we want to make sure the children have everything they need as well. This can include blankets, toys, books, clothing, or shoes. Donate here.
Can't come with us but still want to help? You can help with spreading the word, fundraisers, gathering donations, and much more! Start here.
Speak Ukrainian? Know a ton about computers? You can help by writing guides on how to using them, or translating things for the children. Let us know how you'd like to help here.