It’s almost unfathomable that it’s been a full year since the news first broke that Russia had invaded Ukraine — and that this invasion would devolve into a full-on war, bolstered by some of the most heinous human rights atrocities in recent history.
Unfortunately, it’s also difficult to balance the ongoing current events in Ukraine with every other tragedy, geopolitical relationship — and heck, our own mental health — on any given day.
As we reach the one-year mark of the war, we reflect on the pain and trauma Ukrainians have endured, mourn the loss of those killed in senseless and unnecessary violence, and do what we can to help.
We also believe that if you have the privilege to be learning about injustice through the news, you have the responsibility to do something to help.
And we’ve created this resource to help you be a part of the good news — the ultimate guide of ways to meaningfully support Ukrainians.
But first, here is a brief (and we mean brief) overview of what is going on in Ukraine now:
What’s going on in Ukraine a year after Russia’s invasion?
While daily military operations can make it difficult for the average person to track the latest tactical updates between Russia and Ukraine, we are able to understand the human rights implications of this war. The facts are staggering:
- As of January 30, 2023, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has recorded 18,657 civilian casualties in Ukraine, including 7,110 killed and 11,547 injured.
- As of January 2023, the International Organization for Migration estimates that about 5.4 million people — at least 55% of whom are women — are still trying to find safety in different parts of Ukraine. 58% of all internally displaced people have been displaced for six months or more.
- Since February 2022, some 5 million children have been displaced inside and outside Ukraine.
- The United Nations (UN) estimates that 18 million people in Ukraine will require life-saving humanitarian assistance in the coming months, 9.8 million of whom are women and girls. Additionally, about 9.3 million people across Ukraine urgently need food and livelihood assistance.
As the UN urges peace upon the one-year anniversary, President Biden made a historical visit to the area and promised new military aid, and Ukraine forces continue to maintain resilience, it’s clear that even if the war were to end imminently, the profound impact of this violence will last indefinitely.
How you can still help and support Ukraine now:
Stay informed with reliable information
Even if Ukraine has faded from mainstream Western media since last February, and Russia is persistent in its disinformation campaigns, it is still fairly easy to stay up-to-date on the news out of Eastern Europe.
The best way to stay informed is by consuming news from independent Ukrainian news organizations, as well as long-standing, trusted international news sources.
We’ll outline a few great options below, but you can also follow along with CNN fact-checker Daniel Dale’s Twitter list of 100 Ukraine-focused journalists.
The Kyiv Independent
The Kyiv Independent is a Ukrainian English-language media outlet, created in November 2021 by journalists who were fired from the Kyiv Post for defending editorial independence. Although a new outlet, the publication is led by longtime journalists who report on war, politics, and business in Ukraine.
“Ukraine needs on-the-ground English-language journalism of the highest quality, and our community needs a news source it can trust,” the Kyiv Independent’s Patreon profile reads. “We vow to serve as the true, independent global voice of Ukraine.”
UKRPravda News was co-founded in 2000 by Georgiy Gongadze, a prominent journalist and film director who was assassinated the same year. Partially funded by the International Renaissance Foundation — an organization dedicated to promoting democracy in Ukraine — UKRPravda News investigates political officials who abuse their power and pioneers the freedom of information in Eastern Europe.
Zaborona Media is an independent media outlet reporting on social trends and culture in post-socialist countries in Eastern Europe. Reporters cover challenges faced by societies and individuals fighting for their freedom. Zarborona shares profiles on LGBTQ+ soldiers, explores the urban challenges before and after the invasion, and gives a deep look into the lives of human rights defenders in 2022.
“We talk about social challenges, freedoms, and security boundaries, about people who stand up for fundamental rights and change how the world can be organized,” the Zarborona website reads. “We talk about what others are silent about.”
Zarbonara is funded by readers on Patreon, grants from international organizations, and partnerships with groups like Open Society Foundation, Free Press Unlimited, National Endowment for Democracy, and Journalismfund.eu.
Reuters is the world’s largest multimedia news provider and is seen by billions of people every single day. The news agency was founded in 1851 and has remained true to its standards and values of independence, integrity, and freedom from bias.
The Associated Press is an independent global news organization dedicated to factual reporting. The AP was founded in 1846 and is a reliable source for speedy, accurate, unbiased news.
AP’s team operates in 250 countries around the globe, covering all kinds of global news, including regular updates from Ukraine, where Russian forces have continued to fight members of the free press.
AP has established the Emergency Relief Fund to support journalists and their families who are affected by crisis and disaster.
Support local organizations making a difference in Ukraine
While it’s always great to help international aid agencies, supporting on-the-ground grassroots efforts led by Ukrainians is the best way to use your funds.
There are experts in international nonprofits who are able to connect with people across the globe, but the fact of the matter is that no one knows the needs of Ukrainians better than Ukrainians.
When these locally-based organizations are given the means to execute their missions, they have better opportunities to support their neighbors, rebuild their communities, and find peace and healing during and after the war. Here are the best locally-based organizations and initiatives you can support in Ukraine:
Humanitarian aid for victims of military aggression
Vostock-SOS volunteers provide a number of support services: finding shelter for internally displaced persons, assisting in evacuation from conflict zones, and collecting and distributing humanitarian aid supplies.
Since the start of the war, Vostock-SOS has helped over 25,000 people evacuate from the front lines and donated over 2,800 tons of supplies.
Charity Foundation for Stabilization Support Services
Humanitarian aid for civilians
Charity Foundation for Stabilization Support Services is a coalition of nearly 100 dedicated people in Ukraine who have experience in coordinating humanitarian organizations since 2015.
The organization was first developed in 2016 to promote the rights of migrants and veterans, and since the conflict began in 2022, has pivoted to providing ongoing humanitarian support and supplies, as well as assistance in emergency transportation.
In the past year, the organization has distributed 158,981 individual emergency humanitarian kits, enrolled 5,858 people in cash assistance programs, provided 14,957 individuals with counseling, and more.
Mental health support
Mental health is always important, but it’s especially important — and at-risk — during times of crisis. Originally founded to support veterans and their families, Lifeline Ukraine is a 24/7 suicide hotline supporting Ukrainians.
Housing support for internally displaced Ukrainians
Founded in response to the ongoing internally displaced population crisis in Ukraine, MoveUkraine is an NGO with the mission of helping Ukrainian families rebuild their homes, lives, and communities.
By working swiftly to provide sustainable housing communities and jobs for Ukrainian families in the country’s safe zones, MoveUkraine has raised over $700,000 to house over 8,000 people in emergency shelters in Western Ukraine. Additionally, the organization delivers 60 tons of food and medicine to people in need per week.
Jewish Joint Distribution Committee
Jewish humanitarian relief
The Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) is the leading global Jewish humanitarian organization. Although the nonprofit has a global reach, its team has been on the ground in Ukraine.
JDC has spent the last year supporting the vital needs of European Jewish communities by helping folks integrate into local Jewish institutions and programs; staffing border crossings to assist refugees; delivering nonsectarian humanitarian aid; and arranging special medical transport for Jewish elders who need accommodations.
Future For Ukraine
Support for women, children, and military members
Future For Ukraine is an organization that works to support Ukrainians and cultivate the future of the country as an independent state. Specifically focusing on the needs of women, children, and wounded people, Future For Ukraine has achieved a lot in a short time.
In June, the organization opened its first Children Hub, which is a network of centers that helps Ukrainian children and immigrants in Poland with adaptation, development, and psychological support. It also includes specific spaces for Ukrainian children on the autism spectrum.
Future For Ukraine also covers operation costs for military members with complex bone fractures, as well as the implementation of prosthetic devices.
The organization also distributes humanitarian aid — specifically items for women, like menstrual hygiene products and cosmetics. Lastly, its Gidna fund provides free, anonymous, professional psychological care to women who are survivors of sexual abuse by Russian servicemen.
Kyiv School of Economics
Providing safe education
The Kyiv School of Economics has launched an initiative to provide safe bomb shelters for children in Ukraine so they can return to school and receive an education, despite the war.
The campaign aims to provide 100 Ukrainian schools with safe and high-quality shelters.
At the start of this conflict, community organizer and author Adam Eli tweeted: “In times of war, marginalized people are always hit first. This includes queer people, especially trans people.”
Insight is a Ukrainian public organization that provides legal, psychological, and medical support to LGBTQ+ folks. In 2022, Insight was able to provide 428 transgender Ukrainians with hormonal treatments, as well as assist in legal consultations for 1,064 that covered gender-affirming healthcare, violence, and more.
Happy Paw is a nonprofit dedicated to solving the problems of homeless animals in Ukraine. The charity helps owners find lost animals, sterilizes domestic animals of people in need & holds lectures on humane treatment of homeless animals.
In the past year, the organization has sterilized over 8,100 stray dogs and cats to help prevent further homeless animal crises and environmental challenges. In November 2022, the organization shared that it has assisted 84 shelters with an average of 220 animals in each, meaning Happy Paw assists as many as 12,000 dogs and 6,500 cats living in shelters each day.
Razom for Ukraine
Humanitarian aid and strengthening democracy
Razom is an emergency response organization in Ukraine with a focus on strengthening democracy. Aside from providing necessary aid to folks across the country, Razom educates about politics with civic leaders, activists, and elected officials in Ukraine and the U.S.
In the first month of the war, the organization distributed over 218 tons of supplies and continues to provide critical support to this day.
“Razom means ‘together’ in Ukrainian and serves as a constant reminder of the community that it takes to create, build, and do,” the organization’s website reads.
Support organizations that help women — the primary demographic of displaced Ukrainians
Women make up 55% of internally displaced people within Ukraine (totaling approximately 2.95 million women), putting them at an increased risk of multiple forms of violence, like conflict-related sexual violence, sexual exploitation, abuse, and trafficking.
As many male family members are fighting on the front lines of the war, women and children are vulnerable to the war crimes waged against civilians and are placed in living situations that present a number of other risks to violence and abuse, as well as a lack of essential medical resources, food, and power.
Ukrainian Women’s Fund
The Ukrainian Women’s Fund (UWF) is a feminist organization that aims to provide equal opportunities across genders, fight gender-based violence, improve women’s access to resources, and more.
Upon Russia’s invasion in February 2022, the UWF rapidly shifted to meet Ukrainian women’s wartime needs. In that time, the organization has issued over 124 grants to partnerships and coalitions supporting Ukrainian women.
“The war in Ukraine may be changing the women’s/feminist movement, but it’s not stopping it,” the UWF website reads. “We know the civil society organizations, partnerships, and coalitions that supported Ukrainian women so effectively during peacetime are also best placed to help women now caught in the crisis of war. We seek to support them to implement effective and systematic solutions.”
UWF aids partners in collecting and distributing humanitarian aid, creating shelter, coordinating the transit of displaced people and volunteers, recording crimes, organizing medical and psychological support, and creating systems to collect and transmit life-saving information.
Women’s Perspectives is an NGO that was established in 1998 with the mission to uphold women’s rights in all areas of life; including gender policy, combating violence against women, increasing opportunities for women in the economy, and promoting women’s participation in decision-making processes in Ukraine.
Prior to the war, Women’s Perspectives had helped more than 9,000 clients, conducted sociological research, and provided legal, educational, and informational support to women across the country.
Now in the face of war, Women’s Perspectives has prioritized providing shelter for women and children in the eastern regions of Ukraine. This includes 160 square meters of office space to use as shelter; food and personal hygiene essentials; psychological counseling and art therapy; and facilitating safe, long-term residence in Ukraine or abroad.
Urge your elected officials to prioritize Ukraine and confront the impact of this war
Staying engaged with Ukraine in the news is extremely important in knowing the political landscape of the United Nations and other ally countries. Upon the one-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion, U.S. President Joe Biden made a visit to Kyiv to speak with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
“You remind us that freedom is priceless; it’s worth fighting for, for as long as it takes,” Biden remarked. “And that’s how long we’re going to be with you, Mr. President: for as long as it takes.”
This sign of the United States’ allyship provides optimism, though we know the support of other nations must not only come in the form of military aid, but humanitarian relief, as well.
One way to stand with Ukraine is to contact your representatives (whether you’re American or from any other country) and demand they prioritize the people of Ukraine. Some specific calls to action for your elected officials include:
- Reaffirm support for host countries that have taken in a high influx of Ukrainian refugees by providing funding and long-term support.
- Prioritize funding for locally-based organizations in Ukraine working to help internally displaced people through the full spectrum of humanitarian, social, and developmental response.
- Recognize the importance of gender-responsive interventions for predominantly-female displaced populations by supporting the organizations already doing this work.
- Continue to develop a “worldwide” integrated humanitarian response, which recognizes that the impacts of this war extend far beyond Europe.
Support refugees in your community
Volunteer with local initiatives that welcome and support refugees in your community. Visit Welcoming America’s resource to learn more and get started.
You can also check out our guide to the best refugee organizations to support in all 50 states!
Donate humanitarian supplies
As of January 2023, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) assessed the needs of Ukraine’s internally displaced communities to understand their needs.
According to the latest report, the most prevalent needs of displaced folks are cash or financial support (75%), clothes, shoes or other non-food items (47%), medicine and health services (37%), food (32%), hygiene items (29%), and accommodations (17%).
While cash donations surely make the most impact from afar — both for folks who simply need more access to financial resources, and for the organizations serving displaced Ukrainians — if you are in a position to effectively donate humanitarian supplies, that’s a great way to help.
To do this, start by visiting ShortageUA, a website that provides lists of necessary items that you can purchase and donate individually. From there, you can package your items safely and follow directions from Help Ukraine Center to correctly ship the supplies.
Mobilize your community for good
Connect with your own community to help communities abroad! Whether you host a benefit concert or fundraiser event, help plan a demonstration, connect with refugee organizations in your area, or simply spread the word, you can do your part for Ukraine right where you are