The Social Workers Union (SWU) stands in solidarity with Ukrainian people and the brave Russian people who have been protesting this war
According to the UN Refugee Agency, one million people have fled Ukraine over the past week and millions more will likely to be forced to flee their country unless there is an immediate end to this conflict. The Russian invasion of Ukraine has created a humanitarian crisis which will only become exacerbated as long as the war continues.
SWU stands in solidarity with the Ukrainian people who are under attack by Russian forces, and the brave Russian people who have been protesting this war. A conflict of this proportion will affect many worldwide and social work will be one of the professions on the ground working with people who are displaced, impoverished, traumatised, and at risk of exploitation.
SWU calls for the UK Government to set up a safe and legal route for Ukrainian refugees to travel to the UK and be accepted here as asylum seekers. The union also calls for the UK Government to work with other world leaders to end this conflict, increase domestic protections for victims of modern slavery, and provide humanitarian relief and assistance to the people of Ukraine.
How can I help?
Remain informed about the conflict and to be cautious about the information being spread on social media. The deliberate spread of disinformation is being used as a tactic in this conflict, including attempts to paint Ukraine as the aggressor against Russia. Disinformation can also come from well-meaning people who are not well informed. Whatever its source, amplification of disinformation can harm civilians.
Write to your MP in support of setting up safe and legal routes for war refugees to travel to the UK and be accepted here as asylum seekers. Also ask your MP to support the Modern Slavery Victim Support Bill and demand an increase in domestic protections for victims of modern slavery.
Another way to help is to donate money. Here are 7 organizations, most of which were providing aid to displaced people in Ukraine before the latest conflict began, who accept online donations:
- Vostok SOS, which is based in Ukraine, has partnered with German-Swiss NGO Libereco to provide immediate evacuation support to Ukrainians attempting to flee their homes. Vostok maintains a hotline for Ukrainians in need and donations help them deliver medical and humanitarian aid to local people, evacuate vulnerable people, and provide tailored trauma support in the aftermath of shelling.
- Voices of Children is a Ukraine-based aid organization that provides psychological support to children who have witnessed war and financial support to families who have suffered as a result of war. It is currently providing non-stop assistance to affected children and families from all over Ukraine through providing emergency psychological assistance and assisting in the evacuation process.
- European Roma Grassroots Organisation is supporting the Ukraine based NGO called Roma Women Fund Chiricli in raising funds to ensure that the Roma community has the same access to humanitarian support as the rest of the population.
- The Disasters Emergency Committee – comprised of 15 UK aid agencies including the British Red Cross, Oxfam, and Save the Children – has launched an appeal to provide trauma care along with medical treatment, food, water, and shelter to Ukrainians fleeing their country. Public donations to the appeal will be doubled by the UK government, up to a total of £20m.
- United Help Ukraine is an American nonprofit that formed after the 2014 annexation of Crimea. It is currently distributing food and medical supplies to internally displaced people in Ukraine, and providing life-saving individual first aid kits and other emergency medical supplies to the front lines.
- Nova Ukraine, also an American nonprofit, works closely with Ukraine-based organizations. Money from donations results in immediate aid and is allocated daily to frontline volunteers helping provide emergency resources to both refugees as well as those citizens who have remained.
- Sunflower of Peace, another American nonprofit, is raising money to prepare first aid backpacks for paramedics and doctors on the front lines. In 2014, the organization also raised money to build the first aid backpacks for medical professionals providing aid to those fleeing the annexation of Crimea. Each backpack has the ability to save up to 10 lives.