How someone in Switzerland can help people in Ukraine
As the Russian invasion of Ukraine continues into its seventh day, people across Europe have rallied together and started to give aid to victims and refugees of the conflict. Now Swiss cantons, cities and people have started to do their bit to help those in need. Here is what people in Switzerland can do to help.
Switzerland comes together to support Ukraine
The people of Switzerland reacted to the invasion of Russia by collecting essential supplies, medical equipment and by taking to the streets in protest. “People are dying practically on our doorstep,” said Patrick, a resident of Basel collecting relief supplies for Ukraine. “We have to help and can't wait."
Along with regular citizens, the government has also begun its efforts to aid Ukraine, starting with a shipment of 25 tons of humanitarian aid and supplies which are to be delivered to the Polish-Ukrainian border. This is only one of a number of aid missions announced after Switzerland joined EU sanctions against Russia, with 20 minuten reporting that most Swiss cantons will announce their own aid packages in the coming weeks.
How you can help the people of Ukraine
There are many ways that someone living in Switzerland can get involved with helping people in Ukraine.
It may seem too simple, but monetary donations can be one of the best ways to provide humanitarian aid to Ukraine. The Red Cross, based in Geneva, has affirmed that it is an effective and efficient way to help those in need. The charity is one of a number of organisations on the ground helping Ukrainians, helping to supply water, food and medical supplies.
Some charities include:
- Ukrainian Red Cross
- United Help Ukraine
- Caritas Ukraine
- Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders)
- Outright Action International
As well as charities on the ground, Ukrainian institutions in Switzerland have also opened their doors for donations of supplies. The Ukrainian Embassy in Bern announced that it was collecting medical supplies for soldiers and civilians. Portable defibrillators, sterile PPE equipment, surgical instruments such as bandages, painkillers, scalpels, tweezers and first-aid kits are all needed.
Donors can bring these supplies to the embassy on Feldeggweg from Monday to Friday from 4pm to 7pm, but you must first make an appointment by emailing [email protected].
Bear in mind that due to the logistical challenges associated with moving donated aid to Ukraine, many aid organisations will not appreciate donations of supplies. Instead, check your local council (Gemeinde) or cantonal authorities for their own initiatives such as clothing drives.
Make your voice heard by protesting
One of the ways to show solidarity with Ukraine is to take to the streets. Already, thousands of locals in cities across Switzerland have protested against the Russian invasion through marches, vigils and songs. This has led to emotional scenes in Zurich, that saw the Münsterhof filled with people singing Ukrainian songs by candlelight.
Stand with the people in Ukraine regularly tracks where peaceful protests are taking place, and can be used to find your nearest one. Alternatively, the Ukrainian Embassy occasionally shares protest events on its Facebook page.
There are many ways to get directly involved in aid efforts to Ukraine, with numerous organisations calling for volunteers. The German LeaveNoOneBehind movement is asking people to register to help in any way possible, and Ukraine Now, a US NGO, is looking for volunteers to help evacuate refugees.
As the war develops, it is likely that many Ukrainian citizens will seek refuge in Switzerland. There are many groups in Germany that are organising emergency shelters, which will also allow you to register from Switzerland. Unterkunft Ukraine and Host4Ukraine are two where this is possible.
The Facebook group “Host a Sister” is also available - this is a service where only women can register to take in other women and children. For mental health support, Crisis Chat is looking for psychologists who speak Russian and Ukrainian.
Donations continue to pour in for war victims
Regardless of where you live in Switzerland, there will be a way to help those affected by the war in Ukraine. If you know any other ways people can help and show their support, share them in the comments below!
It's okay to not be okay
Of course, the current conflict in Ukraine will be leaving many people in Europe distressed and afraid of what is to come. If you have anxiety or fear of what is happening in Ukraine, there are many free places that offer help and someone to talk to. Lilli.ch, Tel 143 and the Psychological Service of the City of Zurich are a few places that can help. Alternatively, you can seek the help of an English speaking psychologist.