As Russia continues to escalate its horrifying invasion of Ukraine, greater numbers of people are fleeing the conflict. According to the UN, up to seven million are thought to have already been displaced within the country, with more than two million now believed to have tried to flee Ukraine entirely.
Many refugees are having to face long queues at borders and difficult asylum processes. While some countries (like those in the EU, for instance) have made the visa process much easier for Ukrainian refugees, other countries have not. So what can we do to directly help those fleeing Ukraine? Below are five ways to offer financial, legal and humanitarian support.
1. Donate to refugee charities working in nearby countries
Ukrainian refugees are spilling into countries on the country’s western borders, mostly to Poland, Moldova, Romania, Hungary and Slovakia. Here are three charities working in those countries and providing aid:
UNHCR is the official UN organisation that helps refugees. Donate here.
Project HOPE provides medical supplies and assistance. Donate here.
Save the Children focuses on providing children with food, water and safety. Donate here.
2. Share information on legal aid for refugees
Some countries (like the UK) are making it harder for refugees to claim asylum than others. Plenty of organisations and resources exist to help those fleeing the conflict, such as:
This list of UNHCR partner organisations helping to provide social and legal assistance to refugees in Ukraine.
This list of organisations in the UK providing pro bono legal aid for refugees.
This directory of organisations in the USA also providing pro bono legal aid for refugees.
Welcome to Europe, a resource for refugees in the EU. See this link.
3. Donate and share vital information for refugees who are LGBTQ+ and/or people of colour
People of colour fleeing Ukraine are facing far greater amounts of violence and abuse than other groups. You can help them specifically by sharing this advisory thread for Ukrainian refugees with Nigerian passports, or share this Twitter thread of embassy contacts. You can also donate directly to Afro-Caribbean students trying to leave Ukraine using this PayPal pool.
LGBTQ+ Ukrainians also face greater difficulties, so consider donating to charities like Choose Love, which provides members of the queer community with medical care, food, clothing, shelter and legal aid (donate here), and QUA, which supports LGBTQ+ Ukrainians in the USA and is now channelling support to help refugees in the Ukraine region (donate here).
This handy Linktree page also provides a range of links to resources and charities helping BIPOC and LGBTQ+ refugees in Ukraine and surrounding countries.
4. Petition your government
Many governments (such as the UK’s) are not making it as easy for refugees from Ukraine to come over as they could. You can petition your local government (or if you’re in the UK, your local MP) to exercise your democratic right and encourage politicians to make the visa process easier and more accessible.
5. Offer them your home
Airbnb is currently looking for people to ‘host’ Ukrainian refugees as part of its pledge to temporarily house 100,000 people fleeing the conflict. You can find out more and volunteer your home here.
Keen to do your bit? Here are 17 other ways you can help the people of Ukraine right now.