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Responding to the global human toll of the war in Ukraine, more than a year on

Last year, as the invasion of Ukraine sent shock waves around the world, the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) made grants to six organizations working in Ukraine and around the world, seeking to support those who are most vulnerable yet all too often not reached with assistance.

This includes not only those in or forced to flee from Ukraine, but also people around the world facing worsening food insecurity as a result of dwindling flows of food and aid. Even as the war disrupted exports from Ukraine, a major global supplier of grain, the attention and financial support given to enduring hunger crises in other parts of the world by governments and the public waned.

SNF’s response aimed to help mitigate the dire effects of the war along both lines simultaneously, supporting both organizations with an established local presence in Ukraine and the region and international organizations working to shore up aid to other regions in crisis globally.

More than a year on, over 13 million people have been displaced from their homes in Ukraine. Meanwhile, disruptions caused by the war, coupled with additional crises like the sixth below-average rainy season in East Africa and conflict as in Yemen, are putting hundreds of millions of people at risk from hunger. The need for humanitarian aid remains pressing, too large for any single entity to tackle. Responding will require a collaborative approach that knits together local partners on the ground into an international, system-wide patchwork. These six organizations are part of this international fabric and remain committed to helping deliver essential aid—one community group, one family, and one individual at a time.

Choose Love

local grassroots groups have partnered with Choose
of those received support through SNF’s grant to Choose Love
countries total where Choose Love is providing support, from Poland to Ukraine to Czechia
children relocated to a Children on the Edge reception center in Romania after their orphanage was bombed
160 +
LGBTQIA people received psychological support through SNF support Choose Love regranted to Ukrainian organization Insight
Choose Love has been stalwart in their support since February [2022], showing patience and understanding for the complexities and sensitivities of the project, and have facilitated one of our most significant operational partnerships on the programme in the form of medical donations from GiveMed. We have been incredibly grateful for their contributions to our mission but also more holistically for their advice, signposting, encouragement, and kindness.
Migrant Offshore Aid Station, one of the seven organizations supported through SNF’s grant

Choose Love’s approach to aiding vulnerable people on the move is partnering with local grassroots organizations, particularly those that work collaboratively and are led by refugees or people close to the communities served. Following this model, Choose Love redistributed SNF’s grant to smaller organizations working on the ground. Warsaw-based Foundation for Somalia helped meet food and other emergency needs. OutRight has worked to provide shelter, information, and help accessing medical care to LGBTQIA+ people affected by the war. Migrant Offshore Aid Station operates and equips a fleet of ambulances with medics providing care in the field. Children on the Edge is working to support children who are orphans, have disabilities, or have been displaced by running reception centers that provide food, psychosocial support, and help integrating into local educational systems in Romania and Moldova.

We can only say the cooperation with Choose Love was very smooth and effective. Moreover, the grant came among the first ones in the most crucial and hectic time which enabled us to respond to urgent needs of beneficiaries very fast.
Foundation for Somalia, another of the seven organizations supported through SNF’s grant
Global Effects: Exacerbating Food Insecurity Worldwide

The Emergency Relief Fund at Doctors Without Borders USA and the Global Hunger Crisis Fund at Save the Children USA give these organizations leeway to address the most pressing humanitarian crises around the world, even when global media attention is focused elsewhere.

Save the Children and Oxfam estimated earlier this year that across Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia, on average one person is likely dying every 48 seconds from acute hunger linked to conflict, COVID-19, the climate crisis and inflationary and market pressures accelerated by the war in Ukraine.
Save the Children hunger crisis report

Save the Children is reaching children and families with healthcare, food and nutrition assistance, immunizations, cash transfers, hygiene kits, animal feed, educational activities for kids who are out of school, and more in countries like Ethiopia, Guatemala, Somalia, and Yemen.

Doctors Without Borders is working to respond to neglected crises in some of the hardest to reach areas of the world, including with emergency projects in Bangladesh, Central African Republic, Haiti, South Sudan, and Yemen. Their staff are on the ground responding to outbreaks of disease, performing surgery in conflict zones, helping women give birth safely, and treating malnutrition in children.

In Bangladesh, Doctors Without Borders is serving the over 940,000 Rohingya refugees living there, including people like Nabi Ullah and Nasima Khatun, Mohamed Hussein, and Hashimullah.

children under the age of 15 with severe malaria were admitted to the Doctors Without Borders pediatric ward at Aweil State Hospital in South Sudan in 2022
gunshot wounds and 370 burn victims treated by Doctors Without Borders in Haiti in 2022
premature babies admitted from July to December 2022 to the neonatal ward at the Community Hospital Center in Bangui, Central African Republic, fully renovated by Doctors Without Borders in 2022

Lumos Foundation

children and family members supported
tons of food aid delivered
tons of non-food essentials like hygiene supplies
emergency education kits provided
social workers and mental health practitioners trained
We hope that the war will be finished soon, and we will be able to go back home, that we will have the same lives that we had before…. We are very thankful to Lumos. Not many organizations pay so much attention to rural areas.... That’s why your assistance is very much appreciated.
Viktoria, mother of two

Before the war, Ukraine had one of the highest rates of children living in institutions in Europe. Focusing on these children, for whom the war has been particularly devastating, Lumos has worked to meet the immediate needs of children and families by providing food and other essentials, and to help mitigate the profound disruption to learning by providing educational resources. The organization makes a point of involving young people with lived experience, a Youth Advisory Board, to guide their work, and its training for caregivers and child protection professionals has gained national accreditation in Ukraine as the standard for mental health and psychosocial support.

The war has suddenly brought us a difficult trial and an incredible, unprecedented traumatic experience, but especially for children. As educators and psychologists, we were not ready and seemed helpless in the face of such challenges. Now, after the training, I feel myself confident and ready to expand my knowledge to others.
Participant in training program for professionals providing mental health and psychosocial support

Melissa Network

fold approach: supporting Ukrainian women who are established community leaders and the Ukrainian Info Hub
people received support in the first 8 months through both paths
of those accessing the Ukrainian Info Hub were women, 443 were children, and 87 were men

Melissa Network has worked closely with the Ukrainian community in Greece in order to respond to the influx of Ukrainian war refugees into Greece, facilitating the creation of the United Ukrainian Diaspora in Greece, a body that coordinates the Ukrainian community’s response and serves as an information hub about existing resources. Together with the Greek Council for Refugees, SOS Children’s Villages Greece, Babel Syn-Eirmos, and HIAS Greece, they have been providing psychosocial support and access to legal and employment services. In parallel, they have focused on children’s resilience through building a sense of community and maintaining links to their native language.

Médicos del Mundo

health outreach consultations by 15 mobile units in Ukraine, in addition to one unit each in Slovakia and Romania
mental health consultations in Ukraine, plus 2,591 in Poland, Moldova, and Slovakia
health facilities and 91 temporary accommodation centers in Ukraine reached with donations of equipment and medicine
The biggest shock for me was to realize that all my plans, wishes, some hopes... not only mine... They are shattered. I felt like there was no future…. This feeling that there is no future is tragic. But I understand that there is [a future] while we are alive. Some of our plans have been destroyed, but we will be able to create new ones as time goes by.
Médicos del Mundo Ukraine HR Officer Kateryna K.

Médicos del Mundo has been an established presence in Ukraine for nearly a decade, since well before the current conflict. The organization’s primary aim has been ensuring access to physical and mental health care for those who would not otherwise have access, both in Ukraine and in neighboring countries. This includes mental health and psychological support services, primary care services, and reproductive health services. The organization’s work also involves working toward lasting systemic change, in helping local partners grow more resilient, improving coordination among nongovernmental organizations, and reducing the stigma of accessing mental health care.

I call the country, where we will continue to live, the country of PTSD because, unfortunately, all of us will face it. It is very important for us to make sure now that this stress does not develop into a long-term disorder, as can happen. And in the first three days when children with their parents come here, we try to normalize this condition, so that a minor stress disorder does not become a long-term one, and so that it does not become an obstacle in later life.
Crisis psychologist Dan H., who volunteers through a Médicos del Mundo partner

*Data included as of May 2023