The Harvard Center for African Studies has been following the disheartening war story in Ukraine and how Africans living in Ukraine, particularly African students in the medical field have been impacted.
We share here an update from Gift of the Givers Foundation, which has been providing on-the-ground assistance to Ukrainians and residents. Gift of the Givers is the largest disaster response, non-governmental organization of African origin on the African continent. They provide aid and relief to those who need it in Africa and globally.
Dr, Imitiaz Sooliman, founder of the organization reports that they started off with volunteers in Ivano-Frankivsk and Dolyna on the relatively safer western side of Ukraine serving incoming refugees from the east and taking care of orphanages. Nataliya Venter, Ukrainian wife of South African De Villiers Venter, is the driving force behind Gift of the Givers Intervention in Ukraine. Her efforts spread to Alexey in Kyiv, Ksenia and Andrey in Kharkiv, Yurii in Slavutych, Nazar in Mykolychy, Vitaly in Kherson, Olga in Sumi and Veronica in Zaporizhya, the network is expanding constantly. The mandate is to source supplies at discounted prices inside Ukraine, set up storage facilities, deliver food, bottled water, sanitary pads, diapers, warm clothes or personalized medicines door to door. In Morshen, Gift of the Givers is prioritizing providing mattresses, blankets and food assistance to 650 refugees as well as food aid to 6,500 residents and refugees in Mykolychy. Medical requests are increasing with Gift of the Givers having purchased an entire consignment supplying medical institutes in Kharkiv. The next delivery is earmarked for Chernihiv. The need for individual medicines is growing rapidly.
Gift of the Givers has partnered with Smart Angels, a Ukrainian organization to increase the scope of their support. Smart Angels receives supplies from some parts of Europe but requires funding for fuel for trucks and their seventy vehicles transporting essential items from the west side of Ukraine to various destinations within the country. Gift of the Givers has funded an initial 20 000 litres of fuel towards this process. Dr. Sooliman emphasizes that the scale and scope of the intervention has grown dramatically as the number of volunteers putting up their hands to be counted at all these destinations continues to grow.
The offer to assist South African and African students wanting to return home still stands. Those interested should contact Gift of the Givers directly at email@example.com
for more information.