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How do I support older people in Ukraine? Where will my money go? And other questions

Published on 04 March 2022 04:07 PM

The conflict in Ukraine is disproportionately affecting older people women and children and many are in need of emergency aid right now. We are raising funds to help provide life-saving support to older people and their families inside Ukraine and those reaching surrounding countries. 

We understand that people want to help in the best way possible, and want to know how we're working inside Ukraine and reaching those affected. As so we hope we've answered some of your questions below. 

How is the conflict in Ukraine affecting older people and why do older people need our support?

Due to the recent conflict in Ukraine, more than half a million people have been forced to flee their homes in search of safety.

Older people are particularly vulnerable in conflict situations as they are often unable to flee the violence, they may have mobility problems, be housebound, or they may be reluctant to leave familiar surroundings. Where there is aid and support available, they are often unable to access it or it is not tailored to their specific needs.

How is Age International responding?

As the crisis unfolds, we are continuing to assess the most urgent needs of older people and are expanding our emergency relief programme accordingly so that we can provide vital relief to those older people and their families who need it most, both those still in Ukraine and those who have been able to flee to neighbouring countries.

Age International is working with four local partners in Ukraine, and in neighbouring countries, to provide multi-purpose cash payments, emergency food and water kits, medical, hygiene and dignity kits and support in response to trauma that so many older people and their families will be experiencing. 

For those older people who are housebound or have mobility issues or who are fearful of leaving their homes, food packs and kits will be distributed by staff and volunteers as long as it is safe to do so. These will be tailored to the specific needs of older people. 

We are also setting up a mental health support ‘hotline’ phone number that will be shared with older people and their families. We have a long history of providing mental health first aid and support in Ukraine and will continue to do so to help people cope with the trauma they will have experienced.  

What is the best way to support those affected?

The best way to support older people and their families affected by the conflict is through monetary donations. As much as we appreciate the kind offers of donating items, cash donations are best to help people in a humanitarian crisis.

A donation of money will go much further, and supports many more people, as it will be used by us to purchase supplies such as blankets, clothing and food locally, often cheaper than in the UK and which helps the local economy. It is also more cost efficient for us to purchase supplies locally than to transport them across Europe.  Money raised will also be distributed in the form of cash assistance to older people and their families.  This helps to ensure that they are able to buy exactly what they need.   

Our sister charity Age UK would be delighted to receive items in the Age UK charity shops so we can sell them to raise funds to help our work in the UK.  

Why should I support Age International's work in Ukraine?

We are uniquely placed to deliver an emergency response to this crisis. Over recent years, Age International has been working in Ukraine to support older people affected by the conflict in 2014 with life-saving essentials such as food medicines and mental health support.

Currently, we have over 200 staff and volunteers from local communities working in Ukraine, mostly in the east of the country. To date, this team has been providing ongoing support to almost 5,000 older people in the region. Our most pressing priority at this time is to keep our staff and volunteers safe, despite living under constant fire during the current conflict themselves.

Our team in Ukraine and those working in neighbouring countries are dedicated to responding to the needs of older people and their families affected as and when it is safe to scale up our response.   

How do I know my money will go to those who need it?

By donating you will be helping older people, and their families who have been affected by the conflict in desperate need of basic essential items, such as food, hygiene kits and clean water.  

We will be using appeal funds to distribute aid to older people based on the most pressing needs. Our in-country partner, HelpAge International has built up strong links working in Ukraine over the last 8 years and this expertise and these relationships will help to ensure that aid reaches intended recipients. 

As with any project that Age International carries out through local partners, we will ensure that there are robust due diligence processes in place to make sure  that the money is being used as intended and is being spent effectively. 

How are you keeping your colleagues in Ukraine safe? 

The safety and wellbeing of our staff is paramount in the work that we do. Together with our partner HelpAge International we are strongly committed to the internationally recognised Humanitarian Principles which guide the way in which NGOs and other organisations implement their disaster relief programme. 

This includes the principle of ‘Do No Harm’, so any activity should not cause harm or suffering to either the people that we are helping or the staff members who are conducting the work. 

Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal

Help provide life-saving support to older people and their families.

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