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Here are 4 small ways to support Ukraine
On Feb. 24, 2023, it will have officially been one year since Russia invaded Ukraine, signaling a critical escalation of the Russo-Ukrainian war that began back in 2014. This event has resulted in the uprooting of millions of Ukrainians' lives. Familial separation, infrastructure damage, food and water shortages and other extreme casualties have plagued the country. And although the Ukrainian forces have maintained the protection of their capital Kyiv, the war is not over.
It can be hard to observe the devastating impact of war from afar. You may feel uneasy reading about it or feel angry that you cannot provide immediate aid to those who are struggling. You may also feel disappointed that you can't afford to donate large amounts of money to organizations that support Ukrainian relief efforts, and that's OK. As a teen, you are not expected to do things like this.
But how can you lend a helping hand without spending tons of cash? There are actually several other meaningful ways you can provide support for the Ukrainian people. Using your personal knowledge, voice and passion, you *can* make a difference.
1. Volunteer to become an English tutor for ENGin
Have a knack for English? You can put those skills to good use and help Ukrainian teens just like you. ENGin is an online volunteer program that connects young Ukrainians learning English with volunteers who are fluent in the language. You can work from the comfort of your own home and make your own tutoring schedule—and you don't even have to make lesson plans! Just bring your authentic self and be ready for some good conversation. All students have a background in English and are using the platform to learn better communication skills. Volunteering is a 1-2 hour commitment for a minimum of 10-12 weeks, and you must be at least 14 years old to volunteer. It's a super simple way to make a significant impact on a Ukrainian individual's life—and the best part? You might make a new bestie yourself!
If you're looking for more information about this opportunity, check out their website.
2. Host a local fundraiser
Want to donate *and* raise awareness in your community about the war in Ukraine? Gather a group of friends and host a local fundraiser supporting a Ukrainian organization of your choosing. Your fundraiser could be anything from a bake sale to a car wash, and you have total authority over how to sell your product or service. Make sure to advertise your event on social media, and make it clear where the proceeds are going. This is a great opportunity to get creative and make an impact.
If you're looking for places to donate your funds, check out these reputable organizations:
- United24 (The official fundraising platform of Ukraine created by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy)
- UNICEF: Children in Crossfire of Ukraine Crisis
- Save the Children: Ukraine Crisis
- International Committee of the Red Cross: Humanitarian Crisis in Ukraine
3. Use your voice to spread awareness
Many girls often forget that one of the best assets they have for change is their own voice. Speaking up about the issues of the war on a local level can encourage community members to take action of their own. You can post on social media or make flyers for community boards that detail how to donate money and supplies. You can also attend anti-war protests in your area or organize your own.
Your voice isn't limited to what can be heard, either. Writing letters and emails to congressmen citing your concern for Ukraine can remind the government to stay proactive in its support for the country. On both local and national levels, expressing yourself and your beliefs requires no expenses—just passion.
4. Stay informed
By far the easiest thing you can do to support Ukraine is to keep learning about the war. Periodically reading accurate and first-hand information about Ukraine's trials and triumphs will provide you with a better understanding of what is currently happening, even as mainstream news addresses other issues. Consider following young Ukrainian writers such as Kyiv Independent journalist Anastasiia Lapatina, who was featured on Teen Vogue's "21 Under 21" list this past year. Finishing her final year at the University of British Columbia, Lapatina uses social media (her Twitter has 600K+ followers), podcasts (check out Power Lines: From Ukraine to the World) and journalism to garner action and advocacy in support of her native country.
Girls' Life Magazine stands in solidarity with Ukraine. Share how you are making a difference with us on Twitter @girlslifemag!
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