While the invasion of Ukraine continues, World Jewish Relief is providing humanitarian support across the country, as well as working with refugees in Poland, Moldova and the UK.
Having worked in Ukraine for around 30 years, and with a network of 29 local partners across the country, we are well placed to provide expert assistance in this most difficult of times.
You can find the answers to any questions you might have about the humanitarian situation in Ukraine, our developing response, or Ukrainian refugees.
What can I do to help Ukraine?
Please donate to our Ukraine Crisis Appeal today.
Whilst we appreciate offers to donate goods and services, the single best way to help people in Ukraine right now is to donate cash – it allows us to get our partners exactly what they need, as fast as possible.
If you have already donated, or don't feel that you are able to contribute, then you can still make a big impact by sharing the appeal with family and friends.
How can I help?
Can I donate goods like clothes and blankets?
We are always so grateful for offers of help in times of emergency.
However, although we hugely appreciate offers of donating items like blankets and clothing, fielding these requests can slow down our response. We do not have the resources to transport goods to Ukraine.
If you have goods to donate, please do not contact our office, as we are not able to help. Please keep an eye out for community initiatives that are accepting goods.
How can I offer to host Ukrainian refugees?
We are focusing on carefully matching those Ukrainians who want to come here with the appropriate sponsors. Our priority is to ensure that this is as successful as possible for all involved. We are aware that the situation is complex, and the sponsorship model is not ideal. We are working closely alongside local councils and other agencies to manage the process carefully and support Ukrainian arrivals to the best of our ability.
The community’s response in wanting to welcome and support Ukrainian refugees has been phenomenal. We have been humbled by over 1,500 wonderful offers of accommodation and help. To date the number of Ukrainians looking to come to the UK through the scheme is still very small, although we are aware that this might change over the coming weeks and months. As such, unfortunately we cannot say yes to everyone who has generously offered their homes at present, but if you would still like to register your interest you can do so here.
If you have further questions about the Homes for Ukraine scheme, you can find the answers on the government website.
Are you contacting Jewish Ukrainian refugees about the Homes for Ukraine scheme?
We are sending out information to all our partners in Ukraine, Poland and Moldova about the Homes for Ukraine scheme.
Ukrainian refugees who want to be matched with homes in the UK will be from within and beyond the Jewish community.
I have applied to sponsor a Ukrainian refugee. What can I expect when sponsoring people? What will this entail for me and what role will the person play in my home?
The Homes for Ukraine Scheme is incredibly complex, and while we are working to match Ukrainians with host families here in the UK, the numbers of people who have been generous enough to offer to host still vastly outweighs the number of Ukrainian applicants. The first thing to expect if you have offered your home is that there may not be a suitable match for you. We are prioritising the safety and security of hosts and refugees alike, as well as compatibility and other factors. With a smaller cohort of Ukrainian applicants, this may mean that there is no suitable match for you. This does not mean we do not hugely appreciate your kindness and generosity for offering your home.
If you are selected as a potential match for a Ukrainian refugee, you should be aware that the matching process can take a long time. In order to make the process as safe and comfortable as possible for hosts and refugees, there are many checks that need to be carried out, and this can be a lengthy process.
The main responsibilities of the sponsor will be to:
- Provide a warm, supportive and safe environment
- Provide a bedroom, clean bedding and towels
- Provide kitchen, laundry and bathroom facilities for the guest
- Provide a meal on the first night for the guest (taking into account dietary preferences)
The sponsor will not be expected to:
- Undertake counselling or advice work
- Take responsibility for the guest’s financial or legal affairs
- Provide physical assistance or the work of a health care professional
- Host indefinitely
Can I provide accommodation for less than 6 months?
The minimum requirement is 6 months - https://www.gov.uk/guidance/homes-for-ukraine-scheme-frequently-asked-questions.
What is the matching process based on?
- Suitability of accommodation.
- Number of bedrooms available.
- Household make-up (where accommodation will be shared).
- Restrictions on offered accommodation.
What does the Government have in place to safeguard the Ukrainians and those sponsoring?
The government is responsible for security checks on Ukrainians coming to the UK and also for DBS checks for prospective sponsors - https://www.gov.uk/guidance/homes-for-ukraine-scheme-frequently-asked-questions
I will soon have a Ukrainian refugee arriving, what do I need to think about next?
This is a quick guide to services you may need in your first week in the UK. - https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/welcome-a-guide-for-ukrainians-arriving-in-the-uk/week-one-guidance-for-ukrainians-arriving-in-the-uk
Our Crisis Response
What has World Jewish Relief done in Ukraine?
We are working to distribute humanitarian aid across Ukraine. In total, we are currently working across 89 towns and cities in Ukraine, through our network of local partners.
We have supplied over 3.4 tons of medication and over 75,000 food packages through our humanitarian corridor.
So far, our support has reached over 100,000 people with a particular focus on the most vulnerable groups.
How will the Ukraine Crisis Appeal funds be spent?
Our partners and clients are sheltering in basements, terrified. No one can plan ahead in a context filled with panic and so much uncertainty. We can only ensure that for now, whilst partners can still access foreign currency transfers, they have the funds available to respond to the most urgent needs as they arise.
We are prioritising food, cash, medical, material, and psychological support for the worst affected.
We have established a major supply corridor which is enabling us to ship large quantities of humanitarian aid into the east of Ukraine, to be distributed from there by partners in Lviv. This includes food packages, medical and hygiene supplies. So far, we have shipped over 350 tons of humanitarian aid into Ukraine.
We have also funded buses from Kyiv, Odesa and Zaparozhye to evacuate some of the most vulnerable members of the Jewish community.
Our partners are also reaching places that others cannot - we were some of the first to get humanitarian aid into the liberated towns of Bucha and Irpin, Borydanka and Chernihiv.
In neighbouring countries:
We are working with our local partners in Moldova and Poland as they support Ukrainian families who have fled to these countries. We are meeting the families' basic needs by providing food, water, PPE and accomodation. We are also helping our partners to scale up their abilities to work with Ukrainian refugees who are beginning to settle in neighbouring countries.
In the UK:
Whilst the vast majority of Ukrainians who have fled are displaced internally, or in neighbouring countries, we are also poised to assist any who come to the UK.
We are working on using our expertise in Ukraine and with refugees in the UK to assist with the Government's new 'Homes for Ukraine' scheme. Find out more about the scheme here.
We are also now welcoming Ukrainian refugees onto our Specialist Training and Employment Programme.
How many Jews live in Ukraine?
When the Soviet Union fell in 1989, 2 million Jews remained in Ukraine. Today, There are between 200,000 and 250,000 Jews in the country. The largest Jewish communities are in Odesa, Kyiv, Kharkiv and Dnipro.
How does World Jewish Relief work with them?
Through 29 partners, our programmes actively reach more than 13,000 of the most vulnerable Ukrainian Jewish community members each year, helping people to find sustainable employment and to live their older years in dignity, with their welfare needs met.
Since 2014 we have assisted those affected by the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, within and beyond the Jewish community, including internally displaced people who have had to uproot their lives and rebuild them elsewhere.
Do you support Ukrainians outside the Jewish community?
During the 2014 conflict we provided humanitarian relief to people worst affected by the fighting in Eastern Ukraine, irrespective of religion. We doing so again now. In addition, many of our partners that would normally operate within the Jewish community have expanded their reach, and we are making sure funds are available for them to help anyone they can, within and beyond the Jewish community.
However, we are working closely with the Government to support their Homes for Ukraine Scheme. We are also scaling up our Refugee employment programmes here in the UK in order to offer them to Ukrainians who are arriving.
Are you helping Jews leave to go to Israel?
The Israeli Government/Jewish Agency take the lead on providing routes to Israel and we and our partners cooperate closely with them and with the American Joint Distribution Committee to facilitate this. Despite the conflict, many Ukrainians and Ukrainian Jews are still reluctant to leave the country, as it has always been their home. Our priority is to do our utmost to assist those who will inevitably have to stay in Ukraine, and to support refugees in the surrounding countries where we have partners - for example Moldova and Poland, and here in the UK.