I am Jürgen, an Austrian journalist based in Bratislava. For the past months, I have been engaging in collecting and shipping aid for people in Ukraine. It all started with the urge to do something to help my friends from Mariupol, who are part of the collective Freefilmers. Fortunately all of them have managed to escape the hell of what used to be their hometown and some have found a relatively safe place to stay in Zaporizhzhia. The city near the front line also became the base for their volunteering activities, aiming to use their networks in order to help people affected by russian aggression.
Back in March and April 2022 I worked as a volunteer at the Slovak-Ukrainian border in Vyšné Nemecké, offering a helping hand to people fleeing from the war. There I also met guys who helped me to bring humanitarian aid across the border to Uzhhorod. And since then we already managed to collect and deliver several van-loads as well as smaller packages based on a grassroots-supply chain, enabling us to send our material aid directly where it’s needed. My friends in Ukraine support a number of initiatives focused on particularly vulnerable communities (elderly, LGBTIQ, Roma, orphans, etc.) as well as people in rural communities with limited access to humanitarian aid.
Therefore we provide them some of the things they need. And we would be glad if you help us with that.
In early July I will go on another humanitarian journey to Ukraine. And you can contribute too – for instance by donating some of the following items, which are currently needed the most:
- Sewing and embroidery kits (We distribute them in IDPs or in safe spaces for women (for example in the village of Lukasheve near Zaporizhzhia)
- Knitting sets (We distribute them among IDPs in villages. They knit socks and sweaters for their relatives and sometimes for other people in their communities or for soldiers)
- Acrylic paints, gouache and other paints (For young artists from East UIkraine. We have lots of contacts, both kids from art school and students who study arts)
- Lego kits (These will go to the volunteer centre “Harne Mistse” in Zaporizhzhia, which offers creative activities for IDPs)
Materials for making adaptive clothes
- Cotton fabric by the meter (flannel, calico etc. Please only new material not second hand clothes)
- Fleece by the meter
- Tricot fabric by the meter for making adaptive T-shirts and pants.
- Overlock thread 120
- Velcro tape, width 20
- Elastic band for sewing, width 20 and 30 mm
These are essential materials for our colleagues from the collective of seamstresses “Shveina Rota“ in Dnipro, who are making adaptive clothes for patients after major surgeries (http://www.instagram.com/shveina_rota/).
Household stuff and tools
- Petrol saws, electric saws
- Electric drills
- Angle grinders
- Electric pumps (for pumping water from ponds or wells)
- All types of household tools (wrenches, saws, screwdrivers, etc.)
- Metal canisters (for fuel for generators)
- Rakes, spades
These items will go to the community of Arkhanhelske, a village in Kherson Oblast, where people have lost everything, but they’re planning to come back in the spring to rebuild their houses and gardens. For now there’s no electric supplies in the village, as repair works depend on demining process, but by the beginning of spring we expect the electric supplies to be restored in the village.
- Microwaves, food processors and other kitchen electric appliances (all second hand)
We have a lot of requests from refugee families who have to settle in new places, also from volunteer centres which cook meals for IDPs and/or soldiers.
Other items, that are still needed
- Laptops, smartphones and tablets (second hand) (For IDPs who need to continue studies or work)
- Budget video cameras with digital zoom (second hand) (Soldiers use them as telescopic sights)
- Regular batteries (AA, AAA)
- Sleeping bags (second hand or new, for leisure or military use)
- Travel and military backpacks (more than 50 l, second hand)
- Tactical backbags (second hand)
These things will go to IDPs as well as to members of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
- Nappies for adults (different sizes)
- Absorbent (urological) pads, both for men and women
- Ostomy pouches
For refugees with disabilities in a facility near Zaporizhzhia.
In case you could provide medical material, please contact us. We have an additional detailed list of needs of paramedics operating at the frontline and hospitals in our region.
Alternatively you can also support us financially. Just contact me and I will provide you the details.
We collect those items in Bratislava, Košice, or Žilina (during Fest Anča) – just drop me a message. Our idea is to leave to Ukraine around July 5, 2023.
We take care of all necessary logistical steps, including transport to and shipping within Ukraine. Additionally, we provide frequent documentation about the process of distribution.
Thanks for your solidarity!
Freefilmers is a collective of filmmakers and artists, originally from Mariupol, Ukraine. For the past five years, they have been working with topics of urban transformations in East Ukraine and its multicultural vibes. They have also researched the working-class creativity and industrial past and present of post-socialist cities. Currently the most important sequence on their timeline is not about movies, but about building a network of solidarity and support for Ukrainians who are suffering from and fighting against Russian imperialist aggression.