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A real volunteer hub

Story and photo: Oksana Matijchuk

Illustration: #AnnaSarvira


Before the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Oksana worked as an employee of the International Office of Chernivtsi National University and the head of the NGO Ukrainian-German Cultural Society of Chernivtsi. Through this work, Oksana developed a wide base of contacts with European educational, academic and cultural institutions. These connections have now put her in a position to help channel humanitarian aid and donations to Ukraine.

On February 24, the Institute for German Culture and History of South-Eastern Europe (Munich) was the first to reach out to Oksana's team and ask what exactly Ukrainians needed and how the institute could help. Guided by the experience of 2014, when Russia attacked Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts, Oksana mentioned how money transfers could benefit refugees and the existing needs at the front. Together with the Munich Institute, they decided to open a bank account for donations in Germany to facilitate money transfers from Europeans and Americans. Officially, the team can't buy military items like bulletproof vests, so they buy either humanitarian aid for displaced people or food and support equipment (like flashlights or power banks) for the military.

In this way, the Chernivtsi National University turned into a real volunteer hub. There are several small and large warehouses on the territory of the university with humanitarian aid, which comes from the EU, and then goes to the centers of displaced persons or to the front.


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