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Here at Vital Voices, our relationships with women in Ukraine and in surrounding countries in Eastern Europe have been fortified by years of partnership in their work. To get a more accurate pulse on the needs of leaders in Ukraine and neighboring countries working to promote peace and provide for newly displaced populations, we recently held a network gathering where we heard from those working on the ground. Straight from women on the frontlines, here are 5 things they want you to know: 

  1. PSYCHOLOGICAL SUPPORT: There is need for psychological support for both those who have remained in Ukraine and volunteers who have stepped up to work on the humanitarian response. There is especially a need for support for children and teens, as well as educational resources for parents to have conversations with them about trauma. Additionally, they are seeking stories of women who have been through similar situations of violence or war for increased solidarity and hope.
  2. MEDICAL SUPPLIES: Many volunteers in neighboring countries have been buying supplies to send to Ukraine or bring to the border for immediate assistance. Connections to pharmaceutical companies or shipments of medical supplies would help subsidize these efforts.
  3. LONG TERM AID: Aside from immediate assistance, there is also a need for long term support and strategy, given that many Ukrainian people are displaced and may need to permanently resettle. Needs included may be new language acquisition, lodging, employment, and government status (social security, etc.). NGOs who are stepping in now will also need a financial strategy in place for sustained support.
  4. INFORMATIONAL RESOURCES: Especially with regards to the increased risk that women and children face for human trafficking and exploitation, educational resources are needed in Ukrainian and Russian to spread awareness about the threat of trafficking. 
  5. AWARENESS & AMPLIFICATION: As many women are already doing work in the region, it is important to amplify their voices by spreading awareness of their initiatives. Follow @VitalVoices on Twitter and Instagram to follow along as we repost resources from women in our network.