We survived a difficult year of the war. This is a year of tests, challenges, and competitions – for strength, loyalty, and unity. The Ukrainian people survived, and the civilized world survived. Thanks to this, we can today talk about our achievements and plans for the future.
How did it all begin?
German-Ukrainian “UKRAINIAN FUTURE” Aid Association was founded almost immediately after the beginning of the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine. Despite all the obstacles, difficulties, and features of the registration procedure, we went through it all very quickly and efficiently. Last but not least, thanks to the caring German citizens.
The “UKRAINIAN FUTURE” Aid Association originated in March 2022. Those were the days when Russian tanks were still standing on the approaches to Kyiv, and the “Rashists” were carrying out their atrocities in Buch, Irpin, and other occupied regions. The world was waiting for Ukraine to fall and was only counting days, or even hours – how long the Ukrainian state had left to exist.
Hanna Praine-Kosach is the vice president of the Association. Originally from Irpin, but has been living in Germany for many years. On February 24, when the whole world was watching the attack on Ukraine, Anna was repeating one simple phrase to all reporters, journalists, and Germans – “You don’t know us well, we won’t give up, and we won’t lose.”
These words looked absurd and self-confident, especially against the events unfolding in Ukraine. Russian troops entered Kyiv, and the offensive took place from 8 directions. The International Intelligence Services predicted the fall of Kyiv. We, in turn, worked on creating an Association. The Association began its history a year ago with the symbolic name “Ukrainian Future”.
The world was frightened. We too. But we were sure we have a future; Ukraine has a future, and the civilized world has a future.
A carefree life is in the past
On February 24, we woke up from the calls of our relatives and friends. “The war has begun”… and from the beginning, it was clear that it was a war of extermination. Everything and everyone. This is precisely the meaning embedded in the idea of war – “Denazification”. From the first hours of the war, it became known about victims among the civilian population, shelling of civilian infrastructure, and kidnappings. All this is not about protection. They came to kill us. On February 23…
The phenomenon of distant war
We often hear that the world is getting tired of war, or even worse, getting used to it. But most of us suffered from the same phenomenon for 8 long years. When Russia annexed the Crimean Peninsula and the war in Donbas began, we were worried and united, determined. But with the signing of the armistice (the Minsk agreements), the war slowly receded into the background. No, hostilities have not ended, but their activity has significantly decreased. It seemed to us that “everything is over”. The war was somewhere far away, we began to forget about it. They went to cafes and restaurants, attended weddings, gave birth to children, built their personal lives – in Lviv, Kyiv, Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson, Mariupol. The battle line was several kilometers away in some places. It seemed to us that the war was over. We lived a normal life until we were woken up on February 24 – someone by phone calls, someone by explosions, and someone did not wake up and was killed.
War is everywhere
It is difficult to realize that somewhere in the world there can be a war while you live in peace. Another country is far away, another continent is even further. It seems that all this is on another planet. But if there is a war somewhere, it is already everywhere. Today the world is globalized, and therefore every conflict in any corner of the globe cannot be foreign to us and we should not get used to it. When the first protection seekers began to arrive in Hamburg, the city was shocked. Women, children, disabled people… Educated people, many of them arrived in their own cars. The war they are fleeing is no longer in Africa or Asia. This war is too close, much closer than it seems.
What was done during the year
What do Ukrainian refugees need?
We immediately started working with refugees. Many of these people came from Irpin with the personal support of Hanna Praine-Kosach. Friends, relatives, familiars – they fled into the “unknown”, saving themselves and their children, while their husbands defend their freedom and peaceful life, which dissolved on February 24.
The most important problems that had to be solved:
People fleeing the war were scared and stressed. They experienced terrible events, forced migration, and many lost familiars. It is complicated to realize that women escaping to Europe said goodbye to their loved ones at the border, not knowing whether they would see each other again.
We organized a hotline where volunteers provided free consultations 24/7. We worked through social networks and phone calls.
In addition, a psychological support headquarters was organized – we united psychologists and teachers to provide free psychological consultations on an ongoing basis and support the emotional state of everyone who needs this help.
With the help of the Hanseatic Bar and Professor Dr. Eckart Brödermann as the main coordinator of our legal project on the beginning, we have set up a voluntary legal support group. Founding member Brödermann and Jahn, from the first days provides pro bono legal advices to the association itself on numerous humanitarian aid projects, such as contracts for donations, logistics, and the purchase and/or financing of donated goods, which should be alway clear and proper documented.
Cooperation with the city, benefactors, churches, organizations
Germans understand very well that war is a public horror. What is happening now in Ukraine, it was never to be repeated anywhere. But it happened again. And only thanks to cooperation and solidarity with the Germans, we could provide direct assistance to all those who sought protection in Germany, especially in the north. The “UKRAINIAN FUTURE” Aid Association works in Hamburg, but we have close connections and support from all corners, not only of Germany but also of the world.
Thanks to the cooperation and support of the Church of Hamburg, the City Senate, and such organizations as “F&W”, “Diakonie”, and “Haspa”, thanks to the care of the Germans, we were able to start our activities in the shortest possible time. And this year, so quick, but at the same time long, we have done a lot!
Assistance to Ukrainians seeking protection in Germany
Living in another country is always stressful, especially if the move is unplanned. Most of the refugees are mothers with children. Being under severe stress, it is challenging to adapt and get used to new rules of life. Our cooperation with German lawyers and advocates simplifies life and adaptation for Ukrainians – how to find a job, study, protect my rights, and in general – what am I entitled to?
All this is available on our social networks. We worked on many issues to help Ukrainians integrate into Germany.
Of course, there are situations when you need the help of lawyers. Therefore, besides the hotline, our crisis team includes 35 volunteer lawyers who provide free legal assistance and support to Ukrainians.
For Ukrainians, this holiday is one of the most important of the year. Traditionally, this was spent in the family circle, with visits to the church and consecration of Easter baskets. But, despite all the difficulties, we could present Ukrainians with this holiday. Thanks to a volunteer, we bought over 1000 baskets, invited a priest, and spent this day as if there was no war.
In addition, we organized the opportunity to visit the circus for free for Ukrainians. In general, this day was profitable for us – for smiles, children’s laughter, and joy!
Holidays and a good mood are tough to combine in mind when you understand that a bloody war of destruction is going on in the Motherland. Our children understand what is happening and are going through this difficult time with us. And we do everything possible to give them a childhood. And we sincerely hope that our children will live in a peaceful country and will not have to fight, correcting past mistakes.
Training programs for Ukrainian women in the field of IT, robotics, and marketing in social networks
Integration is a complex process. Especially when they have the children on hand and the husband is at the front. We realize that the best way to integrate into society is through education and work. Also, we considered the need for Ukrainian refugees to remain flexible. That is why, with the support of our partners, in particular Meta (Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp), we launched a training program for Ukrainians.
IT direction, advertising, promotion in social networks – everything that can be done remotely and receive a decent salary. We teach and learn!
Sunday school for Ukrainian children with free classes
In addition to teaching adults, we also take care of children. We aspire to preserve the Ukrainian soul and worldview in them. Children are our future and our present, for which we live. Thanks to the support of caring Germans, we were able to hold classes for children and organize workshops every week.
Our teachers teach Ukrainian studies, drawing, robotics (more on that below), and English.
We invest everything we have in children. Children are the most significant value for us.
School of robotics and computer graphics for children from 4 years old
Even the youngest of us are digitized. From childhood, we begin to think algorithmically and try to understand everything that surrounds us, and this desire is difficult to control. We want to know everything about everything.
Robotics, programming… Sound too complicated?
And we successfully teach this to children from the age of 4! With the fund’s money, we organized a robotics club at the Ukrainian school. Children learn to work on a computer, build simple programs, learn to solve problems, and socialize.
A robotics course is another way to interact with the world and build it the way we want to see it. Everything is possible. And we teach our children to do this!
Psychological support for mothers and children
The psychological condition is no less critical than the physical condition. Since our team is primarily volunteers from the combat zone, psychological stability is not an empty word. We know how difficult it is to stay balanced and even more challenging to hold on in a foreign country with child in their arms. That is why we have organized the headquarters of psychological assistance, which works free of charge in various formats:
- Personal meetings and consultations
- Group meetings
- Video conferences
But our main activity is aimed primarily at helping Ukraine and those who remained there. Humanitarian aid is provided both in de-occupied and temporarily occupied territories. Food, medicine, medical equipment, equipment, personal hygiene products…
Humanitarian aid, which was sent to Ukraine
An ambulance and medical equipment to Ukraine
According to information from the Ministry of Health, more than 649 ambulances were damaged, destroyed, and stolen since the beginning of the full-scale invasion. (Resource: https://www.kmu.gov.ua/news/moz-otrymalo-50-reanimobiliv-u-mezhakh-initsiatyvy-riatuiemo-zhyttia)
Realizing this number will not be final, we have transferred to Ukraine 1 armored “ambulance” with equipment to rescue people in dangerous regions. An ordinary ambulance can become a coffin for both doctors and victims. Armored “ambulance” – a chance to save not only the injured but also protect brave medics who go out on call under fire.
Partnership with the Ministry of Health of Ukraine
We work with the Міністерство охорони здоров’я України, МОЗ (English: Ministry of Health of Ukraine) directly, under contracts. This allows us to bypass intermediaries and concentrate on work.
Thanks to a unique monitoring system, we can find out the request at any time, get acquainted with the documentation, and quickly satisfy the need.
Cardiomonitors and patient monitors, ultrasound machines
All this medical equipment is saved lives. Ultrasound machines for mobile hospitals allow you to effectively detect debris and move to surgical intervention as soon as possible, even in a war zone. Unfortunately, the Russians use tactics of mass terror against the civilian population. In the autumn, when we sent these devices, we watched daily how the occupiers destroyed our civilian infrastructure and people were pulled out dead from the rubble of their houses.
Kherson, Kharkiv region, Zaporizhzhia direction, Donbas, Mykolaiv, and Dnipro – all these regions are actively bombarded by the Russians using mortars, firearms, and rocket artillery. This weapon is aimed, first of all, at the destruction of human resources on the perimeter.
For the Russian army, this is a life force. For us, these are friends, relatives, neighbors, relatives, or even strangers.
The equipment we handed over already saves people’s lives and health in Ukraine.
Purchase of medicines, equipment, and hygiene items
In Ukraine, there is a need for virtually everything, even such simple things as napkins, cold medicine, soap, and shampoo. Everything that seems mundane becomes a real treasure and salvation for people going through war. We thank our second deputy chairman Natalia Kornienko, who is our contact in Kyiv with Ukrainian ministries and Ukrainian associations. She is responsible for approving and documenting on site that donations actually reach the addressees.
Support of Ukraine with generators
- A powerful generator of 100 kw for a field hospital. Energy security in conditions of constant shelling is a difficult task. But many people’s lives depend on this security. We donated one generator for the field hospital to stabilize first aid provision in critical conditions.
- 100 kw generator for the Kherson Military Administration. During the war, Ukraine is under martial law. Cities and regions are governed not only by people’s elected officials but also by the military. This is done to increase the safety of citizens and better coordination. Thanks to our contact with Kherson and the Military Administration of the liberated regional center, we learned that such a generator would be helpful for the townspeople.
Equipment for Kyiv Maternity Hospital and hospitals in Ukraine
- One fetal monitor “TEAM3A”. Allows you to effectively monitor the heart rate of the fetus with the help of susceptible sensors and a unique digital system data processing simultaneous automatic calculation and analysis of antenatal CTG(cardiotocography) for each fetals in real time, starting from 24 weeks of pregnancy, to recognize the presence and severity of chronic fetal hypoxia;
- One heater “FT70” for infusion solutions and blood. Advanced dry heating technology ensures fast heating and efficient heating. Easy to use: quick installation of the infusion system in the heating circuit and 24-hour operation mode;
- One Infusion pump “VP1”. Ideal for emergencies and patient transport. High precision and highly sensitive air bubble filtration meet all clinical requirements;
- One portable vein scanner with a mobile tripod. The venous scanner will help doctors and nurses easily identify the veins of newborns and children, overweight patients, burn, oncological, tuberculosis patients, drug addicts, patients who have received intravenous injections for a long time, patients with dark skin, etc.
- Vacuum aspirator “VARIO 18AC”. Multifunctional, portable aspirator. The vacuum is created using a piston/cylinder system (QuatroFlexTM);
- Patient heating system “RAMONAK-03”. The RAMONAK-03 system is designed for safe and effective heating of patients on the operating table, prevention and treatment of hypothermia and complications caused by it in the pre-, intra-, and post-operative periods;
- 300 LED headlamps for doctors (critical for performing operations without light).
Warm blankets for Kharkiv
In cooperation with the local authorities of the city of Kharkiv, we donated blankets to people whose houses were destroyed due to the war. Kharkiv, despite the complete release of the blockade, remains a hot spot, as it is close to the borders with the Russian Federation. The attacks are carried out by ballistic missiles, which makes it almost impossible to intercept them with our air defense. However, despite all the troubles, the people of Kharkiv hold firm. And we are glad that we helped them survive this winter.
Convoy for the Ukrainian future
In February, we delivered our largest batch of aid to Ukraine. The list is truly impressive, and it is all thanks to you:
- Armored Landrover for medical service;
- Jeep for medical purposes;
- Mercedes Benz Ambulant Transport (ambulance car);
- Mobile heater “MH Heizmobil”. Designed for heating residential buildings, the mobile heat generator can be used anywhere;
- Diesel generator;
A convoy of two trucks with humanitarian aid
- Three heat generators;
- Generators 9.8kw;
- Generators 100kw;
- Eighteen pallets of stewed meat;
- Eighteen pallets (500 kg each) of canned meat “Farmer’s Breakfast”;
- Twenty-four pallets (500 kg each) of canned meat.
The total cost of the convoy is 650,000 euros. Here, every cent is aimed at warming Ukrainians, feeding them, and rescuing victims who are difficult to reach.
The Russians came to free us, but we had our homes, our fields. We had a place to live, something to eat, a place to study, to be treated… And now, all this would not have happened if it were not for the support of each of our patrons, friends, and partners.
In March of this year, we are planning, or have already delivered, assistance according to the following list:
• Transcutaneous bilirubinometer;
• Mobile videobronchoscope;
• Three special cars for water supply;
• Mercedes Benz Sprinter (2008) with about 40 boxes of children’s clothes, toys, and hygiene products.
In general, during the year of activity, we worked on several fronts – helping refugees in Germany, helping Ukrainians in occupied and de-occupied territories, and providing humanitarian aid. This year was challenging, but we managed to cross the threshold of 1 million euros, which was aimed at helping the victims.
All this became possible only thanks to the care and support of each of you. Every cent was spent transparently.
We prepared that report as a whole team of Ukrainian volunteers. We reported our financial activities and calculated expenses and income. We still have a lot of work to do because the war continues. Moreover, we will continue to work.
We started our activities as a situational response to the challenges of the war. Still, now, a year later, we are ready to respond to the challenges of the future to build the Ukrainian Future.
This year began for us on February 24, 2022. Most of our volunteer team are women from Irpen and the vicinity of Kyiv. We are different – by nationality, language, education, and wealth… but we felt the same. And that was the uncertainty of today. We didn’t know if we would survive until tomorrow, but we survived until 2023.
We have no choice but to fight and win.
Thanks to each of you! We live! We are working!