ERR in Ukraine: Estonian aid organization taking hope to Ukrainians

NGO Slava Ukraini warehouse in Ukraine.
NGO Slava Ukraini warehouse in Ukraine. Source: ERR

Many in Estonia donate to NGO Slava Ukraini that aims to help both ordinary citizens and Ukrainian troops. "Aktuaalne kaamera" looked into how help reaches those in need.

NGO Slava Ukraini has its base and warehouse in the city of Dnipro from where aid is dispatched to areas nearer the front. The first stop is Bakhmut where Ukrainian soldiers are expecting winter uniforms.

"We are giving them 68 sets – as many as they asked. They've got everything they need here: warm winter slacks, warm winter coat, fleece jumper, thermal clothes, hats, balaclava and a winter camo kit," Slava Ukraini executive manager Johanna-Maria Lehtme said.

"We met Johanna once in Kharkiv where they [Slava Ukraini] gave us a car. We kept in touch and sent them a video of our work. Next, we wrote to them again with what we need, and they helped us again. They are more than volunteers. We've become friends," Ukrainian soldier Dmytro said.

The next time, "Aktuaalne kaamera" met with Lehtme and her team in Nikopol, a town across the river from the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant that frequently comes under fire.

The nonprofit works with Ukrainian volunteers who have a better overview of local people's needs and who can assess risks.

"We split into two groups in Orikhiv the day before yesterday. One group went to Huliaipole and the other to Orikhiv. The latter group came under mortar fire. They were on their way out of the area and the last shell fell just three meters from their vehicle Thank God they were unharmed, but there is always that risk," said Gennadi Vaskiv, executive manager of Ukrainian NGO All for Victory.

ERR war correspondent Anton Aleksejev said that while he and cameraman Kristjan Svirgsden are said to bring news from hell, Johanna Lehtme and NGO Slava Ukraini are taking hope to hell.

"A campaign called 'Christmas of Hope in Ukraine' is launching and it is our aim to give 100,000 Ukrainians hope through a special "hope package" that has food, hygiene, warmth and light. We are collecting money for the purpose, with a single box costing €60. We are trying to bring the price of a few other items down so we could add them to the package," Lehtme said.

"It includes 1-kilogram packs of buckwheat, flour, sugar, salt, pasta, tomato paste. A week's worth of food for two people, but since they eat seldom because of fear that humanitarian aid could end, it will last them longer," Lehtme said.

It is possible to support the "Christmas of Hope in Ukraine" campaign now.


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Editor: Merili Nael, Marcus Turovski

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