The Eaglewatch is helping Ukraine

25 April 2022 | Eaglewatch for Ukraine

The Russian aggression against Ukraine has very much changed the world around us. War is no longer something distant or difficult to imagine.

The pictures of destruction that we are seeing in the media and more than two million refugees fleeing from Ukraine to our country have made us, the Poles, realize the tragedy of war. It’s a tragedy mainly for the civilians, for ordinary people who simply want to live in peace, go to work and bring their children up in safety. For these people, all these plans were destroyed overnight.

For over six years, the Eaglewatch has been helping the victims of terrorism in the Middle East, mainly in Iraq and Iraqi Kurdistan. We have seen destroyed towns and villages. We have visited places shortly after their liberation that were razed to the ground. During my first trip to Iraq as an Eaglewatch volunteer in March 2017, I went to Batnaya where 90% of buildings were destroyed or damaged. At the time, the town had not been demined yet, so there were mortar missiles stuck in the asphalt everywhere. Over these several years, we’ve had hundreds of conversations with families that have lost relatives, homes, basically everything they had. We’ve spoken with women and children that were captured and abused by the ISIS terrorists.

All the time we are focusing on helping in Iraq where we have many obligations toward the people that need our aid. But since the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, we have also been receiving requests for help from our neighbors.

We are simply trying to act

We are not a large foundation with branches all around the world and tens of employees, hence it is a great challenge for us to work in several fields and within several countries. Apart from Iraq, we are trying to help on a smaller scale in other places where people need assistance. But we already have gained some experience that we’ve decided to put into practice again.

For a while, we have been receiving requests to provide help to the victims of war in Ukraine. Some of these requests come from befriended organizations in Poland that look after thousands of refugees, some of them from Ukraine.

Just before Easter, Bartek went to Ukraine to bring food to people who haven’t left their hometowns and villages around Kyiv which had been under Russian occupation. He also wanted to see the situation on the ground and how we could be of help. We didn’t announce it officially since we decided to act first and tell about it later. On his trip to Ukraine, Bartek was accompanied by Michał and Marek. Marek is one of our permanent volunteers and donors, and he brought an ambulance to evacuate the wounded. Both of them have already visited Iraq with us as well.

The main goal of their trip was to reach the Saint Martin Center in Fastiv, a city located southwest of Kyiv, that takes care of women and children from Donbas and distributes food among the residents of villages and small towns around Makariv and Borodyanka. They are mainly elderly people living in poverty who didn’t want to leave their modest possessions.

It was also important to assess the situation on the ground and come up with a sensible aid plan for the future. It turned out that there are many things available over there and they are even cheaper in local stores. A good example is pasta that in Poland costs 10 Polish zlotys per kilo, while over there it’s half this price. It shows that aid should be organized diligently and in cooperation with the locals.

Aid needs to be thought through

Ukraine is not a failed state and we need to be aware that shops are still working there and many products are available. The problem is that many people cannot afford to buy much. That’s particularly the case with people displaced from the east of Ukraine who decided not to go to Poland or other countries. Millions of people have remained in Ukraine and they will need our help for a long time. Our goal is to help the victims of war in the time when they need it, especially women, children and the elderly. We will also try to find a way to help these people go back home and start their lives anew.

We can already see that many Ukrainian refugees have decided to leave Poland and go back home which shows that their biggest dream is to return to normality. We will try to help them with that. We’ve been doing that in Iraq and it’s working.

We’ll also try to make sure that our aid for Ukraine will not have any negative impact on our activities in Iraq. People over there still need us. Maybe even more than before, since at the moment all eyes are on a different part of the world. During my last trip to Iraq in April, which I will write about in another article, many people asked me about the situation in Poland and how we were getting on. They know that the Poles are wonderful. They worry about us and our safety. The Iraqi media do not say much about the war in Ukraine, but people that know us search for information on what is happening in Poland and our neighborhood.

Author: Dawid Czyż

We have decided to create separate fundraising for the victims of war in Ukraine. The raised funds will be allocated to buy food and the most indispensable products for people living in small towns and villages that were under the Russian occupation. With time, we would like to carry out larger and more developed projects that will aim at helping people to go back to normal lives, such as the purchase of livestock for those that used to do farming before the war, as well as the reconstruction of destroyed houses.

The Eaglewatch is helping Ukraine

Special purpose fundraise for support people in Ukraine

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