When the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine arose, Joel founded the nonprofit, Ukrainian Children, Inc., and began raising funds for direct relief of those fleeing the war. Our team is working face-to-face with refugees to determine the most impactful ways of providing support through many projects.
Through The Starfish Project, Ukrainian Children, Inc. processes payments directly to refugees. We currently provide support to nearly 70 individuals and counting. They communicate with us on an almost daily basis to provide pictures and written accounts of their lives. The funds go directly to the affected individuals, enabling them to allocate their own expenses across food, clothing, medicine, rent, and utilities as they see fit.
In November of 2022, Andrea Esty joined our team and started the Wood Stove Project, whereby we purchase Ukrainian-made stoves and distribute them with the help of Ukrainian-paid installers and volunteers. Recipients are usually living in harrowing conditions (bombed out homes with no heat or electricity). These stoves can be a real lifeline, providing heat and cooking capability. These installers, too, provide stories and photos of the people who benefit from this program.
In January 2023, we started the Window Project. We again use volunteers and hire Ukrainians to temporarily repair bombed-out windows with a novel, new approach developed by a bright group of Cambridge University graduates. Working in tandem with their NGO, Insulate Ukraine, the windows provide insulation from the outdoors along with interior light that wood repairs do not.
In 2023, Gary and Ellen Wasserson joined the Ukrainian Children team, adding additional projects and support to the scope of our humanitarian aid. Projects include establishing a second summer of camp for Ukrainian refugee children in Warsaw, sponsoring resettled refugees and empowering refugee women with job training initiatives, providing timely and direct medical aid for wounded and sick Ukrainians, helping to supply improved medical devices to the wounded to avoid amputation, and connecting those in need to advanced prosthetics.
It brings us great joy to share these stories on our website, and we look forward to the possibility of building relationships between refugee families and donors if both parties are willing to make that connection.
Please, become involved by giving to the needs of displaced children and families. The victims of this merciless war need our help!