More than £2 million has been donated to an emergency appeal set up by the Association of Ukrainians in Great Britain (AUGB) to help Ukraine.
So far £2,133,310 has been raised through the “Help Ukraine Emergency Appeal” GoFundMe set up by the AUGB. It has had over 35,000 individual donations.
Dr Tanya Klymenko, 45, senior lecturer of Biomedical Science at Sheffield Hallam University and non-executive director at the AUGB, said: “I speak for every Ukrainian here that we are extremely grateful to ordinary British people for their unbelievable show of support from monetary donations, to goods and symbolic gestures.”
The AUGB was founded in 1946 by Ukrainians at the end of World War 2 to support the interests of Britain’s growing Ukrainian population.
Dr Klymenko, who is Ukrainian but currently lives in Sheffield, said the AUGB held a meeting on 5 February 2022, weeks before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, in fear of the worst. She explained that there has always been ‘paranoia’ surrounding the safety of Ukrainians, so the AUGB felt it was necessary to set up the fund before the war began.
Although the initial fundraising goal was £50,000, the generosity of the British people meant this goal was quickly reached. The goal was then increased to £2 million, which has also now been surpassed.
The donations are being used to fund emergency relief operations carried out by the International Red Cross, the Ukrainian Red Cross and Association Іnternationale de Сoopération Medicine (AICM), which are the only three humanitarian organisations currently working inside Ukraine.
A proportion of the funds has already been spent on medical equipment, food packs and clothing. Anna Dezyk, one of the organisers of the GoFundMe, said: “We sincerely thank you for your donations and are working hard to keep up the momentum of helping the people of Ukraine!”
When asked about the severity of the war, Dr Klymenko said: “I think we need to treat it as a huge wake up call to people here in the West. A catastrophe like this is only one country away from you so please treat it seriously.
“It is a danger which is hanging over every one of us here,” she added.