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Homes for Ukraine, a chance to step up and offer a helping hand during times of a humanitarian crisis

Since the end of World War II, Europe has not seen an exodus of people fleeing their homeland like it is currently experiencing with Ukraine. Since the invasion of Ukraine began in February, over four million people have been displaced. Sadly, the refugee crisis still rages on as Russia continues to invade and forcefully occupy the once peaceful, warm, and cheerful cities of Ukraine.

So far, at least a quarter of Ukraine’s population has fled their homes to seek refuge in neighboring countries like Poland, Moldova, and Hungary. As more people continue to make their way out of the country, the need for support and contributions to the displaced families cannot be overemphasized.

Virtually every country around the globe is doing its best to lend a helping hand as a show of solidarity and what the international community describes as a “united front against an act of aggression.” While Ukraine continues to get both humanitarian and military aid from friends and allies around the world, there is still so much that can be done to help the country and its people tide over these very difficult times.

Support Ukraine and Lend your voice against the injustice

Cloaked in the invasion are war crimes ranging from attacks on innocent civilians and infrastructure that doesn’t pose any threat to the aggressors. Recently, open graves and lifeless bodies of people trying to find their way to safety were found lying in the streets. And this is in addition to the blockade of escape corridors that prevent aid and relief materials from reaching the people who are trapped in the cities.

Reminiscing on the words of Frederic Lenz, he once said, ” selfless giving is the art of living.” Sharing the same philosophy, the famous Mahatma Gandhi was quoted to have said, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”

More people are beginning to realize that the war isn’t against Ukraine alone but the entire humanity. As such, more countries are rolling out schemes that are geared toward catering to the needs of Ukrainian families seeking safety and an opportunity for a fresh start in life.

One such scheme is the humanitarian parole in the United States of America and the “Home for Ukraine scheme” in the United Kingdom. These laudable schemes and many more like them are put in place to get as many Ukrainians as possible (especially women and children) out of harm’s way since the country is under martial law.

Let’s take a second to touch on these schemes and how you can leverage them to lend a helping hand to Ukrainian refugees.

What is the United Kingdom doing for Ukrainian families torn apart by the war?

Coming after the U.K. government came under scrutiny for not doing enough to help people fleeing the conflict in Ukraine, “The home for Ukraine scheme” saw the light of day sometime in March. As we mentioned earlier, the scheme allows U.K. families to take in Ukrainian families seeking refuge in the U.K. into their homes and cater to their needs. Thereby serving as their “sponsor” under the scheme.

To show people’s willingness to get refugees out of the cold and hostile environment, the scheme saw an outpour of people signing up to be hosts — at least 100,000 people stepped forward to be hosts on the first day. By the 29 of March, at least 2600+ visas had been approved and issued out of the over 28000 applications that came in through the scheme.

U.K Home for Ukraine scheme

As the aggression in Ukraine rages on, a significant number of Ukrainians have left the warmth and safety of their homes to seek refuge in subway tunnels where they can get some level of protection from the unprovoked shelling and bombings that continue to take the lives of innocent and harmless citizens.

As a means of extending a hand of friendship, The United Kingdom announced that its doors are now open to refugees fleeing the war in Ukraine. This scheme allows people from Ukraine to apply to live in the U.K. They will be taken in by households who enrol in the scheme; they will serve as hosts and will get monthly payments for sharing their homes with the people that are displaced by the chaos.

Yes, anyone can apply to be a host

Contrary to popular misconceptions about the scheme, the scheme is open to anyone who is interested in becoming a host to Ukrainian families who are forced to leave their motherland and seek a fresh start in the United Kingdom.

All you have to do is register via the dedicated government website. Your nationality almost doesn’t matter — your nationality doesn’t hinder you from signing up as a host. All that matters is that you have a minimum of six months’ clearance to live in the United Kingdom. You also need to prove that you have the facility to host the refugees for at least six months. The applicants will further be vetted by regulatory authorities to ensure that the property meets the standard requirement set by the government.

The Ukrainian families coming to the U.K. under the scheme will also undergo security checks before they are matched with their host. And No! You don’t need to know the refugees before you can host them. However, you will have to check out the family or individual you want to sponsor on the government website or visit visa application centers where Ukrainians without international passports go to apply for visas under the scheme.

Even though you are doing this out of altruism and from a place of love, you will still get £350 monthly payment from the government. And you are not obligated to cater to their food and clothing because the government will pay for those expenses. However, you can make provision for that if you can afford it.

£10,500 will also be made available to regulatory authorities in the area to cater to support services such as enrolling children in school, making arrangements for English classes, and managing job center appointments for your guests.

The refugees that got into the U.K. under the scheme will have access to state benefits and will be allowed to work. And all of these are in addition to three years of access to public services. Refugees are allowed to come in with their pets. You also don’t have to lose sleep over the quarantine procedure for the animals because it is streamlined, and the incurred expenses will be sorted by the government.

Your donations will go a long way to rekindle hope in the heart of Ukrainians

While the “Home for Ukraine” scheme and other similar initiatives around the globe continue to lessen the burden off the shoulders of Ukrainian refugees, it is said that not every displaced person will make it out of the country. However, you can still reach out to them via generous donations. Your donations, no matter how small, will go a long way in getting emergency shelters and relief materials such as blankets to fight off the cold and psychological support.

But that’s not all

Currently sitting at 12 million, the number of people who are stranded or trapped in areas where the conflict and hostility are pronounced, the number of displaced persons is projected to go north of the current figure. These are largely (pregnant) women, children, and people with disabilities.

To help get these people out of harm’s way and cushion the hardship, the United Nations are working alongside charity and non-governmental organizations to provide fleeing Ukrainians with medical and social welfare, housing, and school for children.

Those who cannot leave the country are provided with cash to meet their basic needs. They are also given foldable beds and tarpaulins. Women, children, and the aged are also provided with information and guides for onward travel at designated transit points.

How are other countries helping Ukrainian refugees?

E.U. member countries now offer blanket passes or rights to Ukrainian refugees. This right allows them to live in any of the 27 countries and work for a period of three years. To help sustain these efforts, you can reach out to charity organisations in bordering countries like Poland and Moldova to send in your token.

While one person cannot meet the needs of every Ukrainian in these difficult times, our collective efforts will make a big difference and will go a long way in putting a smile on their faces while also serving as a beacon of hope — a source of strength to push on and keep faith alive.

Charity begins at home

There’s been many varieties of this Quote. The crisis gives this Quote a different much needed meaning and it is now especially applicable.

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