Lev Medin came from Kyiv to Amsterdam to study Communication Science at VU in September. "When I heard that war had broken out, I couldn't sleep for a week. Then I thought: in what way can I and the university help the Ukrainians?" He contacted his lecturer, Esther Schagen, and started the idea for a crowdfunding campaign.
At a meeting organised by VU, he met more Ukrainian students, including Master's student Digital Business and Innovation Uliana Krainska from Lviv. Together with fellow students and staff from the Communication Science department, they organised a brainstorm to shape their campaign. Monday 25 April campaign has started, and for the next four weeks, they will collect products for people in Ukraine. They have a website where people can donate and they will be in the hall of the main building for several days to collect the items.
For the collection, they work together with Ukrainians in the Netherlands Foundation, an organisation that was founded in 2014 and has a lot of experience with collecting and bringing goods to Ukraine. Uliana: "When I met Lev we had many ideas but also many questions about the practical implementation. I contacted this organisation and they are taking care of the logistics. It is important to work with an official organisation so that donors know they can trust that the products will actually reach people in Ukraine."
They collect vitamin pills, torches and batteries, power banks, socks, thermal clothing and dog and cat food. These products were chosen in consultation with the foundation. Uliana: "Most of the products are for people who had to leave their homes all of the sudden and now have little or no basic products. Some products are suitable for people who are hiding underground. Finally, we collect food for pets that residents leave behind when they flee."
Uliana and Lev feel a lot of support from teachers and fellow students, but also fear that the war in Ukraine will become 'normal' for most at some point. Lev: "They go back to their daily lives and I don't blame them, but as a Ukrainian, you can't go back to how it was." The students worry about family and friends in their homeland. Uliana: "I am afraid to open Facebook because I might read bad news about friends." Lev: "I get up and go to bed with news about the war."
For more information about the campaign and to donate, check out the website here. On Monday 2 May, Monday 16 May and Thursday 19 May, it is possible to donate items in the hall of the main building.