Helping Ukrainian Refugees in the US and Beyond

Despite active fighting, frequent missile attacks, and ongoing destruction, Ukraine is becoming stronger, and the aggressor is becoming weaker. The heroic defense of Mariupol continues, while western military aid has improved qualitatively and quantitatively.

However, the war is taking a heavy toll on civilians. Over 5 million Ukrainian refugees are now in Europe, tens of thousands are making it into the US, while millions remain internally displaced in Ukraine. The need for humanitarian aid is growing quickly, and Nova Ukraine continues to provide food, medicine and services to the people of Ukraine. Unfortunately, we and other nonprofits helping Ukraine are seeing considerable donor fatigue, and we cannot fund many worthwhile proposals that we receive. Your continued support in funding our projects in Ukraine is essential.

Our Impact To Date

Our spending to date by category is summarized below:

Ukrainian Refugees Arrive in Tijuana

The United States is not the first country on the way out of war-torn Ukraine. The first stop is typically in Poland, Romania, Slovakia, or Moldova. However, Ukrainians with family ties in the US try to make their way there. As US airports are not yet accepting refugees, Ukrainians fleeing the war take a circuitous route – through Europe to Mexico where visas are stamped into passports. At the San Ysidro border crossing, refugees receive the Humanitarian Parole status and enter the US. Compared to 5 million refugees in Europe, our volunteers estimate that 15,000 Ukrainians have recently crossed the US border in Tijuana.

In Tijuana, refugees first arrive at “The Hub” – a makeshift shelter located in a gymnasium and staffed by volunteers. As many as 3,000 refugees wait there every single day to cross the border. The US Border Patrol opened a dedicated crossing for Ukrainians that can process up to 1,000 applications per day. At this crossing, most people entering into the United States receive the “Humanitarian Parole” status – a special status that grants them entry into the country but makes them ineligible for federal benefits. Such parolees have the right to apply for a work authorization – a process that usually takes 6-12 months. Work authorization gives the right to work and also grants a Social Security number required to rebuild one’s live in the United States. The 6-12 month wait means that family members or communities need to support refugees physically and financially before they can support themselves.

New Parole Program for Ukrainians to the USA

The immigration situation in the United States for Ukrainian arrivals is continuously changing. Just this week, the Department of Homeland Security announced that U.S. citizens and organizations will be able to sponsor Ukrainians for humanitarian parole to come to the United States starting April 25, 2022. Under this new program, arrivals in Mexico will no longer be granted humanitarian parole without prior authorization. This program is the result of strong advocacy of Ukrainian American organizations and a big breakthrough for Ukrainians hoping to come to the United States, but it also means that some families who had already booked flights to Mexico may be stuck there. Our volunteers are working hard to keep up with the latest information and make it easily accessible to refugees and their allies.

Nova Ukraine Refugee Portal

To help the refugees, dozens of volunteers in the San Diego area have traveled to the border and to Tijuana. Volunteers assist new arrivals at: the airport in Tijuana, the Hub where refugees gather, the border crossing at San Ysidro, and to help them find their way after entering the country – whether that’s to a shelter on the US side of the border, or to flights to other parts of the country where their friends and families await them.

Nova Ukraine has launched a refugee portal to help refugees find their way into the United States and beyond:

This portal is a one-stop shop for Ukrainians hoping to navigate our arcane immigration system on their journey to settle in the US. Here we post new updates for the changing immigration landscape, as well as have basic resources for starting a new life – getting a driver’s license, finding medical care, and enrolling kids in public school. This resource is available in English, Ukrainian and Russian.

Adopt-a-Family Program

Adopt-a-Family is a direct support program facilitated by volunteers of Nova Ukraine. This pilot program is made possible by people like you. In addition to the benefits of making a tax-deductible donation to the non-profit organization, donors to Adopt-a-Family may choose who will be the final beneficiary of the money.

Our donors can decide to set preferences (or leave blank) who they want to help: a family with multiple children, an orphanage, a single senior adult, etc. After we receive a donation, we send the funds to our recipient(s). Recipients then send us a photo and/or a personal message that we pass to our donors. Our amazing donors can feel and see the real impact of their donations.

Our partnership with allowed us to provide vouchers for free housing to over 5,000 families around the world displaced due to the war in Ukraine. Unfortunately, the demand is significantly outpacing the supply, and we are exploring other partnerships to assist refugees with housing opportunities.

Nova Ukraine Evacuations

We continue evacuating civilians in Ukraine to western parts of the country as well as across the Polish border as an important contribution to our mission. Nova Ukraine volunteers in Ukraine coordinate evacuations of medically fragile patients, families, and individuals. To date our volunteers have evacuated over 7,600 individuals.

This woman is 97 years old. Volunteers evacuated her from Kharkiv to her son in Lviv. This is the 3rd time in her lifetime she has to evacuate because of war: first during World War II, the second time in 2015 from Donbas during Russia’s invasion of the east, and now from Kharkiv to Lviv during Russia’s full-scale assault.

Ambulances for Irpin and Bucha

A Nova Ukraine ambulance was delivered to Irpin thanks to last week’s Facebook fundraiser, with a second ambulance purchased for service in Bucha. The Iprin ambulance arrived in Ukraine full of medication and with two portable ultrasound machines on board.

Wi-Fi for Ukrainian Refugees at San Ysidro

Ukrainian refugees crossing the U.S. Mexico border need internet to get in touch with their loved ones and plan their next steps. With Starlink internet provided by Nova Ukraine and Team4UA, we can serve up to 100 internet users at a time at San Ysidro.
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