After a long journey through war-torn Ukraine, through multiple temporary stops in Europe and awaiting processing in Mexico City under the Uniting for Ukraine program, refugee families have now received authorization to travel to the United States. Here they will start their new lives in a new land. Sadly many still face an uphill climb: due to a lack of government aid and benefits for Ukrainian refugees, they continue to depend on charitable support for basic needs, housing, and work assistance. Help us build a new life for refugees arriving in the United States »
Refugee Center Closing in Mexico City
No sooner did Vladimir land on this continent, along with his wife and five young children, that bad news came from home in Ukraine: one of his brothers had died in the war. Soon thereafter, while at the Mexico City hub run by Nova Ukraine and other volunteer organizations, the tragedy became a double whammy: his other brother gave his life for his country as well.
Every Ukrainian family in Mexico City has a harrowing tale of escaping the war before seeking safe passage to the United States. Most of them arrived in Mexico before the border crossing in Tijuana was closed. Once the Uniting for Ukraine program was rolled out, however, Ukrainians in Mexico had to apply for humanitarian parole in Mexico City and wait there while the application was processed.
Thanks to your donations, Nova Ukraine volunteers have been supplying their needs — everything from purchasing basic necessities to resettling them in the United States. Volunteers help them apply for humanitarian parole, sponsor webinars with legal advice, help a few of them find sponsors, and pay for their tickets to the United States if they have no other means to travel.
On June 1, the camp in Mexico City will be closed, its mission largely accomplished.
Ukrainian Metal Workers Make Ovens for Those in Need
Not every Ukrainian is fighting on the war front, but nearly all are applying their skills and ingenuity to helping Ukraine during this time of crisis. A group of metal workers from Odesa came up with a creative solution to the problems faced of Ukrainians whose homes and cities are lying in ruin. Vukolov Serhii, Minaiev Ihor, Ihor Parshin, and brothers Serhi and Maxim Yakhniv are fabricating portable outdoor ovens to be used for cooking in the open air in areas where homes are destroyed or where indoor cooking is not an option. They are also making similar ovens especially for heating.
They ship these ovens free of charge to various regions but are shown here loading a transport to Kharkiv. With your donations, to date they have made 200 ovens at the rate of 15 to 20 ovens per day. The 50 ovens in this batch are being sent to Nova Ukraine partners.
The five of them have sent their wives and children out of harm’s way while they devote themselves volunteering their time and talents to their country.
Aid Workers in Occupied Cities Face Arrest
For two and a half months the Heart to Heart Humanitarian Center has helped some of the most vulnerable Ukrainians in the Russian-occupied city of Melitopol in southeastern Ukraine. With funding from Nova Ukraine, volunteers have distributed more than 19,000 food kits to 600 elderly and disabled people in areas of active combat. They also helped resettle 2,500 displaced people.
But this desperately needed effort has recently come to an abrupt end. The Russian army closed down the center and arrested Olesya Dorohova, the principal of the local school which doubled as a warehouse for Heart to Heart. Her crime: “Pro-Ukrainian Views.” Thankfully, Dorohova has since been released, but the school remains in Russian hands and the center is not allowed to operate any longer.
This is not the end of our help to the occupied city of Melitopol: the volunteers of the closed center have recommended another trusted partner who continues to work despite the risk of further arrests.