A small volunteer-led aid group’s humanitarian relief efforts can mean the difference between life and death for someone in Ukraine.
How tiny, volunteer group raised $57m for Ukraine
Kateryna Terekhova proudly shows off the new shelter she has created inside an abandoned schoolhouse in Zakarpattia, Ukraine, an area near the border with Slovakia, Romania, and Hungary. Over a video call, she points out the separate communal rooms for men, women and families. The dozens of beds have new mattresses and linens. The bathrooms and showers are new, too. She loves the kitchen, which churns out three free meals a day for residents.
People lounge on beds; a girl is scrunched up on a bench in the dining room, staring at her phone. Outside it’s quiet in this rural area — a relatively safe reprieve for people who have fled the terror of the Russian invasion.
Terekhova fled here herself with her extended family from Kyiv in the opening days of the war and almost immediately began working on ways to help. As soon as she saw the schoolhouse, she knew it would make a perfect shelter. But it would require work — it had been empty for four years and had no plumbing or central heating.
She was part of a chat group with IT Troops, a group of Ukrainian technology workers and entrepreneurs who help get supplies to troops and fund humanitarian work. They put Terekhova in charge of their humanitarian efforts. The group had been in contact with Razom for Ukraine, a US-based charity run by Ukrainian and Ukrainian American volunteers.