Proper professional education and training start with sharing of expertise and experience. Razom’s Co-Pilot Project has had this approach as its cornerstone for the past five years, bringing American surgeons to Ukraine to provide their Ukrainian colleagues with hands-on trainings.
And now, Co-Pilot Project has just been described and discussed in the Lancet Neurology, one of the most reputable journals in the clinical neurosciences, which is heavily read by clinicians. As the journal’s website states: “With an Impact Factor of 59·935, we are the world-leading clinical neurology journal, ranking first among 212 clinical neurology journals globally (2021 Journal Citation Reports®, Clarivate 2022).” Thus, the article is expected to have high visibility and response.
The article entitled “Urgent need for neurological care in Ukraine” serves as a call for aid to help improve neurological training for Ukrainian surgeons. The members of the neurosurgery and neurology communities “urge our colleagues in the medical community to join us in our efforts to improve neurological care in Ukraine.”, – reads the article. The authors “have compiled a list of urgent needs, as directly requested by local practitioners (appendix).” They encourage neurosurgeons and neurologists “to join our trips to Ukraine to provide in-person assistance and training” and health professionals “to contact their medical institutions and enquire about equipment and supplies that could be donated.” The authors highlight the key role of Razom in monitoring “the use of funds along with the delivery and utilisation of donations.”
Such training in advanced surgical skills is now more vital than ever, as many Ukrainians are being severely injured and wounded in the russian-Ukrainian war. We are deeply grateful for the support of the neurosurgery and neurology communities. Special thank-yous go to Luke Tomycz, Christopher Markosian, Oleksandr Strelko, Andrii Sirko, Mykhailo Lovha, Rocco Armonda and all the authors for their assistance in spreading the information about the CPP project and the current needs of Ukrainian surgeons.
The ongoing conflict in Ukraine has had a profound impact on the lives of countless individuals and communities. The Razom Advocacy team recaps the past year of the full-scale invasion in Ukraine and provides a comprehensive overview of the events and developments that have taken place over the past year, including the impact of the conflict on human lives, infrastructure, and the broader geopolitical landscape.
Razom is multifaceted support for Ukraine: to stop the shelling (Advocacy), to stop the bleeding (delivering Tactical Medicine), to keep people alive (at Hospitals), to keep Ukrainians connected (with radios, generators), to connect the world to Ukraine (with you). We are committed to victory.
Dear Razom community,
This is our first newsletter of the year and it’s been too long since the last, so you will see a lot of updates from us in this edition. After our year-end holiday fundraising drive (we raised over $8MM, you are all absolutely incredible), the Razom team decided to take stock of its work and impact in 2022 to effectively plan for 2023 (while still delivering on our programs). To do this required comprehending the sheer scale and length of this war, which at times feels like a herculean effort. So does thinking it will go on for another day, and another.
In the span of nearly one year, Ukrainian Armed Forces, perhaps the most diverse army in the world today (made up of professionals, musicians, ballet dancers, olympic athletes, history teachers, journalists, volunteers, sons & daughters and moms & dads… did you know that 1 in 6 people in the Ukrainian army are women?) have defended Ukraine and freedom against an imperialistic, genocidal power with massive consequences. Razom has supported these First Responders and Defenders from the start, and will continue to do so.
In the span of nearly an entire year, Ukraine’s healthcare system has withstood extreme pressure and strain that has risked and scarred the lives of countless individuals across the country as this war is not only impacted on the battlefield, but in the systematic bombing of hospitals, schools, malls, theaters, apartment buildings, homes, key water and energy infrastructure, and more. Razom has supported doctors and hospitals in the hottest regions across Ukraine from the start, and will continue to do so.
In the span of nearly an entire year, there’s been a renaissance of NGOs in Ukraine that have stepped up in incredible ways (much like during the Maidan of 2013-2014 when Razom itself was born) supporting a vibrant civil society. Razom has supported these grassroots organizations in Ukraine from the start, and will continue to do so.
All of these targeted efforts on their own, save lives, and when put all together, move Ukraine forward in winning this illegal war. Ukrainians have resisted and beat back this horror for 356 days now, but need your continued support today as ever before. Every time you donate, forward this to a friend, repost and tweet, call your representatives, rally, engage with the things that Ukrainians create – you become a part of the resistance and the victory.
In just the first half of February, Razom teams delivered a total of 132 orders to First Responders and Defenders, most of them in the east of Ukraine. We also transferred 4500 IFAKs to a major military unit so that they can be deployed quickly in case of an escalated assault on the one year anniversary of the full-scale invasion. In the months of December, January, and part of February, Razom fulfilled 641 orders (out of 745 which also went to medical facilities and NGOs) of tactical medicine and communications equipment to First Responders and Defenders. We constantly monitor requests so we can respond quickly with the supplies needed most that save lives.
Each order makes it to the end user thanks to the effort of many hands. We are streamlining our processes so we can keep getting more efficient. Our Razom office in Lviv today was busy with people processing paperwork on deliveries that have gone out this week and preparing the next shipments.
Our support for the Ukrainian healthcare system is formalized under the project Razom Health, whose activities have evolved into a diverse set of programs and strategic partnerships designed to not only support the system during wartime, but strengthen medical care in Ukraine for the future in line with Razom’s mission. Here is a spotlight of some of our work over the past two months in gathering medical supplies, planning out the logistics of their delivery, and coordinating medical missions:
With grants from Americares and others, Razom Health was able to cover the costs of procuring, delivering, and installing backup hospital grade power generators and winterization equipment. So far three out of eleven generators have been installed (which includes training Ukrainian medical workers to use the equipment) and three oil heaters delivered in the Dnipropetrovsk region of eastern Ukraine.
Thanks to a grant and your generous donations, Razom Health was able to procure, set up, and distribute (with some still in transit to our warehouse in Ukraine) over 120 portable Butterfly ultrasounds so that doctors and paramedics on the front lines of the war can diagnose and treat patients faster, more accurately, and in a non-invasive way in wartime conditions.
In partnership with our friends and distribution partners Zdorovi in Ukraine, an anesthesia machine from Partners for World Health was delivered to a hospital in Dnipro.
In the aftermath of traumatic injuries caused by the war, many Ukrainian civilians are in need of durable medical equipment like wheelchairs, walkers, and crutches. Razom’s team of drivers continue to deliver these items (donated as a three-part installment from the Afya Foundation) to hospitals, rehab facilities, and nursing homes throughout Ukraine. In December, they made it to the Veterans Hospital in Kropyvnytskyi and Mechnikov Hospital in Dnipro.
In partnership with Marsh Zhinok in Ukraine, who distributes prenatal vitamins as part of baby boxes for pregnant women, those who have just given birth, as well as women who are breastfeeding, we’ve been able to deliver 6 pallets of prenatal vitamins that will reach women in Donetsk, Zaporizhzhia, Luhansk, Mykolaiv, Kharkiv, and Kherson regions.
Over the holidays and well into the new year, our team has been distributing brand new scrubs from FIGS to boost the spirits of overburdened Ukrainian healthcare workers across the country.
Our Razom Grants project aims to support civil society at the most local levels across Ukraine. Non-governmental organizations, of which there are over 120 now that have received grants, address hyper local problems in regions that suffer most as a result of the war. During this winter season, our focus has been on electricity (which can be connectivity for school children, or warmth for the displaced and people in need) and basic humanitarian aid to regions in Ukraine that are experiencing the most extreme violence and destruction, i.e. closest to the front.
As of today, our team of drivers in partnership with our grantees have distributed 87 generators and 46 charging stations across Ukraine. They are largely for shelters, “Resilience Points,” humanitarian aid hubs, and institutions like PEN Ukraine International and Ukrainian Institute Kyiv. For example with Volonterska UA, we enabled them to deliver 14 generators as part of their goal to distribute them to every de-occupied village in the Kharkiv region where there is still no electricity. They were installed in village councils, administrative premises, medical stations, lyceums, cultural centers, hospitals, and more.
To get a sense of what life is like for civilians in de-occupied territories or towns that are on the front lines, one needs look no further than Bakhmut in the Donetsk region in eastern Ukraine [read our long-form blog post here]. Check out video footage from our grantees at Ukrainian Charity Alliance delivering aid there. One woman shares, “Along with the packages of humanitarian aid that you all deliver, you’re also delivering faith in that we are one Ukraine and that we are not forgotten.”
As we look ahead to the challenges in front of us, Razom has taken steps to systematize and scale our organization in order to better serve our mission, our projects, our donors, and our engagement with volunteers. For eight years Razom was a fully volunteer-run organization. In 2022, we started building a volunteer-driven organization with strong institutional support. Today this means transforming our Board into a governance board, compensating our CEO, and building out a full-time and part-time staff to support our programs sustainably. This month, we are also beginning our first-ever independent financial audit and continue to improve our systems and processes.
As we approach the one year mark of the full-scale invasion and of the intense sprint of our work together, we invite you to join people around the world to rally in support of Ukraine on Saturday, February 25th. We’re keeping a running list of rallies here, and if you’d like to get your city, town, or village added to it, please reply to this email. It’s vital to continue putting pressure on our governments and public to not be bystanders to the atrocity in Ukraine, to “defend the international legal order and peace project of the EU, to end an era of empire and weaken the prestige of tyrants around the world, and remind each other that democracy is the better system.” The list is a lot longer than that, and you can learn more here thanks to Timothy Snyder, a historian who specializes in the modern history of Central and Eastern Europe.
Join our advocates network to get the latest news from our Advocacy Team here: https://www.votervoice.net/RAZOMFORUKRAINE/Register There’s power in understanding key policy towards Ukraine to stay active and engaged with a war that’s impacted so many of us.
Thank you so much for reading this newsletter and hopefully passing it on, calling your representatives, joining us at events and rallies, and generously donating to our projects, and for showing your support for Ukraine. Stay razom (together).
P.S. – The 2022 tax receipts have now been sent out either by email or mail for donations totalling over $250 (please check your mailbox for the subject “Thank you for donating to Razom!”). If you have not received it, we might not have had your email or address, so please email us at email@example.com with “Tax Receipt” in the subject line and include your name and method of your donation.
Food security is a vital aspect of national security, and in recent years, Ukraine, with its fertile black soil, has become a significant player in the global agricultural market and established itself as the breadbasket of Europe. However, Russia’s invasion plagued Ukraine with war, and the ongoing conflict has disrupted the country’s agricultural industry and affected its ability to export its produce. In what follows, we aim to explore the relationship between food security and war in Ukraine and to understand the impact of the ongoing conflict on the country’s ability to feed its people and contribute to global food security.
February 24th, 2023 marks the one year anniversary of the full-scale russian invasion. Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity were brutally violated on that early winter morning. It has been 365 days of the people of Ukraine showing pure courage and dignity in their fight for freedom.
Join Razom and other organizations and initiatives to express support and show that the world stands with Ukraine in the face of russian terror. Consider attending the following events and spread the word that Ukraine is still fighting to preserve its independence one year after the full-scale invasion.
February 23 | 8 PM
Somerset, NJ | Ukrainian Cultural Center of the UOC of the USA
Let’s Prayerfully Honor the Victims of the War in Ukraine
“This is our native land. We are not going anywhere. We are Donbas.”
“I have a lot of elderly relatives here. I can’t leave them.”
“Everywhere is dangerous. The entire country is under fire. At least here we’re home.”
These are just a few quotes from people who, despite vicious daily attacks, remain in Bakhmut. russian airstrikes and shelling destroyed the infrastructure, leaving them with no water, electricity, or heat. Out of 72 000 residents, only about 6000 stayed, including 200 children. They are encouraged to leave by both the authorities and the volunteers, who offer regular evacuations. However, due to various personal circumstances, people stay. They are not many, but they are resilient.
The horrid reality of the “russkiy mir” (“russian world”, “russian peace”) isn’t new to Bakhmut’s natives. In April 2014, pro-russian forces managed to capture parts of the city, but after a few months of fighting, ZSU (The Armed Forces of Ukraine) and The National Guard expelled them from the area. With the start of the full-scale invasion, Bakhmut Raion (district), yet again, turned into a war zone.
Winter escalation in the Battle of Bakhmut left its residents without food, water, medicine, communications, and other most basic necessities. The besieged city is struggling to stay standing, and the continuous bombardment of the area hinders humanitarian aid. And yet, in spite of all the obstacles, Ukrainian volunteers move mountains.
Razom saw the exigency of the situation and, with help from the Lackland Family Foundation and UJA-Federation of New York, provided monetary grants to the Ukrainian NGOs working in Bakhmut. Being on the ground and listening to people’s needs, they are able to provide quick and targeted assistance.
“We have to keep working. We must let them [Bakhmut residents] know they are not alone. Their compatriots did not abandon them. Ukraine did not abandon them.”
– Says Oleksii Kurtsev, a co-founder of Ukrainian Charity Alliance, an NGO helping underprivileged and vulnerable groups since 2018. Razom partnered with UCA in May 2022 and provided them with multiple grants for humanitarian aid.
The latest grant of $30,000 is directed to help the population of the frontline territories. Because of the developed logistics and systematic approach, the UCA team quickly and strategically delivers aid to the newly liberated territories and hot zones. Each humanitarian convoy makes a few stops in multiple cities and evacuates people to safety on the way back. To Bakhmut, they delivered 600 shelf-stable grocery sets. One set will feed one person for at least a month.
Another amazing NGO helping Bakhmut residents is called “Svitliachky Blago” (“Fireflies for Hope”). Siranush Arutiunian-Bozoian started this initiative in 2015. Over the years, she organized countless events to raise funds to purchase medical equipment for public hospitals and clinics and aid social institutions like orphanages and IDP centers in the Donetsk region. Heartbreakingly, Siranush was ill and has recently passed, but her life and work touched and inspired many people. The team of “Fireflies” that she brought together continues spreading light and kindness.
In response to russian aggression and the growing humanitarian crisis, “Fireflies” formed a permanent hub for receiving and distributing humanitarian aid and organized delivery and supply of first-aid care, medication for post-chemo treatments, cancer treatments, and epileptic patients. So far, Razom Grants has provided “Fireflies” with three grants totaling $30,000. The most recent grant of $8,000 was allocated specifically for Bakhmut Raion and already allowed for forming and distribution of almost 1000 grocery sets.
A grant of $10,000 was awarded to “Angels of Salvation,” a charity organization founded by citizens from Donetsk and Luhansk regions who’ve known war since 2014. Just a few days after the invasion, they started evacuating people and, in April 2022, formed a team of 60 co-owners, set up two warehouses, and built a fleet of 25 vehicles. Svitlana, “AoS” project manager, says there are no weekends at war. Every day volunteers risk their lives to aid people in need.
With the help of Razom’s grant, “Angels of Salvation” purchased fuel, delivered 457 hygienic kits serving approximately 800 Bakhmut’s residents, and evacuated 17 people on the way back. Some people were sick, and volunteers transported them to the hospital; others went to the safer areas, each of them with just one small bag. Reuters has recently reported a story of a six-year-old girl rescued from Bakhmut. In one of the videos, you can see Razom care packages with hygienic sets delivered by volunteers.
“Adrenalin” – a Kharkiv sports club turned volunteer organization – had also recently made a trip to Bakhmut. Volunteers delivered 800 grocery kits and 300 blankets to four Points of Invincibility – the aid stations equipped with wood-burning stoves, generators, heaters, Starlinks, and kids’ play areas – and brought trench candles, canned food, and candy to the soldiers. This trip was just one of the many made possible by the $30,000 grant from Razom.
Ruslan Bayramov, the president of “Adrenalin” and Kharkiv’s resident, seems unfazed by the situation in Bakhmut. He’s used to the reality of war:
“We went there on January 13 and faced no difficulties that day. Maybe we’re used to it now… You can hear gunfire and explosions around the clock. An enemy quadcopter was hovering above us.”
Razom started aiding NGOs working in Bakhmut in April 2022. “Bakhmut Ukrainian” has been active since 2014 when Bakhmut faced the first signs of “russkiy mir”: public disturbances, illegal armed groups, and refugees. Razom awarded them with a $25,000 grant that has helped thousands of people in the Donbas region during Spring-Summer 2022. BU volunteers provided people with food, medicine, hygienic products, candles, blankets, sleeping bags, thermos vacuum flasks, generators, and more.
Multiple volunteers confirm – many organizations responded to the emergency, and Bakhmut is now pretty well supplied with food. However, the need for water is urgent because of the destroyed infrastructure. It gets to the point where people drink boiled water from Bakhmutka River. The residents also need flashlights, batteries, candles, and biomass briquettes (biofuel), among other things.
Please, consider donating to Razom Grants to help us further aid volunteer organizations in Ukraine.
Team members from near and far convened in New York for a two-day, action-packed program involving meeting other Razom teams and the Razom community at large to learn more about one another and do more great work together.
Friday was all about strategy and meeting with partners, including Renew Democracy Initiative and Razom friends at the Permanent Mission of Ukraine to the United Nations, Ambassador Sergiy Kyslytsya and Ms. Yaroslava Sochka.
On Saturday, the Razom Advocacy Team presented its work to the Razom community and received updates on the ongoing developments of Razom as an organization. This event took place at the Shevchenko Scientific Society’s NYC headquarters. The Shevchenko Scientific Society is a Ukrainian-American scholarly institution incorporated in 1948 in New York that tracks its lineage to the Shevchenko Scientific Society established in 1873 in Lviv. Razom thanks the Shevchenko Scientific Society for hosting us.
The team then went a few blocks south in the Ukrainian Village to visit the Ukrainian Response Initiative’s new office space. Ukrainian Response Initiative was launched by the NYC Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs and assists newly arrived Ukrainian New Yorkers with legal services, translation services, social services, and other resources. During the visit, the Razom Advocacy Team met displaced Ukrainians and listened to their stories.
Finally, Tania Khodakivska, award-winning film editor and director residing in NYC, gave the team a guided tour of a new exhibit titled “Hi-Resolution: Ukrainian Culture and Contemporary Art Now” on view at the CUNY Graduate Center on 5th Avenue in New York. The exhibition was created by Oleksiy Sai, Nikita Kadan, and curator Ksenia Malykh in collaboration with the James Gallery. Admission is free, and the exhibition is open until February 18th. So please stop by and see it for yourself!
Thanks to everyone who joined the different sessions and coffee breaks and met with members of the Razom Advocacy Team this weekend.
Despite the horrors of the last year of Russia’s full-scale invasion and war in Ukraine, Americans – both of Ukrainian-American descent and from other backgrounds – have united together to advocate on behalf of our shared values of freedom and self-determination. In 2022, the Razom Advocacy Team was able to organize an advocacy network of more than 1,454 individuals. With all of your tireless support, we were able to achieve some notable successes throughout the year.
In 2022, our Advocacy Team members and our network of Razom Advocates held more than 526 meetings with Congressional offices to ask for critical support for Ukraine such as military aid, the strengthening of sanctions, and economic assistance. Meetings weren’t the only way our advocates reached out to their Members of Congress – they also sent 3,671 messages to Capitol Hill, urging Congress to declare Russia a State Sponsor of Terrorism and to label Russia’s actions in Ukraine a genocide, among other important advocacy messages. By joining our advocacy network, individuals can call, send emails, and engage with their lawmakers on Twitter. Sign-up for the Razom advocacy network here to take an active role in promoting Ukrainian victory.
Engagement with Congressional offices through meetings and sending messages via action alert are crucial for affirming the importance of supporting Ukraine. In order to facilitate these connections, Razom for Ukraine and our 42 partner organizations of the American Coalition for Ukraine hosted our inaugural Ukraine Action Summit in September of 2022. During the Summit, 270 advocates from 33 states met with their federal lawmakers’ offices on Capitol Hill for a total of 176 meetings with Congressional members and staff.
Social Media Engagement
Social media platforms like Twitter and Instagram provide a low-barrier entry point for individuals wishing to get involved in the common goal of Ukrainian victory, making social media a critical tool that the Razom Advocacy Team employs in its advocacy. In 2022, our team launched several social media initiatives to raise awareness about the war in Ukraine that reached more than 150,000 individual accounts.
After the inception of the full-scale invasion, Razom for Ukraine began to organize weekly Twitter Spaces to educate listeners on the most relevant topics around the war. In 2022, we were honored to be joined by more than 40 invited experts speaking on topics that ranged from the recent military victories of the Ukrainian army to Ukrainian Independence Day traditions. You can join our Friday Twitter Spaces by following the Razom for Ukraine Twitter account.
If you’d like to follow current events in Ukraine and keep up with our initiatives, Razom provides daily updates on the most important events of the war on Twitter and Instagram, and our network of more than 100,000 subscribers helps to spread this information, further educating the public on what is important for Ukrainian victory.
Without critical partnerships with like-minded organizations and the support of advocates like you, these accomplishments would not have been possible.
Thank you to all of our advocates and supporters for making all of our advocacy work possible in 2022 – we could not have done this without your passionate phone calls, emails, tweets, and donations. We hope to continue this momentum into 2023 and work together to help achieve Ukrainian victory together.
While russia continues shelling Ukrainian cities, Razom is providing critical aid to Ukrainians impacted by these terrorizing attacks. Ukraine’s medical system is facing enormous challenges, but our partners have been helping us support civilian hospitals since day one of the war. The following are the most recent updates from our outstanding Razom Health team.
Thanks to a generous grant from Americares, Razom Health was able to procure 11 powerful generators for Ukrainian hospitals. Together with the help of our Ukrainian partners Patients of Ukraine and Zdorovi Agency our team will distribute them to the medical facilities that need them most. Providing generators will ensure that even during power outages doctors can continue providing emergency care and will be able to save the lives of many civilians. The first three generators are already on their way from our warehouse in Kyiv to hospitals in Kryvyi Rih, Marganets, and Tomakivka in the Dnipropetrovsk region of eastern Ukraine. To continue this critical initiative, we plan to procure at least 10 more generators so that we can assist hospitals in need throughout Ukraine.
Pictured below are an anesthesia machine that was recently delivered to a hospital in Dnipro and two containers of critical medical aid donated by Partners For World Health. We are grateful to our friends at Zdorovi Agency for distributing these items to the facilities that need them most.
In the aftermath of traumatic injuries caused by the war, many Ukrainian civilians are in need of durable medical equipment like wheelchairs, walkers, and crutches. Our partners Afya Foundation have been a leading donor of this equipment to Razom Health. Pictured here is the third and final container of Afya’s latest donation. This medical equipment will be distributed to hospitals, rehab facilities, and nursing homes throughout Ukraine.
We’d also like to thank our longtime partners WearFigs for boosting the spirits of Ukrainian healthcare workers this holiday season. FIGS supplied Ukrainian medical professionals with brand-new sets of their comfortable scrubs – a very welcome (and necessary) holiday gift for Ukraine’s healthcare heroes experiencing work and wartime fatigue. Thank you, FIGS, for showing how you stand with Ukraine!
This mission and aid would be impossible without the donations of thousands of caring people like you who sincerely support Ukraine. We appreciate your donations and encourage you to continue your vital support of the project. No donation is too small, especially when it comes to saving lives.