Our regularly scheduled updates on major programs below, but also a spotlight on Advocacy and the amazing cultural events happening this season.
Dear Razom community,
In each newsletter, we try to share with you how your support impacts our programs for first responders and defenders on the frontline, the strained healthcare system, and the work of NGOs across Ukraine. You’ll still see those updates below, but a year into the war, we see how it has become even more important for Razom to advocate for Ukraine on multiple fronts, whether at the Oscars, Congress, or your inbox.
Razom sponsored the travel and stay in LA over the past week of four Ukrainian team members from the Danish-Ukrainian co-production A House Made of Splinters, a documentary film nominated for this year’s Oscars. Shot in 2019-2020, the film follows the life inside a halfway home for children whose parents aren’t capable of taking care of them near the frontlines in Lysychansk, Ukraine (a town currently under russian occupation, after which the shelter was damaged by a missile strike). As some parents succumb to the consequences of life in a region devastated by yearslong war, you get a rare and deeply touching glimpse at their children, who become larger than life heroes in a fight for their own happiness, childhood, and right to feel a family’s love. It’s the children’s hope and wisdom that captured us, so when we had the opportunity to support Azad Safarov (Assistant Director and Line Producer), Olena Rozavodovska (Project Coordinator and Co-Founder along with Azad of Voices of Children), and the incredible caretakers in the film Marharyta Mykolaivna and Olga Viktorivna on their working trip to the US, we signed on.
Not only did they represent Ukraine at the Oscars, but they spent every day giving interviews to national and international media raising awareness about russia’s crimes against Ukrainian children and their families during this war — those killed, abducted, and countless of their families, homes, and schools destroyed. You can learn more about the planned policy of deportation of Ukrainian children, a direct violation of the Genocide Convention, here, via a Twitter Space hosted by Razom Advocacy. You can watch A House Made of Splinters on Apple TV+ or Amazon Prime, you will not regret it.
Our team at Razom Advocacy continues its hard work advocating for Ukraine by holding high level meetings with government officials, conducting diverse research projects to support policy advancement, and doing outreach on social and traditional media to elevate Ukrainian experts and voices. So far this year, we’ve had over 20 face to face meetings across the legislative and executive branches, and we’re just getting started.
The Advocacy team invites you to join all of us at Razom at the Ukraine Action Summit on April 23-25, 2023 to advocate in person in Washington D.C. It’s the American Coalition for Ukraine’s 2nd Ukraine Action Summit consisting of advocacy workshops and trainings alongside Congressional meetings on Capitol Hill, where you’ll speak directly to lawmakers about Ukraine. Learn more and register here. During last year’s summit, participants joined 150 meetings with representatives from 30 states and 110 Congressional districts – help us surpass that record this year!
Here’s a bit more about what Advocacy is doing to bring Ukraine closer to victory – and how you can help.
- Contact your representative! Constituent voices are an integral part of how lawmakers decide what bills to support – and Ukraine needs you. Our current campaign is pushing for the passage of the HARM Act: learn more. Plus, check out the Renew Democracy Initiative’s Hold russia Accountable campaign.
- Follow us on Twitter and join us weekly on Fridays at 1pm EST for Twitter Spaces about Ukraine. This week’s topic: nine years since russia’s annexation of Crimea.
- You can always learn more about the situation in Ukraine through our research reports on our website. Currently you’ll find info on ecocide, food security, & the Wagner Group during this war, and can read our latest op-ed: “Don’t Believe the Hype – Bipartisan Support for Ukraine Remains Strong in Congress”
Everyday Razom is grateful for the incredible community of donors that have come together consistently (and creatively!) to fundraise in support of Ukraine. We are proud to work with teams across the world to bring a diversity of programs and projects for you to connect with that have a direct impact on the lives of Ukrainians fighting a war on multiple fronts, the outcome of which will shape the century to come for all of us.
So when a generous donor from the states requested that their gift be used specifically to impact Ukrainian Defenders, our team put that money towards procuring and delivering 41 Motorola radios, 1 mobile shower/laundry, and 5 pickup trucks into the hands of battalions near the front line. The specialized mobile baths are a recent innovation manufactured right in Ukraine, supporting the local economy, while the cars were prepped by our team (including painting the initials of the donor’s father on every pickup) for medical evacuations. Check out the photos below of the soldiers taking the time to offer proper thanks by sending a gift of their own from Ukraine to the US.
Our team at Razom Health continues to be busy connecting the resources of our generous partners and in-kind donors to healthcare institutions with the greatest need across Ukraine, as well as gearing up for its next medical missions. Here’s the latest:
- Some folks from Hearthstone Care based out of the Catskills in New York collected and helped transport a 53 foot-long container of medical beds and other durable medical equipment that we’ll ship and distribute to medical facilities across Ukraine.
- As missile strikes continue to terrorize Ukrainian civilians across the country (just last week 81 were launched into every region of Ukraine), providing vital medications and medical supplies continues to be a need that Razom is able to address. Last week, another in-kind donation from our partners CMMB got distributed in Ukraine.
- Photos of medical professionals wearing their brand new FIGS keep coming our way, this time from Ivano-Frankivsk, Sumy, and Odesa. FIGS deserves another special shoutout as they’ve been, and are committed to continuing, taking part in our medical missions like the upcoming Leap Global Missions, Face the Future, Face to Face, and Neurosurgeon medical trips throughout March, April, and May by providing the necessary medical scrubs for all of the American and Ukrainian surgeons and nurses taking part.
- Partnering with four different US Medical Doctors Associations, Razom has organized four medical missions (so far!) for this spring as part of our Co-Pilot Project that aims to raise the level of medical and surgical care in Ukraine through trips by American physicians to exchange their expertise, and the provision of critical equipment aimed at building programs. You can learn about our most recent medical mission trip with AAFPRS (American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery) in the “Face to Face” that offers Ukrainians, military and civilians alike, extremely complex reconstructive surgeries and a chance to have a normal life. Consider donating to support more of this work with Razom here.
Our team at Razom Relief continues to find, vet, and accelerate the impact of Ukrainian NGOs and grassroots aid initiatives across much of Ukraine whose ability to quickly step in to provide critical humanitarian support is unparalleled. Below a round-up of some recent initiatives:
- Kyiv-based volunteer group Yangoly UA organized a movement called “Brave to Rebuild” and is leveraging support from Razom, Epicenter K, World Central Kitchen, and other local Ukrainian businesses & organizations to restore several damaged buildings at once. Led by a group of students in Kyiv after the de-occupation of nearby suburbs, they’ve organized over 1,500 volunteers (taking time between classes or on the weekends) in the past year to help clear debris and patch up buildings impacted by russia’s terrorist missile campaign. Sometimes they’ll collaborate with BUR (Building Ukraine Together), a Razom Partner since 2016 that runs youth camps that rebuild and repair homes for displaced Ukrainians.
- In Summer 2022, VAAD Ukraine (the Association of Jewish Organizations and Communities of Ukraine), started a psychological recovery program for women and children called “Renewal During the War.” Razom supported the 31st and 32nd camps (run in 2023) of the program, where in each, around 40 women and children got together for three weeks in safe corner of Ukraine to participate in individual and group therapy, art therapy and various creative classes.
- A volunteer group called “Oops, Life In My City” successfully repaired and equipped a bomb shelter in a school in the city of Chernihiv thanks to Razom’s support. Border towns and cities in Ukraine are subjected to russian shelling almost daily, forcing those who refuse to leave behind their homes, to hide in bomb shelters. There are many such groups in Ukraine doing this work that Razom has been supporting for nearly a year now.
There are lots of excellent events happening across the US right now that bring special opportunities to connect with Ukrainian artists and culture and you can find our shortlist of them on our website. Below is a round up of a few we want to bring to your attention.
You do not want to miss this. Serhiy Zhadan, one of Ukraine’s most celebrated writers and a longstanding partner of Razom, is in the US on a big tour (he’s likely doing poetry readings in a city near you this week) is taking part in a special week of performances at La MaMa in NYC with Yara Arts Group. Get your tickets here.
Attention film lovers! Once you’re done streaming A House Made of Splinters, you’ve got at least 9 other films you can watch through Ukrainian eyes thanks to the Cleveland International Film Festival later this month. Here’s a list of the 8 features, 10 shorts, and 3 Razom supported projects we recommend: https://www.instagram.com/p/CpllL41vLmr/
You’ll definitely see us at the “Art in Time of War: Celebrating the Resilience of Ukrainian Culture” event at Low Library on March 27th. Hosted by The Harriman Institute & The President’s Office of Columbia University, you’ll get an opening address from Razom’s CEO Dora Chomiak, poetry, film, music, followed by a panel discussion and reception. Secure your tickets here.
We are so excited to be one of the sponsors of the “i am u are” Ukrainian Creators Fair in NYC March 24-26th! Come meet and support the modern creative industry of Ukraine — its culture, technology, art & design have always been here and are here to stay. Learn more and secure your tickets ASAP here.
As always, thank you for standing with Ukraine, for spreading the word about the amazing work featured all throughout this newsletter, and for joining us.