This year, Co-Pilot Project neurosurgeons completed two additional volunteer trips to Ukraine.
During the March trip, which spanned 4 cities and 14 days, doctors performed 12 craniotomies for brain tumors, consulted over 70 patients in Lviv alone, and talked to medical students and young doctors about residency programs, learning approaches and evidence-based medicine. In September, three American doctors traveled to Ukraine where they consulted approximately 90 patients and helped perform 8 craniotomies, 2 spinal surgeries, and 3 aneurysm coilings.
The trips demonstrated a very high degree of motivation on the part of surgeons in Ukraine to receive practical learning and to improve their skills.
Stateside, we were pleased to have Ukrainian doctor Ivanka Nebor as the first participant of the new observership program.
We started a new project called Razom Ticket, whose mission is to increase engagement in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) disciplines among Ukrainian children.
The project took off to a great start by providing support to the All-Ukrainian Student Olympiad in Physics in Sumy, Ukraine. A total of 218 students participated in the competition and came away with increased motivation to get involved in STEM professions.
At the 2018 International Astronomy Olympiad in Colombo, Sri Lanka, the Ukrainian team won three bronze medals. Four participants (aged 14-18) attended the Olympiad representing Ukraine. Razom Ticket is grateful to Infopulse Ukraine and all our individual donors for providing financial support that allowed the team to attend the Olympiad, represent Ukraine and gain the precious experience.
As part of the yearly Razom IT pitch event, five Ukrainian tech startups had the opportunity to pitch their products to a VC and investor group of 60 people in New York City. The event was organized by Razom IT and the US Department of Commerce SABIT Program.
Razom volunteers created eConsul – a new online platform where Ukrainian citizens can apply for biometric passport for travels abroad, reducing the time and complexity of the process. Ukrainian citizens can book an appointment for certain date and time online, and complete the application form in advance, so they come to the consulate for only 5-10 minutes to finalize the application process by having their picture and fingerprints taken. The eConsul platform lets citizens be ready in advance, saving them and diplomats time. The platform is being used by consulates in New York, Chicago, and Dubai.
Razom Culture volunteers provided on-the-ground organization to create a showcase of the creative industries in Ukraine through the installation “Fashion Experiment 01” with Ukrainian Fashion Week in Tribeca and assisted Ukrainian designer Bevza in showcasing unique designs on the runway at New York Fashion Week.
The Razom Lounge again made its appearance at the St. George’s Ukrainian Festival! We had a variety of engaging conversations, and lots of fun. A special face box made by our creative volunteer Sashko Danylenko produced unique portraits for visitors.
This year we also started Razom Book Club to unite those that love to read and would like to learn more about the vibrant Ukrainian literary world. We hosted two meetings in December where we discussed My Dead Parents by Anya Yurchyshyn and Lviv author Victoria Amelina’s latest novel ‘Дiм для Дома’. We were lucky to have both authors join us for both events.
Volunteers and supporters kept busy at various community events throughout the year.
A conversation with Marci Shore about her new book “The Ukrainian Night” looked back at Maidan and led to discussions about the existential moment of revolution. Ukrainian author Yevhen Polozhyi presented “Ilovaisk”, his book about courage, incredible heroism and humanity of Ukrainian soldiers and fighters of volunteer battalions who were in “Ilovaisk mousetrap” at the end of August 2014.
At volunteers meet-ups, we discussed the upcoming US midterm elections and American politics as they relate to Ukraine with a group of Ukrainian journalists observing the midterm elections in the US and enjoyed an intimate night of music with Maria Burmaka.
The North American film-screening tour for the documentary film “Invisible Battalion” showcased the faces and stories of the women on Ukraine’s frontlines.
Marking the 5th anniversary of Maidan, Razom and the Ukrainian Institute of America organized an event to share stories of the Revolution of Dignity and pay tribute to those who are working for Ukraine’s future, and to those who were killed in the process.
Razom led and joined various actions to raise awareness of Ukrainian political prisoners in Russia and to demand their release. A #FreeSentsov performance-protest at Times Square expressed solidarity with the illegally imprisoned Ukrainian filmmaker Oleg Sentsov’s hunger strike in a Russian prison, while grassroots work of volunteers on social media encouraged support and acknowledgement from U.S. politicians.
In February, Razom hosted an event at the Shevchenko Scientific Society to introduce our partner Building Ukraine Together (BUR) and promote grassroots initiatives in Ukraine.
Yuriy Didula, one of the BUR’s founders talked about the organization’s mission and current projects. BUR is a rapidly expanding ground organization that has seen wide-scale domestic involvement in the years since its inception, and even some international participation. Our own volunteers, Andriy and Sashko Falenchuk, joined BUR camps this summer and had a firsthand experience of the incredible impact that the organization is making. Razom’s and BUR partnership has raised over $2,000 in 2018. The funds went toward procuring construction supplies at the camp sites.
Our next step is to support the rollout of BURfriend, a recurring monthly donation program. This step is vital for the sustainability of the organization, as it is getting harder and harder to depend on unreliable grants, and not being sure whether the next project can be fully financially covered. Already over 100 donors became BURfriends, and the organization is targeting to reach 1,000 supporters.
In the third year of its partnership with MathOlymp, we have a special achievement to celebrate as Ukrainian team placed 4th at International Olympiad in Mathematics 2018 in Romania! All six team members won gold or silver medals which grant them amazing prospects for the future studies.
In May 2018, Support Hospitals in Ukraine delivered the fourth shipment of medical equipment valued $0.74 million, part of which was supported by Razom’s $10,000 grant. The humanitarian medical cargo successfully cleared customs and arrived at hospitals in Kyiv, Dnipro, and Zaporizhzhya.
In March 2018, Istorychna Pravda, a publication that fosters the responsible study of the history of Ukraine, and Razom teamed up to make it easier for donors in North America to join the hundreds of reader-supporters in Ukraine to grow the online publication. One of the uses of funds will be to translate some of their materials into English and other languages.
Every year Bohdan Hawrylyshyn Family Foundation (BHFF), which promotes the democratic transformation of Ukraine by creating a critical mass of patriotic pro-active young Ukrainian professionals, sends two United Nations youth delegates to observe General Assembly proceedings. Razom has been hosting the delegates for the past two years in New York.
In November we officially started our work with The Ukrainian Leadership Academy (ULA), a program of personal and social development, main element of which is the 10-month formational course for secondary school graduates, and look forward to partnering on fundraising efforts to support general operations and various projects of the academy.
This year, we formed new partnerships with Serhiy Zhadan Charitable Foundation (SZCF). With the support of Razom, SZCF has conducted a successful fundraising campaign Мандрівники зі Сходу, a summer trip for a group of high schoolers from Zolote, which had fulfilled childrens’ dream of visiting places outside of their native Luhansk region. Part of the $4,000+ raised by the Zhadan-Razom partnership went towards purchasing train and bus tickets for the group. Future plans include supporting the Foundation’s work with the children and teachers of the Ukrainian east, including the EdCamps movement and inclusive education initiatives.
North-American tour of the documentary Invisible Battalion marked the beginning of Razom’s partnership with the Institute of Gender Programs, organization involved in women’s rights protection in the defense sector and rehabilitation programs for the veterans. Following the screening and meetings with the real heroines of Invisible Battalion, discussions were held on how to best support war veterans’ re-adaptation to “normal” life. Razom vice-president Lyuba Shipovich with the help of many volunteers, raised a scholarship fund of $9,300 that would give four veterans an opportunity to study in the master’s programs at Kyiv-Mohyla Academy.
This year, Toy Drive partnered with a number of similar organizations to maximize the impact of helping Ukrainian children in need.
One of such successful partnerships was with Big Brother Foundation. Toy drive co-sponsored trips across Ukraine where many children of Ukrainian ATO heroes had an opportunity to attend and participate in master classes with leading artists and received small gifts.
During Christmas, volunteers facilitated the collection of many donated toys, gifts, clothes and shoes from Ukrainian schools in Manhattan and Brooklyn. $2,000 donated to the project was passed on as gifts from Saint Nicholas and winter coats and boots. Also as part of the Christmas season, we initiated a letter cards exchange between Ukrainian students in USA with the ones in Ukraine.
Thank you to our incredible volunteers and supporters who donated their time, smarts, and money to make all of this possible.