An estimated 2.5M Ukrainian people have fled their country following Russia’s invasion of the 24th February. Poland has taken 1.6M Ukrainians, whilst hundreds of thousands of others have entered Hungary, Slovakia, Moldova, and surrounding Eastern and Central European countries.
Writing the day after the invasion, this writer highlighted a number of initiatives launched by the tech industry to help Ukraine and its displaced people. Ukraine was home to a thriving tech ecosystem, including over 250,000 software developers, and its people were responsible for tech products that have become household names. It felt appropriate that the tech world was coming to help one of its own.
Two and a half weeks following the invasion, a number of initiatives have been launched specifically to aid refugees. Many of these initiatives have come from preexisting charities set up for the purpose of aiding refugees across the world, whereas others are bespoke solutions to the Ukrainian conflict.
Below is a non-exhaustive list of active, tech-centred solutions to the current Ukrainian refugee crisis.
Tech to The Rescue
Tech To The Rescue is a Poland-based non-profit organisation that matches NGOs in need of technological support with companies willing to provide them with technical skills. When the invasion of Ukraine began, the foundation pivoted to focus all its resources on the needs of Ukrainian refugees.
It launched the #TechForUkraine campaign, which aims to provide pro-bono support to NGOs working to solve urgent problems related to the immediate and long-term impact of the war. The campaign intends to launch about 100 digital projects for NGOs in the region within the next 3 months and has plans to support even more projects over the long term.
Since its launch, 60 NGOs from Poland, Ukraine, Romania, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, and the United States pledged support, alongside more than 450 IT companies from 40 countries.
Creandum: a guide to help teams in Ukraine
Creandum is a European, early stage venture capital firm founded in 2003. They have put together a useful web page with information about how founders, leaders and business teams can support team members in Ukraine and affected countries.
The page includes practical solutions, such as covering lodging costs and providing mental health support, and leadership support, placing a focus on flexibility and compassion.
Techfugees is a company that hopes to empower displaced people with technology. The company was founded in 2015 by Mike Butcher, editor-in-chief of TechCrunch, after he saw the infamous photo of three-year-old Alan Kurdi dead on a beach in Turkey.
The Techfugees team were well placed to mobilise in solidarity and support of Ukraine. They launched 30 action groups for European countries across WhatsApp and Slack, in which important information regarding safe routes and supplies was shared with displaced people and those stuck in Ukraine.
Techfugees has co-authored a document with Citizens Of Our Planet that outlines the different ways in which individuals can safely leave the country.
RemoteUkraine have developed a pragmatic solution to helping Ukrainian refugees. Drawing on Ukraine’s highly skilled workforce, RemoteUkraine are encouraging businesses to post job listings that can be filled directly by refugees.
Ukraine Tech Collective
Before the invasion, there were 250,000 software developers living and working in Ukraine. When 18-60 year old men were banned from leaving the country by their president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, and forced to defend their cities and towns, many software developers had to down their computers and take up arms.
This left a large number of job vacancies. Ukraine Tech Collective have devised a novel means of supporting those who had been called on to defend their country. Through the initiative, international software developers are matched with job vacancies left by Ukrainians, who then donate their skills pro bono, providing much needed financial stability to Ukrainian families who are currently without a stable means of income.
Are you a software developer who can donate some of your skills and time? Find out more about Ukraine Tech Collective here.
Airalo is the local and regional eSIM company that ensures travellers are kept connected, wherever in the world they may be. They have started a Help Ukraine Connect Fund, with the aim of giving Ukrainian users of Airalo free data connectivity during the current conflict.
The donation page is currently live. Donated money will be credited into the accounts of Ukrainian Airalo users who have expressed a desire to access the fund, allowing them to purchase an eSIM and keep in touch with Ukrainian family within and beyond the country.