5/2 to 5/16 Recap
During this period, no refugee transportation activities were needed and only local material transportation activities were performed. Specifically, logistical movement of medical supplies around Vienna and furniture to refugees accommodations around Vienna and related to the Campus Wienerwald Project. VM4U transportation, retrieval, and rescue capabilities are operational should future needs arise.
In the absence of any needs to move refugees to safety, VM4U’s priorities are focused on seeking sustainable accommodations for refugees and providing for the general welfare of refugees, beginning with refugees staying with VM4U host families. VM4U has an accommodations program, employment program, welfare program, and psychological support program; all these programs are significant capabilities but have very low utilization by the refugees currently living with VM4U host families.
VM4U has begun exploring opportunities for collaboration and partnership with other Vienna based organizations supporting Ukrainians. VM4U plans to extend our support capabilities (accommodation, employment, welfare, and psychological support) to other refugee support organizations and to the broader Vienna refugee population, in addition to the refugees staying with VM4U host families.
VM4U was able to support a non-Ukrainian refugee and student from Kharkiv to potentially resume their university studies here in Vienna.
5/2 Kharkiv Medical Supply Project – Oleg, Project Manager
VM4U received a request for critical medicines from a hospital in Pokotylivka, Ukraine, located outside of Kharkiv. The list of critical medicines are those which are affordable and accessible in Vienna but are a question of life and death around Kharkiv, such as Metformin (high blood pressure), Insulin (diabetes), and Levothyroxine (thyroid). The procurement was organized by VM4U doctors, paid for through donations to St. Barbara’s Church, and transported by trusted partners. While photo confirmation was received and confirmed that the medicines were successfully distributed to the local people, this hospital was tragically destroyed on 28 April.
5/3 and 5/5 Meetings with Stepic CEE Charity, www.stepicceecharity.org
On 5/3, Adam, VM4U Executive Director, was invited to meet with Stepic CEE Charity organization by Ivan, YOUkraine organization. Stepic CEE Charity expressed interested in collaboration regarding an orphanage rescue project. After an initial meeting, a followup meeting on 5/5 with Stepic CEE Charity included Herbert Stepic, Charity Head (and former Chairman of Raiffeisen Bank), the relevant VM4U Project Managers: Nina, Orphanage Rescue Projects; Ania, Orphanage Supply Projects; Thomas, Campus Wienerwald Project; as well as Elli, VM4U Deputy Executive Director, and Adam, Executive Director. The Stepic CEE Charity had identified an orphanage in Ukraine that needed relocation outside of Ukraine. VM4U has the logistics and experience related to transportation. Several potential facilities for housing orphans were identified, including Campus Wienerwald. However, the missing component of a person which would take temporary legal guardianship of the orphans until they are able to be returned Ukraine was unable to be identified and the progress stopped there.
5/5 Meeting with the Feel Good Store, www.thefeelgoodstore.at
Adam, VM4U Executive Director, dropped by the Feel Good Store. The store was closed at the time but Adam briefly talked to Sarah. The feel good store provides free clothing and shoes to Ukrainians here in Vienna on an appointment basis.
5/8 Non-Ukrainian Refugee Support Case
VM4U was informed of a Nigerian refugee who was forced to leave his university studies in Kharkiv and was seeking to resume his studies without further delay. By chance, this person ended up at Campus Wienerwald in Vienna. VM4U met with the individual and was able to provide some support. Eileen assisted in identifying an appropriate university program here in Vienna, provided support with the application process, and identified the language prerequisites. Thomas, VM4U Campus Wienerwald Project Manager, assisted in identifying the cost-free German courses offered at Campus Wienerwald. Adam, VM4U Executive Director, wrote a letter of support for the university application, connected this person with a member of the Nigerian community here in Vienna, and a local football group.
5/10 Van Mission
A van team, Michael and Adam, transported medical grade baby food (for use with feeding tubes), donated by Christine from a home in Vienna to the staging area at LH138. This project will be reported separately upon completion. The vehicle was generously donated by Michael.
5/11 Meeting with Domivka Organization, www.domivka.co
Domivka is a refugee support organization focusing on women and children here in Vienna. Domivka has created a physical ‘meeting place for Ukrainian women and children’ which includes a living room, a play room for children, and an arts and crafts room for children. Domivka focuses on helping Ukrainian women with all aspects of living in Vienna including employment and language lessons as well as providing a community space, emotional care and support including therapy, and scheduled meeting events. Domivka approach is similar to the VM4U approach in trying to provide custom support to individuals but Domivka has the significant addition of a physical meeting place. Domivka supports a community of ~100 Ukrainians while VM4U supports the 35 Ukrainian families staying with VM4U host families. On 5/11, VM4U had an initial meeting with the Domivka organization. The meeting included Natalia, Domivka Co-Founder; the related VM4U Program Managers: David, Accommodations; Gebhard, Employment; Irina; Refugee Welfare; Elli, Deputy Executive Director, and Adam, Executive Director. The Domivka organization was very impressive and VM4U seeks to work more closely with them in the near future.
5/11 Meeting with St. Barbara’s Church, st-barbara-austria.org/de/
St. Barbara’s Church is a Greek style Catholic Church with a Ukrainian membership. St. Barbara’s is a focal point of Vienna’s support for Ukraine with much of the city’s donations having been directed to St. Barbara’s Church. St. Barbara’s focus includes refugee welfare and supporting the medical supply needs inside Ukraine. St. Barbara’s is currently working with ~900 refugees in Vienna by organizing community events, German courses, a library of Ukrainian language books, and other activities. VM4U had an initial meeting with the St. Barbara’s Church organization. The meeting included Father Taras, Priest; the related VM4U Program Managers: Gebhard, Employment; Irina, Refugee Welfare; Elli, Deputy Executive Director, and Adam, Executive Director; and Svetlana. VM4U seeks to work more closely with St. Barbara’s on refugee welfare matters in the future.
5/13 Special Announcement
A healthy baby was born to a Ukrainian guest staying with a VM4U host family.