5/23 to 6/2 Recap
Several medical supply transportation missions from Vienna to Ukrainian hospitals took place. The Psychological Support Program and University Education Program have been established and are in operation. VM4U has begun sharing staff with partner organizations. A cargo van mission from Vienna to Lviv, Ukraine is scheduled to leave Wednesday and return Thursday each week in June.
5/23 VM4U UNIVERSITY EDUCATION PROGRAM ESTABLISHED
Eileen, VM4U University Education Program Manager has joined the organization. Her role is to help refugees to enroll and attend universities in Vienna and elsewhere.
5/24 VAN MISSION
1 van team, Nathan and Adam, helped a refugee family move their household and furniture to a new apartment in Krems. Both the previous and new apartments were/are generously provided by Irina. The washing machine was generously donated by Pablo.
5/25 VAN MISSION
1 car team, Magnus, supported the YOUkraine organization by transporting medical supplies from locations in Vienna to LH138. The car and gas were generously provided by Magnus.
5/28 to 5/29 VAN MISSION
On 5/28, 1 van team, Ryan and David, and 1 car team, Roliff, Adam, and Sofia (YOUkraine), supported the YOUkraine organization by transporting €70k-€100k of medical supplies from Vienna to Lviv, Ukraine. From Lviv, the medical supplies will continue on to hospitals throughout Ukraine. A passenger was also transported from Vienna to Lviv. Both teams overnighted in Lviv prior to returning to Vienna on 5/29 except for Sofia who stayed in Lviv. Roliff donated part of the medical supply shipment; he flew from Texas to Vienna to participate in the delivery. Because €35k of the medical supplies was imported to Vienna from the US, Sofia (YOUkraine) was required to complete a T1 tax/customs form at the Polish border to avoid paying EU import taxes in Vienna (i.e., show that the medical supplies were only temporarily in the EU and thus are tax exempt). The successful completion of the T1 form permitted trailing medical supply shipments to be released by Austrian customs in Vienna. During the journey, a check engine light intermittently came on in the van and the horn was discovered to not be working. Separately, 1 of 4 front headlights and 1 of 4 taillights were discovered to be out – the van is now undergoing maintenance. The van and car were generously donated by the First Aid First Hand organization, www.firstaid-firsthand.de, and Michael, respectively.
5/30 VM4U PSYCHOLOGICAL SUPPORT TEAM INITIAL MEETING
The VM4U Psychological Support Team, Roxy, Inga, and Alexandra, and VM4U Executive Team, Elli and Adam, had their first meeting. Inga is a Ukrainian Psychologist and Alexandra is a Ukrainian Psychotherapist. The Psychological Support Team’s initial tasks are:
(1) advise VM4U management,
(2) advise VM4U host families,
(3) provide psychological support to refugees staying with VM4U host families.
The Psychological Support Team is envisioned to be a resource which is shared by several Vienna based refugee support organizations, including Domivka, and coordinated by Roxy, VM4U Psychological Support Program Manager.
5/31 VM4U PSYCHOLOGICAL SUPPORT TEAM MEETING WITH SIGMUND FREUD UNIVERSITY
The VM4U Psychological Support Team, Roxy, Inga, and Alexandra, and VM4U Executive Team, Elli and Adam, had a meeting with Ioana, Sigmund Freud University (SFU). Ioana provided valuable information on the Austrian legal framework for practicing psychology and psychotherapy in Austria. The VM4U Psychological Support Team can legally provide Psychological Counseling for refugees but cannot legally provide psychotherapy for refugees or subscribe medication. For cases where a refugee needs psychotherapy or medication, SFU operates a clinic for Ukrainian refugees with a licensed Austrian Psychotherapist utilizing translators.
No Austrian government programs or resources for psychological support for refugees are known at this time. SFU offers cost free university coursework for Ukrainian psychologists and psychotherapist to facilitate their licensure in Austria. However, this process effectively requires a Ukrainian psychologist or psychotherapist to complete 1-2 years of Austria specific university coursework and supervised practice before they can obtain the license. In other words, they would have to repeat college.
5/31 MEETING WITH DOMIVKA, https://www.domivka.co/
VM4U Executive Team, Elli and Adam, met with the Domivka organization Executive Team, Natalia and Liudmyla, at their facility in the Vienna 2nd district. Domivka supports a community of 100-150 refugees through structured sessions which include employment workshops, psychological support group meetings, children’s crafts time, teen pizza and movies night, children’s play times and picnics. Their facility is an apartment which includes a comfortable and welcoming family room, an office, a children’s play area, and a children’s crafts area.
VM4U and Domivka have begun sharing resources in a collaborative partnership – our staff are their staff. Domivka is a smaller, Ukrainian lead refugee support oraganzation which works directly with refugees. The sharing of VM4U staff extends Domivka’s capability to include all VM4U capabilities (e.g., Transportation, Accommodations, Employment, University, Psychological, and General Referee Support capabilities). Domivka continues to impress and has the full support of VM4U.
5/31 MEETING WITH OESTERREICH HILFT UKRAINE, https://verein-ohu.com/
VM4U Executive Team, Elli and Adam, met with the Oesterreich Hilft Ukraine (OHU) organization, Olga and Iulia at their facility here in the Vienna 10th district. OHU supports a community of ~1000 refugees through their cost-free humanitarian aid supplies store (e.g., food, hygiene, baby-related supplies, clothes, shoes). Their facility is a large office building which includes a shopping area, mother-child play area, large meeting spaces, kitchen area, and ample warehouse facilities.
VM4U resources are extended to OHU, the same as for Domivka. However, Olga explained that they have a van and an infinite supply of womenpower, but need humanitarian aid supplies, especially diapers, baby formula, etc., to distribute to their large refugee community – approximately 120 refugees per day visit the store. Elske, VM4U Project Manager, has begun collaborating with Olga with the objective of connecting Elske’s private donor base with Olga’s supply needs. Olga mentioned the challenges of working directly with refugees and expressed interest in receiving managerial advisement from the VM4U Psychological Support Team. The scale of the OHU operation is awe-striking; OHU has the full support of VM4U.
6/1 VM4U SUPPORT OF DOMIVKA EMPLOYMENT WORKSHOP
The Domivka organization hosted an employment workshop at Domivka’s location, to help refugees who want jobs to get jobs. Gebhard, VM4U Employment Program Manager, and Liudymla, Domivka, worked directly with 3 female refugees for 3 hours.
6/1 to 6/2 VAN MISSIONS
On 6/1, 1 car team, Adam and Reinhard, supported the YOUkraine organization by transporting medical supplies from Vienna to Lviv, Ukraine. From Lviv, the medical supplies will continue on to hospitals in Ukraine. Also, Sofia (YOUkraine) was transported from Lviv to Vienna. The team overnighted in Lviv prior to returning to Vienna on 6/2. The car was generously donated by Michael.
6/1 to 6/2 OPERATIONAL SUPPORT OF TEAM FYNN’S VAN MISSION
On 6/1, a van team, from Team Fynn, supported the YOUkraine organization by transporting medical supplies from Lviv, Ukraine to hospitals in Ukraine. Mission support for Team Fynn’s driver was provided by Elli (Julia, VM4U Director of Operations was out sick), and financial support of the van gas and driver accommodations were provided by VM4U donations. Mission support involves coordination with Ukrainian speaking POC’s, route planning, delivery sequencing, and emergency response. A ‘fender-bender’ occurred during the delivery – no one was hurt and the incident was resolved by the driver. On 6/2, the €100k-€150k of medical supplies (donated medical equipment value is estimated) were delivered to the destination hospitals.
This medical supply delivery is expected to save hundreds of lives and was made possible by the partnership between the YOUkraine, VM4U, Team Fynn, and First Aid First Hand organizations and the donors, including St. Barbara’s Church and Roliff from Houston, Texas.