Vienna Mission for Ukraine

6/1 to 6/30 Recap

Published by Vienna Mission for Ukraine on

6/1 to 6/30 Recap


Juliia, Art Program Manager, hosts an arts and crafts workshop, typically each Monday, for children at Domivka. Domivka was moving their facility (same building, different floor) this month so fewer workshops were hosted than normal. VM4U donations cover the costs of art supplies.


Nadiia, Music Program Manager and Instructor, is working to return refugee children to their music training. The program has 5 instructors for 10 children: Joel (Saxophone), Emin (Piano), Mariam (Piano), Nadiia (Violin), Svetlana (Guitar). A guitar instructor and alto saxophone are needed. The music program is a partnership with Kimu Wien (@kimu_wien), Liberty Education, and Domivka. VM4U donations are used for instrument maintenance and instruction materials.


Nathan, Furnishings Program Manager, continues to work with Olga, The Feel Good Store, to transfer furniture and appliances directly from donors to refugees on nearly a daily basis using the VM4U van. The furnishings team includes Pasha, Artem, Oleksandr, Arkady, Jake, Michael, Anatolii, David, Adam, Lauren, Israel, and others. VM4U donations are used for van fuel. The furnishings program will take a pause for July while the van is working in Ukraine.


Svetlana, Orphanage Support Program Manager, continues to monitor the needs of the orphanages in the VM4U network. The Feel Good Store has raised and delivered children’s clothes to the Kogl and Zhuravno Orphanages and soon to the Save Ukraine organization in Kyiv. VM4U has raised and delivered an industrial dryer and 2 tables to the Zhuravno Orphanage. PC’s for All has raised 5 computers for the Zhuravno Orphanage which will be delivered soon. VM4U transported surplus supplies from the Burgenland Orphanage to the VM4U warehouse for upcoming transport to Save Ukraine in Kyiv. The Kogl Orphanage continues to need fresh fruits and vegetables and activities for the children. The Zhuravno Orphanage continues to need an industrial washing machine. The Burgenland Orphanage needs a caretaker for mentally disabled children who can also provide physical education. No needs reported for the Murek Orphanage.


The VM4U van is used on nearly a daily basis to redistribute furniture to refugees as well as supplies and donations between volunteer organizations in and around Vienna (e.g., The Feel Good Store, YOUkraine, Kleine Herzen) as well as to Ukraine. The VM4U van will be used exclusively between Vienna and Ukraine in July. Specifically, VM4U van teams will be operating in Ukraine under the direction of the UAID-Direct organization to help UAID deliver their supplies to areas of urgent need.


On 6/1, Alsu, driver, and Dr. Viktoria, translator, supported Svetlana’s mother (elder, in wheel chair, with dementia) to attend a medical appointment. The medical appointment is a prerequisite step for Svetlana to obtain social benefits related to her mother’s disability. VM4U is in the process of having Svetlana’s mother’s medical record translated to German. VM4U donations covered the cost of a taxi which returned Svetlana and her mother home after their appointment and the medical record translation. On 6/23, Roxy, VM4U Psychological Support Program Manager, and Alexandra, VM4U Psychological Councilor, spent the morning with Svetlana’s mother, elderly with dementia, to facilitate Svetlana and her elderly father visiting Austria Center for the routine benefits visit. VM4U continues to assist Svetlana through the administrative processes to obtain disability benefits for her mother, which is ongoing.


The Vienna Arrival Center (VAC, refugee center operated by Red Cross) closed on 6/5. Svetlana, VM4U Case Manager, led VM4U volunteers, Brian, Nathan, Artem, and Adam, in a cooperative effort with the Red Cross staff, led by Ulrike, VAC Director, to find accommodations and transportation for the people (and their personal belongings) who were remained there after closing.

The reason why many refugees remained at the VAC after closing were primarily because these refugees were caught in the bureaucratic gears. These cases included:

  • refugees who were initially registered in other Austrian cities and, thus, are ineligible to receive government sponsored accommodations in Vienna;
  • refugees who have turned down a government sponsored accommodation in Vienna (and thus will not receive a second offer);
  • refugees with special needs (e.g., elderly, disabled, blind, ill) with too many suitcases, and cannot relocate using public transportation.

VM4U volunteers transported 9 refugees and their personal belongings to Hostel Hutteldorf (dormitory operated by VolksHilfe) using the VM4U van and VM4U volunteer’s private vehicles. At the end of the day, all refugees remaining at the center where offered at-least a temporary accommodation in Vienna. The cost of fuel and packing materials were covered by VM4U donations and volunteers; IKEA bags were sponsored by Social Work Hub.

6/5, 6/12, 6/19, 6/26 FOOTBALL PROGRAM TRAINING

Coach Oleksandr, Football Program Manager, and Coach Sergii continue to host football training for children ages 6-11 on Monday nights from 17:30-19:00 at the outdoor fields at Sport Center Donau City in cooperation with Domivka. Roxy, Psychological Support Program Manager, continues to bring snacks to the kids after each session which has become tradition. Field costs of €50/session this month were supported by VM4U donations.

6/5, 6/6, 6/12, 6/17 IGOR SUPPORT CASE

On 6/17, Michael, VM4U Volunteer Driver, relocated Igor (blind) and his personal belongings from Hostel Hutteldorf (dormitory operated by Volkshilf) to his new long term, government sponsored accommodation at Haus Winkelacknerweg (dormitory operated by Samariterbund). Igor has been stuck in the bureaucratic gears since his previous government sponsored long term accommodation at Heidehof Haus dormitory (operated by Samariterbund) was closed on 15 April 2023 which effectively left him on the street. Svetlana, VM4U Case Officer, has been working very hard for over 2 month to ensure Igor’s safety.

4/13 – Margarita (translator) and Adam (driver) – transport Igor from Heidehof Haus to Haus Liebhartstal and back for accommodations interview (unsuccessful)
4/14 – Adam (driver) – transports Igor and his belongings from Heidehof Haus to Vienna Arrival Center following the Heidehof Haus closure.
4/18 – Adam (driver) – transports Igor and his belongings from Vienna Arrival Center to Hostel Hutteldorf for accommodations interview (unsuccessful). Igor was returned to the Vienna Arrival Center by Taxi 2 hours later.
4/27 – Adam (driver) transported Igor to his doctor’s appointment
5/30 – David (advocate and translator) and Michael (advocate and driver) transported Igor from Vienna Arrival Center to the Austria Center and back for a meeting with FSW
6/5 – Adam, Nathan, Artem, Svetlana, and Brian (translators, advocates, and drivers) transported Igor and his personal belongings from the Vienna Arrival Center to Hostel Hutteldorf following the VAC closure.
6/6 – Artem (advocate and translator) and Adam (driver) transported Igor from Hostel Hutteldorf to the Austria Center and back for a meeting with FSW
6/12 – Adam (driver) transported Igor from Hostel Hutteldor to Winkelacknerweg Haus and back for an accommodations interview (successful)
6/12 – Adam (driver and advocate) transported Igor to the Austria Center for a meeting with FSW.
6/12 – Adam (driver and advocate) and Jana (translator) drove to several post offices looking for Igor’s government mail including his ‘disability card’ (unsuccessful).
6/17 – Michael (driver) transported Igor and his belongings from Hostel Hutteldorf to Winkelacknerweg Haus, Igor’s new long term, government sponsored accommodation (successful).

Following the closure of Haus Heidehof on 4/14, Igor was effectively put out on the street. Once Igor was returned to ‘the system’ after VM4U brought Igor and his belongings to the Vienna Arrival Center, Igor ended up mistakenly ‘black listed’ from FSW sponsored government accommodations after two unsuccessful accommodations interviews. His interviews were unsuccessful not because Igor was ‘a problem’ but because those dormitories were inadequate to accept a blind person. However, the FSW did not include the reason for Igor’s unsuccessful interviews in his file before effectively black listing Igor. After VM4U sorted this out, Igor eventually was returned to the FSW list and provided an appropriate accommodation.


  • FSW and the dormitories need to stop the unnecessary in-person accommodations interviews because they consume an enormous amount of manpower, money, and in the cases of disabled, elderly, blind, and ill refugees, can boarder on being cruel when the refugee suffers during the process. Remote interviews should be more than adequate when a personal reference from the current dormitory staff can speak to the condition and needs of the refugee being relocated.
  • FSW and the dormitories should talk to each other. Igor’s case could have been resolved with a few phone calls in less than 1 hour. Instead his case took over 2 months, 9 transports, and between 30-40 volunteer hours, and outside VM4U intervention.
  • Transportation, escorts (when needed), and translators should be provided by either FSW or the dormitories to facilitate their bureaucratic processes. Reliance on VM4U volunteers has become high.
  • Transportation, escorts (when needed), and translators should be provided by either FSW or the dormitories to facilitate refugees attending doctor’s appointments. Reliance on VM4U volunteers has become high.
  • Dormitory closures should not be announced before all guests have been informed in person of where they will go and how they and their personal belongings will get there (public transport is unacceptable for moving households unless you are a turtle).
  • A specialized ‘assisted living’ dormitory needs to be created for refugees who are not able-bodied such as elderly, disabled, blind, wheel chair, and ill.


On 4/14, Natalia and her adult daughter Oksana were given special permission from Fonds Socialez Wiens (FSW) to temporarily stay with Robert, VM4U host family, while Natalia recovers from cancer surgery and undergoes chemotherapy. However, FSW lost Natalia and Oksanas placement in their database. On 6/6, Artem, VM4U translator and Advocate, accompanied Natalia and Oksana during their meeting with FSW at the Vienna Austria Center. Natalia and Oksana have been returned to the FSW placement list and are awaiting placement in an appropriate long-term accommodation. Other issues related to medical bills and benefits we also resolved. On 6/19, Nataliia had a medical emergency and was transported by ambulance on June 19 to the hospital. After unplanned surgery unrelated to her cancer treatment, VM4U donations covered the taxi home. Svetlana, VM4U Case Officer, continues to FSW to find an adequate long term accommodation for Nataliia and Oksana. On 6/29, Maximillian has offered Natallia and Oksana a low-rent apartment. On 6/30, Artem, translator and advocate, will join Natallia and Oksana during a viewing of the apartment.


Oksana and Viktor have been caught in the bureaucratic gears. They are among the refugees who initially registered in an Austrian city other than Vienna and thus are ineligible to receive a government sponsored accommodation in Vienna. VM4U driver, Adam, transported Oksana and Viktor to their meeting with Caritas in Korneuburg, Austria. The meeting was successful and Oksana and Viktor expect to receive placement in a government accommodation in Korneuburg. As of 6/30,Oksana has not received an accommodation yet and remains temporarily at Hostel Hutteldorf. Viktor was offered an accommodation in Marktl near Lilienfeld in Lower Austria, about 80 minutes from Vienna by car. On 6/8, Adam transported Viktor to his new accommodation in the VM4U van. This success was thanks to Svetlana, Case Manager. VM4U donations were used for fuel.


VM4U driver, Adam, relocated Ludmyla (limited mobility) and her personal belongings from Hostel Hutteldorf (dormitory operated by Volkshilfe) to Haus Winkelackerweg (dormitory operated by Samariterbund).


Myla has been caught in the bureaucratic gears. Myla is among the refugees who initially registered in an Austrian city other than Vienna and thus are ineligible to receive a government sponsored accommodation in Vienna. Svetlana, Case Manager, organised for Myla to travel by train to Graz to attend a meeting with Caritas on June 7. Myla was joined in Graz by Sasha, VM4U translator and advocate, who also attended the meeting. Unfortunately, the meeting was unsuccessful due to Myla having obtained an ‘inactive status’ which prevents her from further consideration. Myla has since returned to Vienna. Myla was offered transportation to Ukraine in the VM4U van, which left this morning for Lviv, but declined. Myla currently has temporary accommodation at Hostel Hutteldorf. VM4U donations were used for the train ticket and an early morning taxi to the train station.


Zoe, German Instructor, hosted the C1 lesson to assist adults in preparing for the Österreichisches Sprachdiplom (ÖSD) exam (i.e., German Language Diploma issued by the Austrian government). This lesson concluded the adult and children’s German language courses hosted at Domivka. We are all very grateful to Holly, German Program Manager and Instructor, and her team of instructors including Maeve and Zoe for creating a warm and customize learning environment for refugees to learn and practice German together.


On June 8, Oleg checked Dima into the hospital. Dima is awaiting a kidney transplant. Dima has been holding out on beginning dialysis for as long as possible, however, Dima will likely begin regular dialysis soon. Oleg and David, Co-Case Managers, are at the hospital with Dima each day assisting with translation, advocating, and transportation. VM4U donations are used to cover Dima’s incidental medical expenses (small costs not covered by insurance); small private donations (not VM4U donations) help support Dima’s family’s non-medical living expenses which are slightly above what their socials benefits cover.


Andrey, volunteer translator, accompanied a family of 5 at a registration meeting with the Police. The registration was unsuccessful because not all family members were able to produce passports or proof of exiting Ukraine after 24 March 2022.


A VM4U van team, Nathan and Susan (Rotary International-Vienna Maria Theresa Chapter), delivered medical supplies for YOUkraine to their warehouse in Lviv; an industrial dryer, 2 tables, and children’s clothes to the Orphanage in Zhuravno, Ukraine; and 20 computers for PC’s for All organization to a library outside of Lviv. VM4U donations were used to cover fuel and tolls.


An industrial dryer, 2 dining tables, and children’s clothes were delivered to the Zhuravno Orphanage. The industrial dryer was raised by VM4U through donations from Christina, Alex, William, Gerado, Anonymous, Jesse, Susan, and Heather; the two tables were raised by Cliff and Nathan, and the clothes were raised by The Feel Good Store.


Adam, VM4U Executive Director, had a telephone meeting with Igor, Edujoc Co-Founder. Edujoc is a toy company in Moldova which became a refugee focused enterprise. They take profits from toy sales and use them to host children focused community events and repair homes to house refugees. Edujob focuses on integrating Ukrainian refugees with the local community (and in reverse integrating the local community with the Ukrainians) as well as providing psychological support for refugees.


Adam, driver, relocated Anna, her small son, and their personal belongings from Hostel Hutteldorf (dormitory operated by Volkshilfe) to Haus Winkelackerweg (dormitory operated by Samariterbund).


Adam, driver, relocated Yuri (wheel chair) and his personal belongings from Wohnhaus Herzmanskystraße (dormitory operated by Jugend am Werk) to a wheel chair accessible apartment.


Adam, VM4U Executive Director, and Roxy, VM4U Psychological Support Program Manager, attended the “International Expert Meeting on the Civilian Victims of the War in Ukraine: Lessons Learned and the Way Forward” hosted by the Sigmund Freud University. The conference was a series of lectures from volunteers and academics from Ukraine, Poland, Austria, and Canada. A regular topic was the collection of data on war crimes from refugees by several organizations in several countries.


Adam, driver, relocated 3 women (one with cancer) and their belongings from Hostel Hutteldorf (dormitory operated by Volkshilfe) to Winkelackerweg Haus (dormitory operated by Sumariterbund). The distance between the two locations is about 1 hour by mass transit or car.


Max, First Aid First Hand (FAFH) CEO; Markus, FAFH CFO; Adam, VM4U Executive Director; Lauren, VM4U/FAFH Medics Support Program Manager; Simon, TacMed Ukraine Lead Medic and Founder, had a meeting to discuss Team Vienna support of TacMed Ukraine. FAFH is supplying TacMed Ukraine an ambulance and VM4U and FAFH is working to equip and support the operation of the ambulance long term. The VM4U Medics Support Program was initiated with Lauren formalized as the Program Manager and Team Vienna coordinator between VM4U/FAFH and TacMed Ukraine. Lauren will also be working to stand-up the business functions of the TacMed Ukraine organization (website, email, social media, IT, logos, financials, donation platform, command center, etc.) so that the medics can focus on saving lives while VM4U volunteers, Toby, Julia, and Jon, handle the business aspects of the organization from Vienna.


Michael, VM4U driver, relocated Hennadii (schizophrenia) and his personal belongings from Hostel Hutteldorf (dormitory operated by Volkshilfe) to Haus Liberhartstal (dormitory operated by Samariterbund). Also transported was Alexander (elderly) and a Volkshilfe escort for an accommodations interview. Alexander and the escort were returned to Hostel Hutteldorf by taxi.


A refugee requested support to obtain a pregnancy test and a doctor’s appointment. VM4U donations were used to purchase the test and VM4U volunteers organized a doctor’s appointment with a Russian speaking doctor.


Tatiana’s family had a major breakthrough recently when her 22 yo son, Kamil, secured a great job putting their family on a path to self-sufficiency and financial security. Tatiana’s 22 yo daughter is caretaker for Tatiana, 46 yo, Raisa, 76 yo grandmother, and 4 cats. This family came to Vienna from Mykovliev but not before Tatiana had sustained shrapnel injuries to her leg. Tatiana has been perpetually in and out of Vienna hospitals having undergone countless surgeries. Last year, Tatiana’s family was staying in a government provided sponsored accommodation at the Senator Hotel (dormitory operated by Johanniter) which was closed on Dec. 16. The family, including Tatiana, were directed to the Vienna Arrival Center (refugee center operated by Red Cross). The refugee center is basically only cots, food, and administrative desks. This case was referred to VM4U on Nov. 21 by Alex. On Dec 16, the family moved in with Robert, VM4U host family, instead of going to the refugee center. Direct cash donations from Andrew and Marie were provided to the family to keep them afloat. VM4U volunteers led by Irina, Case Manager, stepped in to quickly get Tatiana’s family their blue cards and their social benifits. On Jan. 31, the family moved into a low rent apartment provided by Maximilian. VM4U volunteers helped provide Tatiana the time and space to recover and for the family to get back on their feet. While the family’s finances are stable thanks to Kamel’s new job, Tatiana is regularly in the hospital. Alsu, volunteer, has been helping drive and translate during medical appointments. The grandmother, Raisa, is depressed and could greatly benefit from access to a community. The daughter, Kameliia, is also without a community.

6/25 VAN PROGRAM UPDATE – First Aid Training for VM4U Drivers

VM4U drivers in the VM4U van will be performing humanitarian aid deliveries in Ukraine for the UAID-Direct organization for all of July. While drivers are not planning to visit any risky areas, drivers will be equipped with Individual First Aid Kits (IFAKs), provided by YOUkraine, and have received basic training on how to use them. On 6/25, Dima, former Senior Combat Medic from Kharkiv, provided 4 hours of instruction to Adam and Michael through a translator, Oleg. Andy and Vanessa have received previous training. The instruction included the use of tourniquets, Israeli bandages, chest seals, hemorrhage control bandages, etc.


6/23, Katia who has recently turned 18 years old, was turned away by Caritas during her social benefits meeting because her “legal guardian was not presented and had not been registered.” On 6/26, Katia and her former legal guardian, Adam, met with Caritas. The former legal guardian was forbidden from participating in the meeting. At the conclusion of the meeting, Katia was uncertain of the outcome, what benefits she would receive, and if she had done something wrong. VM4U is continuing to monitor this case and advocated.


On 6/26, Irina, VM4U Refugee Welfare Program Manager and Case Manager, responded to an email received by VM4U from Erika, her mother, and her father). Erika and her Father are disabled. Due to unclear circumstances, Erika and her father lost their social benefits and are without money to eat. The discontinuation of their benefits appears to be a mistake. However, because Erika and her father have dual citizenship in Canada, they are now required to obtain a letter from the Canadian embassy stating that Canada does not provided them with social benefits before their social benefits can be returned. On 6/27, the family met with Fondz Socialez Wien (FSW). The family was refused to resume the payment of benefits, and they were ordered to leave their cost-free apartment on July 21. The reason is that husband and daughter have second Canadian citizenship, and the FSW consider that they are therefore not entitled to refugee status in Austria at all. The mother has only Ukrainian citizenship, but she is also refused. Because VM4U cannot support food costs for individual refugees, Irina is personally supporting this families costs while Irina works to get their social benefits restored.


Pascal, Kleine Herzen Founder and Chair, met with Adam, VM4U Executive Director and discussed upcoming needs and cooperation. Pascal is currently director of the displaced Ukrainian orphanage, children ages 1-7, relocated to Burgenland, Austria. The Burgenland Orphanage currently needs caregivers for mentally disabled children with an emphasis on providing physical education specific to their unique developmental challenges. The Burganland Orphanage also needs operating funding as they are very low on general funds. VM4U continues to support Kleine Herzen with logistical support with respect to the transport of supplies, raised by Kleine Herzen, to those in need in Ukraine. Kleine Herzen is closely partnered with the Save Ukraine organization based in Kyiv.


First Aid First Hand (FAFH), VM4U, and Team Fynn are working to provide a fully supplied ambulance which will be operated in Ukraine by TacMed Ukraine. The TacMed Ukraine organization are international, volunteer medics performing emergency rescue near the front lines. FAFH has purchased the ambulance. FAFH needs to raise up to 7k EUR for medical supplies. VM4U needs to raise 5k EUR for fuel. A project specific fundraiser is planned for 7/14 where the Ambulance will be present. The ambulance is planned to be transferred to TacMed Ukraine in mid-July. VM4U is communicating with a news crew to document the project.