Five new ways to support Ukraine
Roula Khalaf, Editor of the FT, selects her favourite stories in this weekly newsletter.
When Ukraine was invaded in February last year, experts predicted the nation would be overcome by Russian forces within weeks. Ukrainians have defied the odds – but at a cost. On top of the thousands of lives lost, more than a million homes have been destroyed, alongside cultural treasures such as the Soviet monumental classicist theatre in Mariupol. This month almost 40,000 tons of grain were damaged in an attack on the port city of Izmail. Established organisations including the British Red Cross and President Zelenskyy’s UNITED24 are providing medical aid and military support; but engineers, psychologists and ballerinas are doing their bit too. From mobile bakeries to modular homes, here are some of the latest fundraising initiatives.
Bake for Ukraine
No Ukrainian welcome is complete without bread, and in the midst of a food crisis, Ukraine’s bakery culture has never been more important. Bake for Ukraine supplies funds and equipment to independent bakeries feeding troops and people in need, many using traditional recipes, local produce and sustainable methods.
Recent efforts include replacing an oven in a Kherson shop following a rocket attack and buying a mobile bakery to deliver bread to remote areas. The charity also encourages foreign bakeries to make palyanytsya – a round, white loaf so quintessentially Ukrainian its name has been used as a shibboleth to detect Russian spies – and donate the profits. Hackney’s e5 Bakehouse is just one of the places where you can find them. bakeforukraine.org
A design fair celebrating Ukrainian makers
I Am U Are – a play on UA, Ukraine’s country code – brings the best of Ukrainian furniture, jewellery, fashion and tech to the US. After last year’s inaugural event drew thousands of visitors, the organisation has launched an online platform where shoppers can choose from traditional handcrafted ceramics, woollen rugs from the mountain town of Kosiv and jewellery concealing nature-inspired solid perfumes.
A percentage of profits go to the platform’s operations but the majority goes directly to the sellers. The next fair, which places a heavier emphasis on technology, lands in Los Angeles this December with 120 vendors and a panoply of panel discussions. In the meantime, a pop-up opens at Public Records NYC next month. iamuare.world
Virtual tickets to help rebuild galleries
When wondering how to support her Ukrainian neighbours, Tatiana Fokina, the Russian CEO of the Hedonism wines group, landed on an idea popularised during the pandemic. Save the Spot allows people to buy “tickets” to closed cultural institutions, with all funds directly supporting their upkeep and rebuilding efforts. Recipient galleries, theatres and libraries – each verified by the charity’s partners in Ukraine – range from regional archives such as the Ivankiv Historical and Local History museum, to the Chernihiv Historical Museum of Vasyl Tarnovsky, which holds more than 170,000 artefacts. savethespot.org
A “balletcore” collection supporting Kyiv’s dance students
At the Kyiv State Choreographic College, 210 young students are still honing their craft. The war broke out while major repairs were under way at the college, leaving the dancers living on campus in need of heating and insulation. With state aid directed elsewhere, principal dancer Kateryna Kukhar set up Revival of KSBC, a charity fund to help finish the restoration. Recently Kukhar has collaborated with Ukrainian brand Cabanchi on a ‘balletcore’ collection of bodysuits, hoodies and hairbands; 10 per cent of sales will go to the college as part of an ongoing partnership. Donate to the Kyiv State Choreographic College at send.monobank.ua. Shop the Cabanchi x K Kukhar collection at cabanchi.com
A mountain therapy camp for children
Recognising the trauma faced by Ukraine’s children, fashion designer Oksana Lebedeva founded Gen.Ukrainian to help provide emotional support. With backing from psychologists and Ukrainian First Lady Olena Zelenska, Gen.Camp provides free, science-based therapies – including music therapy and art activities – for children away from the air raid sirens. In 2023, the camp moved from Spain to Ukraine’s Carpathian mountains, where it will provide rehabilitation to more than 300 children throughout the year. genukrainian.com.ua
And one last thing… a commercial initiative with a new social housing proposition
Engineers Alex Stepura and Oleg Pogonyshev experienced first-hand the need to rapidly produce low-cost accommodation when the homes of their employees in Kyiv were destroyed. On the back of a napkin, they developed a fully modular home that can be built 99 per cent faster than a typical home, using a third of the energy. Under the name HOMErs, they now sell fully-furnished homes with central heating and running water for £14,500. The brand currently produces 10-15 homes each month, with hopes to expand production when a new plant opens in Slovakia next year. homers-global.com