49 days of war

By the time this article is published, the war in Ukraine has been ongoing for 49 days. 49 days of unfathomable violence. Since the outbreak of the war, Thursdays have become the symbolic milestones of grief. At WAVE, we want to use this Thursday to amplify the voices of our members from the Ukraine and share their stories with you. How have they been coping and what can you do to support them?

Let’s meet our member La-Strada Ukraine. They were previously based in Kyiv, working on preventing and tackling gender-based violence. They run the 24/7 national helpline for survivors of domestic violence, human trafficking and gender-based discrimination, supporting adults as well as young people and children.  

What happened to them 49 days ago? After the outbreak of the war, the team members and helpline consultants moved out of Kyiv to find safer accommodation for themselves throughout the country and abroad. During this time, the national helpline had to be limited to provide solely online consultations. Within two weeks, the team of La Strada-Ukraine managed to restore telephone helpline consultations. Psychologists, lawyers and social workers now continue to provide their services via phone. They receive an increasing number of requests about how to evacuate from the territories under attack or occupation by Russian troops and how to safely leave the Ukraine. Many calls are from people extremely in need of psychological assistance and support. They are traumatized by the war, lost their relatives and their homes. There are also calls from women experiencing domestic violence, with very limited options to get assistance or leave the abuser due to the current situation.  

The team of La Strada-Ukraine also witnesses cases of sexualised violence and harassment of women, in places that are supposed to be safe, such as bomb shelters; as well as cases of rape by Russian troops in occupied territories of the Ukraine. These new challenges and needs of course require adjustments and modifications of team work processes and content. Our colleagues continue to prepare and share useful information materials via social media – such as warnings about risks of sexualised violence and options on how to report these cases. With the donations through WAVE, the team of La Strada-Ukraine is able to continue their work and answer to the urgent needs of those most vulnerable – women and children. And despite the war, they grow and develop.  

Just two weeks ago, La Strada-Ukraine celebrated its 24th anniversary. Congratulations! 

Find out more about La Strada-Ukraine here.

Support women and women’s human rights defenders in the Ukraine and in neighbouring countries here.

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash