Written by Shannon Currie and Phil Billingham of Perceptive Planning, and David Crozier of Navigator Financial Planning
In common with everyone else in financial services, Shannon Currie and Phil Billingham of Perceptive Planning, and David Crozier of Navigator Financial Planning reacted with shock and disbelief when Russian tanks rolled across the Ukrainian border on the 24th February 2022, and watched in increasing horror as the waves of refugees – mainly women, children and old people – fled the bombs and missiles.
Like many others, we gave what we could to the charities that were being mobilised. But that was not enough.
So on the 11th March, and then the 5th April, first Phil and Shannon, and then David, along with Stephen Gallagher headed off with packed vans, set on delivering aid to refugees in Poland.
Simple, basic and immediate aid, donated by our local communities and our financial services networks.
Since our return from Poland, we have become increasingly concerned with the impact on Moldova – the poorest country in Europe, outside of the EU, and with a long border with Ukraine.
We identified that www.refugeessupporteu.com had acted swiftly and had opened a ‘Dignity Centre’ in Chisinau. Some of the ‘spare’ money collected was donated to them, followed by Phil and Shannon visiting Chisinau to see the Dignity Centre in May, as well as the umbrella organisation in Moldova, called ‘Moldova for Peace’.
Paul Hutchings, Co-Founder of Refugees Support, said: “Within two weeks of arriving in Chisinau Moldova in March, we had set up a ‘Dignity Centre’ to help with the sudden arrival of Ukrainian refugees.
“At the heart of the Centre is a Dignity Market where we use a ‘points’ system. It means people can choose the free food and hygiene items that they want. Not only do they get essential items they need, but they get some agency over their lives, experience a little normality and receive solidarity from our compassionate volunteers.
“And by buying everything locally we are also supporting the generous Moldovan people.
“We are completely reliant on individuals to fund the supplies and could not continue without the generous support of good people around the world.”
Here is the video about our work:
It quickly became clear that the longer Ukraine holds out, the more the need for aid moves from nappies and sleeping bags to long term, sustainable support.
And unfortunately, that includes disability aids for the elderly, driven from their homes, living on the kindness of strangers in Moldova, but with limited spare resources.
So Operation ‘Help the Refugees’ – Part 2’ is required – they need our help.
The three planners are launching an appeal to collect both finance and disability aids for Moldova, to be taken by themselves, or shipped directly, if that is more efficient. They are also using some of the funds so generously donated – by the financial services community in particular – to help ‘Moldova for Peace’ buy a car to reduce their overhead and give them more resources.
They will then be travelling out – at their own expense – to offer hands on support, such as driving people and food / aid around the country, as the resources available on the ground are still limited.
When approached, Steliana Rudco, food and Goods co-ordinator for Moldova for Peace, said “This is great news, we are indeed in search of a car, because right now we are renting, and it is really expensive for us. About the equipment for people with disabilities, it is a huge demand for it”.
What can you do?
1. Donate directly through the links given
2. Donate to the appeal – see links below
3. Help us source wheelchairs, walking aids and so forth – please email us. Every little helps.
4. Go to Moldova and see what they are doing, spend money in the economy, volunteer, help in some way
5. Find other ways to support those who are needing the support – there are other routes
There is no one right way – all paths are valid. But there is work to be done and we can all do something.
To donate to the Financial Planners Ukrainian Refugees Appeal, just click this link