Right here’s how one can assist help victims of the struggle in Ukraine


Meet the Folks for Folks crew in particular person at this 12 months’s TNW Convention to seek out out extra about the way you or your group can assist help victims of the struggle in Ukraine.

“It’s very human to begin considering by way of us and them. However in my private expertise, struggle solely has victims,” mentioned Ali Niknam, CEO of neobank bunq, in an interview with TNW.

Born to Iranian dad and mom, Niknam skilled this first-hand throughout the Iran-Iraq Battle. After seeing the struggle in Ukraine get away in February, he wrote a Linkedin publish providing to supply shelter and help to anybody escaping the battle.

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What Niknam hadn’t anticipated was the inflow of help his message would generate. Within the lengthy thread of feedback and DMs he obtained over the next days, folks not solely voiced help, they wished to know the way they may assist.

Because the founding father of certainly one of Amsterdam’s thriving scaleups, Ali realized he already had a robust community of entrepreneurial people who knew methods to transfer quick.

He was quickly joined by the founders of two of Amsterdam’s different main scaleups: Joris Beckers co-founder of Picnic and Robert Vis CEO of MessageBird. Collectively, they created the People for People Foundation.

Inside the first few weeks, bunq jumped by way of the logistical and technical hurdles wanted to assist refugees open free bank accounts on the corporate’s platform (to date, they’ve opened 6,300 and counting). One in every of Niknam’s buddies managed to get a truck throughout the border stuffed with child meals and diapers provided by Picnic. MessageBird helped get SIM playing cards to folks so they may contact their households.

“All of it went in a short time, no politics, no bullshit, we simply bought it completed,” Ali mentioned.

And it wasn’t simply tech firms. Any enterprise that contacted the Basis wanting to assist was related with people or a non-profit in want. A Polish furnishings firm that wished to assist was related with individuals who got a brand new place to stay, however had no possessions. Tony Chocoloney wished to donate pallets of chocolate, so Folks for Folks discovered transport to ship and distribute them to kids in refugee camps in Ukraine, orphanages in Poland, and a faculty in Eindhoven receiving incoming college students.

Particular person volunteers got here ahead to assist as translators, drive supply vehicles, assist with logistics, and provides native language classes to kids.

Truck load of supplies heading to the boarder with Urkaine

A company that helps everybody

One of many first rules that seems entrance and middle on Folks for Folks’s web site is that anybody impacted by the Russian-Ukrainian struggle, no matter their background, will obtain help.

It’s not simply Ukrainians, it’s additionally Russians. There’s no us vs. them. The world immediately is simply too advanced to suit into 140 characters, however as a result of our media has grow to be more and more quick and overloaded with soundbites, we’ve created this setting the place we’ve wrongfully discovered to assume in black and white. For instance, I’ve had quite a few Russian buddies who at the moment are frightened of the key police as a result of they demonstrated in opposition to the struggle and so they’re nervous about their households. We’ve had Russians knock on our door as effectively, and we are going to assist them simply in addition to we will.

He defined {that a} good friend of his is now harboring a Russian journalist who opposed the struggle. Though he’s now protected within the Netherlands, he can’t entry the visa scheme the EU launched for Ukrainians, and subsequently can’t get a job or entry primary companies provided to folks with refugee standing. Discussing the Ukrainian visa, Niknam lamented:

It could have been an excellent alternative to point out how united we’re and to inform everybody, “Hey, when you’re for peace and also you’re in opposition to struggle, no matter your nationality, you’re welcome.” That might have been such a unique message for our political leaders to ship. The present method is a really quaint mind-set.

What Folks for Folks wants now

Whereas the primary weeks had been a flurry of broad ranging tasks, Niknam and the crew quickly discovered they wanted to focus and construction their efforts. With expertise in serving to companies launch moonshots, Jesse van der Meulen, founding father of company innovation studio Aimforthemoon, was appointed as co-director of the Basis.

The primary month we had been doing many issues. Then we puzzled, how can we place ourselves so as to add probably the most worth?

Folks for Folks shortly grew to become a platform to match up these in want of help with these providing help.

We noticed we will do this greatest by being a platform and mixing on the availability facet extra firms like bunq, MessageBird, and Picnic. Many firms wish to do one thing however they don’t all the time know the way. If you wish to do one thing, we will have a name and discover completely different choices. Are you able to contain your staff ultimately, your clients, or are you able to donate items or companies?

We additionally began working with foundations that we belief and constructed relationships with them. As an alternative of doing all of it ourselves, we now have eight accomplice foundations, fixing for transport, housing, and many others. We even have a provide chain that may ship items from right here to struggle zones in Ukraine inside one week by way of our collaboration with Lifeline Ukraine.

One factor they constantly want are provides corresponding to meals, medication, diapers, turbines, kids’s toys, and many others. However, as van der Meulen defined, it doesn’t matter what firms are prepared to supply, Folks for Folks can search by way of their community to discover a match for it.

For many who wish to assist monetarily, Folks for Folks will quickly launch a crowd donation web page the place you may donate on to tasks their companions are endeavor. Follow them on Twitter or Linkedin to seek out out when the web page goes stay.

“I actually consider in collective entrepreneurship to resolve the largest challenges. We continually have to reinvent ourselves as a result of the main target modifications. What I like about scaleups is that you simply nonetheless have the entrepreneurial spirit. Now we have a direct line with Niknam, Vis, and Beckers who could make selections instantly. So our decision-making course of is simply as quick as a startup’s, however we even have entry to a number of sources, items, cash, and other people. So now we’re seeing how we will add extra bunqs, Picnics, and MessageBirds to our Basis,” van der Meulen mentioned.

What new arrivals within the Netherlands want now

Seeing the struggle transfer ever nearer to her house within the south of Kyiv, Anna Tian left for Amsterdam on the finish of March. With a background in communications and having labored for a number of tech firms, she quickly landed a job as head of communications for Folks for Folks.

For Tian, becoming a member of Folks for Folks wasn’t simply in regards to the job, it was additionally a manner for her to maneuver ahead.

Every single day you’re scrolling the information and feeling tremendous nervous. Terrible issues are taking place every single day. However doing one thing not just for your self, but in addition for Ukraine, helps you proceed dwelling your life.

In her expertise, the largest problem folks escaping the struggle face when arriving within the Netherlands is discovering a job and getting their life began once more.

To fulfill this want, the inspiration not too long ago launched People for People Jobs. After signing up, subscribers will obtain new jobs from trusted companions (like bunq) of their electronic mail and invites to offline matchmaking occasions.

While you begin a brand new job in a brand new setting, it may be tough. In Kyiv, for instance, the working setting is completely different. So we wish to help folks within the first months right here.

If you happen to work for an organization within the Netherlands trying to rent expertise, contact Folks for Folks to seek out out how one can take part of their subsequent matchmaking occasion.

And the second most essential want after discovering a job? Group.

In addition they want Russian or Ukrainian talking buddies. It’s actually exhausting in conditions like this to be with individuals who don’t perceive you in any respect, generally you simply want to attach with people who find themselves in the identical scenario.

If you happen to’re a Ukrainian or Russian speaker dwelling within the Netherlands, learn the way you can help by volunteering with Folks for Folks or their accomplice organizations.

Volunteers and members of the People for People team

We have to maintain the momentum going

“If something, I hope that what Folks for Folks will do, past the rapid assist, is to encourage folks to do one thing. Even when you assist only one particular person, that’s one much less one that’s struggling,” Niknam mentioned.

Certainly, Folks for Folks has helped to create a ripple impact throughout the Netherlands and past. After seeing the work they had been doing, a bunch of entrepreneurs in Amstelveen organized to supply native help for folks fleeing the battle. One other group is trying to emulate the Basis’s mannequin in France.

However, whereas the primary month of the struggle was met with widespread help and an eagerness to assist, van der Meulen has seen this eagerness begin to gradual drastically.

I feel throughout the first month, everybody wished to do one thing. Now we hear an increasing number of, ‘we already did one thing.’ Or ‘life goes on right here, we even have our personal logistics and provide chain challenges, so we will’t endlessly donate items.’

We additionally hear from our basis companions that within the first month every single day just a few vehicles arrived and now there’s possibly one. For us the challenges are: how can we maintain the momentum going? And the way can we transfer to actions which have long-term worth corresponding to offering jobs and boosting native entrepreneurship once more in Ukraine.

For Tian, arriving within the Netherlands in March was a vibrant gentle on the finish of a seemingly countless tunnel.

I used to be very touched as a result of, at first, it felt like we had been alone on this struggle. However you then really feel a number of help from all around the world.

However, there are nonetheless individuals who want help. In response to the UN, over six million refugees have fled Ukraine to date, and one other eight million are internally displaced. “The struggle remains to be occurring and individuals are in an much more tough scenario now, so we have to maintain going,” she urged.

Donate, rent, volunteer, share, no matter you do, it’s time to take motion. Contact the People for People Foundation immediately to seek out out what you are able to do.

Don’t overlook you can even meet their crew in particular person at this 12 months’s TNW Convention. 



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