The invasion of Ukraine represents a quickly escalating political, economic and humanitarian crisis. This impacts everyone, particularly more vulnerable people and those with support needs; such as older people, persons with disabilities, children, homeless people and others. Via this page you can find out more about the current situation for persons with disabilities in Ukraine and the services that support them. You can also find more information on how you as an individual, or an organisation, can help. Further, you can join our facebook group where all members are sharing resources and relevant information with respect to the situation of persons with disabilities in Ukraine. Join the group here
Since the start of the invasion of Ukraine millions of people have fled the country or have been internally displaced. Persons with disabilities, including children, are particularly at risk; in large part due to the increased difficulties in getting to safety; both shelters but also safer areas – within and outside of Ukraine. 10,000s of persons with disabilities also live in very large residential institutions, very often without family support and – in current situation – without adequate professional support.
The Ukrainian authorities are working with persons with disabilities in Ukraine to organise and facilitate the evacuation of those who wish to leave. The Ukrainian government has requested EASPD to support it in its efforts.
In response, EASPD is opening Temporary Regional Offices (TROs) to better coordinate the relocation process for persons with disabilities from Ukraine, particularly those in institutions, to other countries. Relocating is extremely complex and requires appropriate resources due to the significant number of refugees involved, the requirements of people with disabilities (accessibility, specific support needs, medicine, etc) and their families in such processes, the lack of pre-existing expertise on these issues, and challenges around coordination between Civil Society Organisations and public authorities from across Europe.
The main functions of a TROs will be as follows:
- Liaising with and coordinating between local organizations in the region who are providing support to refugees with disabilities.
- Ensuring that humanitarian aid reaches persons with disabilities who are in Ukraine; displaced persons with disabilities within Ukraine; refugees with disabilities and their caregivers and families.
- Coordinating logistical support and material donations towards their regions and Ukraine.
- Coordinating with disability services who are able to provide housing and support elsewhere in Europe and matching them with refugees with disabilities who are currently located in their region.
- Communicating with the European office of EASPD for common efforts in support persons with disabilities and organizations on spot.
- Gathering information for local needs and getting info from EASPD on correct matches from members and partners of EASPD.
- Remaining in communication with other TRO’s to be able to coordinate activities as and when is appropriate.
The TROs will operate in the following locations:
- Chelm, Poland
- Budapest, Hungary
- Palanca, Moldova
- Isaccea, Romania
- Varna, Bulgaria
- Senec, Slovakia
The above location locations have been selected due to their proximity to Ukraine and for being key hubs of transport between Ukraine and Europe.
To support the above initiative and the relocation process for persons with disabilities from Ukraine, please donate via the below details. The money donated will be used solely dedicated for this cause and EASPD will provide periodic reports on how the money has been used.
Organisation: European Association of Service providers for Persons with Disabilities
Contact Person: Rachel Vaughan, Head of Operations
EASPD Address: Handelsstraat / Rue du Commerce 72, B- 1040 Brussels - Belgium.
Account Number: BE88 0689 4490 7541
Correspondent Bank: Belfius BANK, Pachecolaan 44 – BE 1000 Brussels
BIC: GKCC BEBB
Payment reference: Support for action on Ukraine
1. Join a peaceful demonstration in your city
Exercise your right to be heard and show your support for the people of Ukraine and the ending of the war by joining a peaceful protest.
Find a peaceful protest near you at www.standwithukraine.live.
2. Have an active position online for peace and respect of human rights
In the current climate it is important to continue to actively promote peace and the respect for human rights. Raising awareness for the needs of people with disabilities and the role of their informal caregivers and support services is crucial in conflict, as they are often forgotten.
In many cities and towns in Europe, community initiatives and large scale coordinated volunteer campaigns are being run by local or international organisations such as the Red Cross, Caritas or the Scouts.
Many of these initiatives need help with key activities such as sorting humanitarian aid or online coordination. It may seem minor, but you can make a difference and your help really matters.
4. Support a Ukrainian social organisation
There are many internally displaced people in Ukraine currently – having fled their home but remaining in the country. You can provide support to Ukrainian social organisations who are working on the ground in cooperation with humanitarian help to provide support and services across the country. EASPD are glad to recommend our partner the National Assembly of Persons with Disabilities Ukraine.
5. Support a social organisation welcoming refugees
Thousands of people fleeing the war in Ukraine are seeking refuge in border countries including Slovakia, Poland, Moldova, Hungary Romania and Bulgaria. Crossing the border may mean a safer place, but not safety. The organisations working directly with refugees are working under enormous pressure and your support will be meaningful and is needed now.
1. Assess how you can help according to your organisations capacity and be vocal
Access your capacity as an organisation within your local volunteer network and with your partners on national and international level. Tell us at EASPD and we can connect you with other professionals who have similar capacity or/and ideas. Is it direct work with people? Is it advocacy Can you support refugees, or can you support people working on the ground? Having a clear position in these difficult times – even on your NGO’s FB and website is important.
2. Write to your regional and national authorities, ask them what they are doing regarding the crisis in Ukraine and offer your support
When contacting your local authorities, it is important to underline the needs of people with disabilities as well as the role of their informal caregivers and support services is in conflict. Sometimes very technical process can make a difference (for example, organising a legal mechanism for people who have rare diseases to have access to free medical care immediately after they arrive). In times of crisis authorities benefit from civil society’s feedback as sometimes these organisations have more flexible ways of acquiring information. This is a very valuable feature of what you bring to the table as an NGO. Don’t underestimate it.
3. Work on your capacity to support people in crisis
To have experience in supporting people fleeing war requires a very particular set of skills. Support services can be beneficial networks for promoting the integration of refugees. Tools such as the those created in the AMID project can help your organisation to acquire these skills. Find out more on this webpage.
4. Reach out to your MPs and MEPs and encourage them to raise awareness on the topic
Ask your representatives which funds are available for supporting social organisations working directly on the ground and for persons with disabilities who are still in Ukraine. Asking your political representatives on behalf of your organisation shows not only your commitment, but also underlines the importance of the issue on a political level.
5. Organise a community action for support of Ukraine
Engage your volunteer community and supporters, get in touch with international organizations or other local partners and coordinate actions that have very short-term and tangible results. Clear and transparent communication on where the gathered donations will go is a must here.
The reality for support services in Ukraine
On the 28th February EASPD hosted its first webinar on the invasion of Ukraine. The webinar enabled participants to hear from Ukrainian actors active in the field of disability on their current situation and their most pressing needs.
Aiding Ukraine: What are neighbouring support services doing?
Since the invasion of Ukraine millions of people living in Ukraine has sought refuge in its border countries. To better understand the issue on the borders, EASPD hosted a webinar on Friday 4th March to learn more about what support services are doing on the borders of Ukraine – especially for persons with disabilities – and to discuss what can be done to also help them.
War on Ukraine: What Situation for Persons with Disabilities?
Press conference by European Association of Service providers for Persons with Disabilities, Inclusion Europe and the European Disability Forum on the situation of persons with disabilities in Ukraine.
Persons with Disabilities in Ukraine: What you can do to help
This webinar, co-hosted by the European Association of Service providers for Persons with Disabilities and the National Task Group on Intellectual Disabilities and Dementia Practices was held on Friday 1st April 2022. It provides a discussion of the situation of persons with disabilities in Ukraine, including those with intellectual and developmental disabilities living at home and in institutions, as well as elderly adults. The webinar also addresses the situation of persons and organisations working to receive refugees with intellectual and developmental disabilities in the countries bordering Ukraine and as well as all of Europe.
- The recently completed AMiD (Access to services for Migrants with Disabilities) project has developed a number of tools for the efficient management of the reception and integration of asylum seekers and migrants with disabilities in the EU. These tools can be found below:
- Need Assessment Tool
- Training Modules- The training modules were created to improve knowledge, skills and attitudes of people exploring the field of migration with a focus on people with disabilities. Available in English Italian Greek German French
- Operative Module to Reach out to Authorities Available in English Italian Greek German French
Free webinar on 10th March 12:00 - 13:15 GMT 'Responsive Servcies with a Trauma Informed Lens'
European Disability Forum Resources on inclusive emergency response.
Helpline for persons with disabilities in Ukraine, provided by Keystone Moldova. Providing information, support and psychological counseling via +373 80 01 08 08. The call is free of charge from the entire territory of Moldova. You can also contact us via Viber and SMS at +373 60 60 15 49