The whole world looked on in shock as Russia invaded its neighbour with horrific consequences for both the Ukrainian people and their animals.
Nowzad could not just look on what was unfolding, so via our social media channels we sought both financial and physical donations to do what we could in the worst affected areas of eastern Ukraine.
Our Nowzad family did not let us down. The Nowzad office soon became swamped with dog and cat food, dog and cat crates, beds, nappies, bandages, medical kits and more. So much so that we have had to take on 3 extra storage facilities just to deal with the amount of donated supplies. Your willingness to support is amazing.
Collecting the supplies and co-ordinating the sorting and preparation for delivery to Poland has been a task of epic proportions and we would like to say a heartfelt thank you to the Tiverton volunteers, headed up by David and Ann. They have worked flat out for several weeks to make sure the supplies are headed east through a logistical chain made worse by the complication of post-Brexit paperwork and the fallout from the P&O sackings scandal.
But via our Ukrainian team in Lviv those amazing supplies you have sent are reaching those in need in the east of the country. Yes, you read that correctly; we have now got a team in Ukraine, and Nowzad is currently undergoing the process to become a registered charity fund there.
Pen travelled to Irpin, north west of Kyiv to see the need for himself, arriving literally the day after the Russians pulled back. His social media reports have made harrowing viewing. The indiscriminate bombing and targeting of civilians was all too obvious.
The team of amazingly brave, local volunteers combed the bombed-out town to find the dogs and cats and other animals sadly left behind as the residents rushed to evacuate. Many were recovered and taken away to be fostered whilst the team work to trace their owners.
There was also relief amongst Irpin residents who stayed behind and survived the bombing when they realised the team was carrying dog and cat food. They had stayed to look after the local dogs and cats but had run out of supplies several weeks ago! It was amazing to be part of the rescue effort. And your donations made that possible.
The task ahead is enormous and most likely continuous for yet another while. With no guarantee that Putin will end this invasion anytime soon, we are currently only able to keep sending supplies to those who we have verified of being in need, whilst safe corridors exist.
As a charity we decided from the very beginning that Nowzad will not be involved in animal rescue operations to remove animals from Ukraine. We have no facilities in Europe or the UK to house any evacuated animals and we are still in the position of having several dogs from Operation Ark to find loving forever homes for.
Our long-term plan is to support the care and treatment of animals in Ukraine by rebuilding local shelter facilities and supporting local rescue groups. Sadly, we have seen too many well-meaning rescue groups transporting as many dogs and cats out of Ukraine as they possibly can with no rehoming plan in place. This creates new problems further down the line. Nowzad will not be adding to that problem.
Sadly, we have heard of several groups who are asking for donations who are not registered charities, along with many fraudulent fundraising platforms claiming to be raising funds to help the Ukrainian effort. Please do check before you donate that it is a registered charity taking your hard-earned donations and that they have a presence in Ukraine!
We have also been told that people are trying to misuse our name with fradulent accounts to receive donations.
We will never ask for donations through individual messages on social media or similar.
Our donation link online will only ever be www.nowzad.com/donate
For our Nowzad Ukraine mission we are now only asking for financial donations. The logistics of transporting donated supplies from England is just too much both in time and cost, which can be used more efficiently by purchasing supplies within Europe or even Ukraine. Ukraine still has good infrastructure in the western areas, which we will use and support to its fullest, both for our efficiency to help the eastern parts of Ukraine and for the locals who face uncertainty but clearly want to keep their economy going in the west.
To all those who have donated thank you – the Nowzad team will keep working for the people and animals in Ukraine, and then, whenever this conflict has stabilized, the rebuilding can begin.