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Ukrainian Hero Igor Veselukha Saves Lives through Guerilla Charity Safe Passage 4 Ukraine


The charity, in partnership Iris, has launched the campaign to tackle the drop in donations following media interest decline

Ukrainian Hero Igor Veselukha Saves Lives through Guerilla Charity Safe Passage 4 Ukraine

Safe Passage 4 Ukraine, an initiative which invites people globally to donate their unused air miles and hotel points to fly Ukrainians to safety, has seen 15 million air miles and 2.4 million hotel points donated one year on from the full-scale Russian invasion.

Co-founded by Ukraine native Igor Veselukha, who was desperate to support the people affected by the ongoing conflict, the charity has supported over 9,500 Ukrainian families, soldiers and survivors in evacuating them from the war torn country and moving them to a safe environment.

Through the use of an innovative guerilla approach to fundraising and raising awareness on Reddit feeds, the charity has raised over £1 million, alongside the donated air miles and hotel points to support the displaced citizens.

After initially working with a number of big NGOs and smaller volunteer groups on the ground, Igor built a network of people and support lines, both on a global scale and on the ground in Ukraine, who were dedicated to helping those who remained within a warzone.

Sparked by the fear that countries bordering Ukraine would soon reach their capacity to take in refugees who were also unable to afford flights to safety, the not-for-profit initiative is built on the idea of people donating unused air miles from the duration of the pandemic.

The charity was also created to provide support ranging from travel assistance and resettlement, ground evacuations and transportation, winter supply distribution and reintegration and decompression, with the first rescue taking place in April 2022.

With the help of Igor’s support lines and volunteers based in Ukraine, SP4U offers a variety of evacuations including medical support, helping injured soldiers who need critical treatment in other countries, people with limited mobility, cancer patients, or other unique travel requirements with safe transportation out of the warzone. The initiative also provides ground evacuations of injured foreign military volunteers and transports belongings of fallen legionaries to family members.

On their rescue, one evacuee said, “We are grateful for your help, for the fact that we are here, for the chance to live a normal life again and to try to forget the nightmare that we had to go through. Thanks to you and to the people like you, we can finally breathe freely. We will never forget about you.”

On the front line and recently liberated areas, SP4U has also funded over 700 wood-burning stoves with donor-personalised messages, ranging from heartfelt messages to ‘Stovey McStoveFace’ and distributed thermals and winter clothing, generators, heating pads and even toys to children over the Christmas period.

The newest program to launch also aims to reintegrate foreign volunteers in a safe environment in Poland, supporting their decompression after providing integral support at or near the front-lines..

“On the 18th of March, soldiers from the Ukrainian Armed Forces came to us. It became obvious that the frontline was not somewhere far but in our backyard. I had to make a decision, to stay or to leave. That’s when the nightmare started” one refugee said.

Working in partnership with SP4U, Iris, the creative marketing agency, has created a fundraising video campaign to reignite support following a decrease in media attention. The campaign video showcases a series of testimonials from those helped by the initiative, with the aim of emphasising the need for donations against a backdrop of decreasing media attention to the work being done on the front line.

Igor Veselukha said, “When the full-scale war broke out, I started to help the Ukrainian cause remotely by translating refugee’s critical documentation but quickly realised that more should be done to better understand the needs of the volunteers fighting for the safety of every Ukrainian civilian. I saw how limited the funding was that was trickling through to the front line and found it impossible to sit by and do nothing.”

He continued, “Safe Passage 4 Ukraine was created to safely evacuate anyone who needed our help from Ukraine and neighbouring countries. A lot of these people had not only lost loved ones but were now finding themselves homeless and unable to fully integrate into the countries welcoming refugees. We are working to save as many refugees as we can and turn the world’s attention back to the unimaginable struggle being faced on the ground in the region to ensure we can go on helping.”

Jan Pruijser, associate creative director at Iris, said, “After meeting Igor on a flight, I was blown away by his story and what he was achieving on the ground in Ukraine, I was surprised not more people knew about this incredible initiative. I wanted to help by utilising my network of creative of talent to encourage more people to donate by telling his story through powerful creative.

“Working alongside the talented editing and design team here at Iris, Burning Flag, GAS music, No8 talent and many more. We were able to create a compelling film which will hopefully encourage more people to donate in any way they can to support more Ukrainians. 

“The project has been an incredible example of what can be achieved when the creative community come together and support each other on vital projects” he continued.


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Categories: Charity, Corporate, Social and PSAs

Iris, Thu, 30 Mar 2023 10:17:31 GMT