The problem Statement:
On the morning of February 24, 2022, Russia announced an invasion of Ukraine. Since then, large numbers of families have been on the move, arriving at train stations and bus stations in need of information and assistance; transportation to friends, family, and safe places for shelter and support; food, water, and items to protect them from the harsh winter conditions, & in need of medical and psychosocial support. According to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), over 2 million people have already fled Ukraine, and over one million more are on the move within the country, escaping violence – thus creating the worst refugee crisis in the last 75 years in such a short period.
“Help to Ukrainians. Free food and drink.”
Creds: Shannon Ashton (Lifting Hands International)
There was much suffering around Ukraine, especially for Women and children. As the families tried to escape to the neighboring countries, many women and children were left alone; some slept in cars, and some waited in the cold without any protection at the border. Our goal is to help the kids who must have witnessed the terrifying war experience. After learning about the harsh conditions and lifestyles of these families, we decided to attempt to make a difference by creating a fundraiser.
We began planning and brainstorming different products that could be sold at a discounted rate to raise money for the cause. After considering several ideas, we decided to create and sell homemade candles. Candle making was finalized as our project because candles are warm, welcoming, and calming. Next, we designed and advertised multiple flyers for awareness, built a budget to balance our costs and profits, and raised $150.00 by selling 60 candles ($2.50 each) in 3 weeks. We continued to work back and forth to create and sell our candles. Starting by selling the candles at the temple, we then had some showings at home and targeted the local hospital. Following the Empower And Help timeline helped us meet the deadlines. When starting a fundraiser, you must know your limits and availability and set achievable goals. Do not have an incomplete plan, and attempt to figure out your arrangements on the spot. Instead, be organized and come prepared. Also, don’t feel discouraged when you don’t reach a certain amount, as there is always room for improvement.
The experience has taught us that we can approach people for help if we have a good cause to fight for and that others are willing to come together and support us when given awareness. We were able to create meaningful connections and learned to have constant communications and regular follow-ups with our neighbors and encourage them to help support the cause. Our fundraiser was an incredible experience to be in control of what we created and to be able to help fund a cause we care about.
- In The Midst of the Crisis in Ukraine, Women and Children Are Left On their Own – CARE
- 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine – Wikipedia
[By Divya Raheja and Gayatri Raheja , Empower And Help Student Ambassador 2022 from New Jersey]