This is not a regular Smashing article. But these aren’t regular times either.
I was born and grew up in Minsk, Belarus. That’s where I spent nights playing Prince of Persia. That’s where I’d wait in front of a bakery nearby for the smell of freshly basked Narochansky bread. That’s also the place where our family went to peaceful protests on the streets, even then back in the 90s heavily suppressed by an armed regime with a brutal force.
I was surrounded by incredible friends from all over. Nobody cared if it was Belarus, Ukraine or Russia, or any other friendly country in the world. We didn’t have much, but what we did have we valued enormously. From the collections of wrapping paper of chocolates to huge snowballs we were creating outside. I remember us reading dictionaries and encyclopedias, playing hockey outside, dreaming about the bright future while looking at the sky, together.
Today, people in Ukraine can’t do that. I’ve been dozens of times in Ukraine, and I have very close friends in this wonderful country — incredibly kind and passionate people who want nothing but a better world for their families and the people around them. Some of us here at Smashing have Ukrainian origins, and we have close connections to our Ukrainian friends and colleagues.
What’s happening right now in Ukraine is deeply personal to all of us. It’s shocking and horrifying to see the streets of Ukraine being shelled, civil homes being bombed, people hiding in shelters, people leaving their homes, families torn apart. It’s unimaginable to realize that it’s happening right here, in the heart of Europe, right now.
I strongly believe that there are wonderful people everywhere in the world, and I truly believe that most people are good and kind and supportive and empathetic. And I won’t believe for a moment that any reasonable, decent and honest person can support the actions happening today.
As a design community, we all can’t be silent in these times. We need to be united in our fight against the war, for democracy, for those dreams that children are entitled to have when they are growing up. It’s our obligation to help as much as we can. This should be personal to all of us. And Ukraine needs our help, now.
How Can You Help?
Everybody can make a huge difference:
- As a merchant, set up a product and donate funds to Ukraine.
If you run a store, set up a product and allow people to set their own price, then donate funds to Ukraine. A point in case: BackStage Roasters from Lithuania, selling coffee at “you-pay-what-you-want” price, with all collected funds going to Ukraine. Here are some ways to donate.
- Speak up in your company and organization to support Ukraine.
Speak in your Slack channels about what your company and organization can do to help Ukraine today. Think about campaigns you could launch to collect funds or donate money.
- Publish posts showcasing organizations and companies supporting Ukraine.
Let the voice of the kind people helping out be heard; share the stories of how companies help in these times and share on social media. A great example is Wix.com, with team members driving all the way to the border of Poland-Ukraine, and along with the Polish team helping the Ukrainian co-workers and their families across the border and bring them to safety.
–Support Ukrainian refugees in your city or country.
Talk to people around and find out what is needed and donate clothing, shelter, old phones, or anything else that might be of help.
- Support your Ukrainian friends, loud and clear.
Make your position clear. Ask your Ukrainian friends and colleagues what they need, and what you can do to help.
- As a VPN service provider, create special plans for Russian people.
As social media are being blocked and censored in Russia, we need to help Russian people learn the truth about what’s happening in Ukraine today. You could also write posts explaining how to set up a VPN or use Telegram proxies in Russian.
Donate And Support Ukraine
- How you can help Ukraine as a foreigner (+ another list)
Well-structured lists of suggestions and local tips to donate, provide humanitarian help and influence authorities.
- Resources for Ukrainian refugees, shelter maps, ways to donate
A list maintained by Elliot Jay Stocks, with actionable steps to take immediately.
- Thread of donation links and organizations to support + more organizations
More organizations in Ukraine, funds for caritas, funds for children and humanitarian aid.
- Designers United for Ukraine 🇺🇦
A growing Discord channel of designers and design businesses who want to help displaced Ukrainian colleagues to reach safety and continue to work.
- List of peaceful protests around the world
To help you unite in your community and find your nearest demonstration to show your support.
- If Internet is being blocked in your country, install VPNs for your friends, relatives and their friends: ProtonVPN has a free plan, and NordVPN, PrivateVPN currently have reduced their pricing, and can be tested for free for 30 days. Also, recommend the list of proxies for Telegram.
We all are Ukraine. And we all can make a difference — however small it might appear to be at first. 🇺🇦 ❤️