Ukraine has been defending itself against Russian attacks for more than 100 days. Millions of people are suffering from the war, many have fled to Germany.

In order to alleviate the suffering and to support those affected, the donation association of the Tagesspiegel started the fundraising campaign “Help people!” for the victims of the war in Ukraine together with our proven partner, the “Bündnis Entwicklung Hilft”, outside of the well-known Christmas series.

The money will benefit those affected in Ukraine, neighboring countries and Germany.

The Tagesspiegel donation association gives part of the sum to local refugee aid projects in Berlin. We present the organizations and some of the projects for which they intend to use the money. And we keep collecting.

The Elisabethstift is a child and youth welfare facility in Berlin and Brandenburg with a total of 15 locations – the main center is in Hermsdorf. As one of the oldest children’s homes in Berlin, the Elisabethstift helps children, young people and families who are in need.

Like now the one affected by the war. Refugees from the Ukraine, a foster mother with a total of nine children and a foster couple with a total of four children have also been living in Hermsdorf since mid-March.

The adults and children, between the ages of six and 17, are accommodated in vacant residential groups. The foster mother or foster parents had already taken care of the children in Ukraine. They are either orphans or they have no contact with their biological parents.

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“We assume that the experiences during the war and the flight were traumatic experiences for the people,” says Sabine Witt, the press spokeswoman for the Elisabethstift. That is why the aid organization would like to offer the Ukrainians trauma-pedagogical or therapeutic services and hire specialist staff on a fee basis. “We have contact with people who worked as therapists in Ukraine,” says Sabine Witt.

For example, one of the experts could offer a counseling center in the family meeting place, as the first point of contact for Ukrainian families, but also for children who live in the Elisabethstift. He could also offer therapies or, if necessary, therapeutic group work. It is also conceivable that he accompanies self-help groups. In addition, he could advise accompanying persons on trauma pedagogy.

The Elisabethstift can also use donations for other purposes. The facility needs money for staff who will support the Ukrainian children and young people with tutoring at school. There is one student teacher who has a 20-hour contract and helps with homework three days a week in the afternoon. He also advises the children on other school issues.

[You can read all current developments from the Ukraine and Berlin every morning from 6 a.m. in our Tagesspiegel newsletter Checkpoint. Subscribe here for free.]

However, according to Sabine Witt, this is not enough to ensure comprehensive, satisfactory care, especially since the need has increased considerably as a result of the refugees. “In the case of the Ukrainian residential group, we assume that there will be an additional need for coping with daily homework and preparing for exams or other challenges,” she says.

The Elisabethstift would like to hire someone on a fee basis who speaks Ukrainian or Russian and who can help with many questions of understanding. A ten-hour contract is conceivable.

It is also worth considering for the Elisabethstift the possibility of employing someone as part of the integration process who will study with the Ukrainian children as well as with the German children. What is ultimately funded is what is most effective and sensible.

The old Tempelhof Airport is once again the center of humanitarian aid. There, people are involved in the donation bridge Ukraine, an initiative of the social sponsor Tentaja Soziale non-profit GmbH in cooperation with the Berlin regional association of the German Life Saving Society (DLRG).

Tentaja Soziale gGmbH, in turn, was founded by Tamaja, which has been active in Hangar 1 at Tempelhof Airport since 2015. He was in charge of an arrival center and emergency accommodation there until 2017, after which Tamaja founded Tentaja gGmbH, which provides the infrastructure for a number of social projects in the hall with the “Hangar1” project, for example a volunteer café, a bicycle workshop and the Educational institution on the Rhine flank.

[How is the Ukraine war affecting your neighborhood? We also report on initiatives in the neighborhood and social issues relating to refugee aid in our twelve district newsletters. Get your free subscription here.]

The crisis service holds workshops in the hangar. In addition, Hangar 1 houses the central warehouse for donations in kind from the donation bridge. In addition to aid transports to the Ukraine, supply trips within Berlin are organized on a regular basis. Hygiene items in particular are transported several times a day by van to the aid stations at the main train station, the Südkreuz or the central bus station (ZOB).

Because at these contact points there is simply not enough space to store the material that is being distributed. The newly arrived refugees from Ukraine primarily receive items at the train stations or at the central bus station that they urgently need after days of travel, including baby food and hygiene items.

Tentaja would like to use the donations to buy the necessary items, and the money is also needed to cover the cost of driving the five small trucks. The DLRG is a cooperation partner “because it has a lot of experience in transport management”.

The association Moabit helps was founded in 2013 by today’s spokeswoman Diana Henniges and since then has been an active citizens’ initiative and neighborhood help for the support and long-term integration of refugees.

Immediately after the start of Russia’s war of aggression in Ukraine, the association started appeals for food and hygiene items. The donations are still being used to care for people at arrival points.

In addition, the association organizes transport services to bring people with serious previous illnesses or disabilities from the train stations to the arrival center or to private accommodation. In some cases, trips from the border area to Berlin are also organized for which the infrastructure or the necessary resources would otherwise be lacking.

If necessary, onward travel by plane to other EU countries or visa-free countries, for example to relatives, will also be financed. Until the onward journey, the association takes over the overnight stay in the hostel or at the hotel at the airport and provides so-called starter bags with food vouchers, SIM mobile phone cards and hygiene articles.

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According to Henniges, many refugees have found accommodation in private accommodation, but due to the persistent lack of information – among refugees and those who are accommodating them – there are often failures in state social benefits. In order to prevent homelessness, Moabit helps set up a database on private housing options and two hotlines.

Especially with the transition from benefits as an asylum seeker to SGB II benefits, also known as Hartz IV, there have been increasing problems in recent weeks. “To put it simply: social welfare offices often no longer feel responsible and job centers do not yet feel responsible,” reports Henniges.

In order to avoid supply gaps and the resulting high costs for food, medicine and accommodation, Moabit Hilft has opened a second location on Alexanderplatz in addition to the main location on Turmstraße.

Up to 100 victims of the Ukraine war receive advice on asylum issues and medical first aid as well as opportunities for childcare and psychological mediation. Trained employees also support with translations and accompany refugees on official visits and visits to the doctor. “For emergencies that fall through the cracks in the responsibility of the authorities at state level, we have rented rooms in hotels and hand out food and hygiene items to up to 300 people on weekdays,” says Henniges. So help is needed.