May 6, 2022
By Janice Biehn
As city after city in Ukraine continues to endure Russian attacks, the challenges increase for people with disabilities. For a person with mobility issues navigating through rubble, or someone who is visually impaired no longer in familiar surroundings, daily life becomes even more complicated. PWRDF is supporting the advocacy group Fight for Right with a $64,000 grant to improve health and safety for people with disabilities.
Fight for Right was established by Ukrainian women with disabilities with a core mission to promote the rights of persons with disabilities. Since the start of the war, FFR has provided critical support to people with disabilities and their caregivers including:
According to the FFR website, “For people with disabilities who face barriers and inaccessibility at all times, war brings an additional, overwhelming feeling of fear and helplessness; not to mention a direct threat to their lives. Ukrainians with disabilities have far fewer options for evacuation.”
“FFR is one of hundreds of local organizations making a difference in Ukraine,” says Patricia Maruschak, Director of Partnerships and Programs for PWRDF. “We’re listening to people on the ground and think they are best positioned to tell us what they need.”
To date the organization has evacuated or assisted 645 people with disabilities, with more than 2,045 additional evacuations requested. After evacuation, most people face psychological difficulties and legal issues that need to be addressed in their destination country.
Funds from PWRDF will support a 24-hour hotline that FFR has set up to handle requests from people with disabilities and their caregivers. Staff are helping Ukrainians with disabilities make a safe evacuation and get the medical supplies and support they need, including assistive technologies (wheelchairs, white canes, hearing devices). The hotline is also responding to requests for financial help, for accommodations in Ukraine and abroad (including hospitals, rehabilitation institutions) and for food, water and basic goods for daily living such as hygiene kits, personal care items and special dietary needs.
Please continue to keep the people of Ukraine in your prayers. To make a donation to this response, go to pwrdf.org/give-today and click on Ukraine Relief. You may also donate by phone at 416-822-9083 or leave a voicemail toll-free at 1-866-308-7973 and we will return your call, or mail your cheque to PWRDF, 80 Hayden, 3rd floor, Toronto, Ontario, M4Y 3G2.