In light of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, FSE is encouraging fans across Europe to support the work of Vostok SOS, an internationally recognised NGO based in Ukraine.
We briefly spoke to Vostok SOS employee Imke Hansen about the organisation’s work and the situation on the ground.
FSE: Could you provide an overview of Vostok SOS?
IH: Vostok SOS (East SOS) was registered as a charitable organisation in the spring of 2015. However, our activities date back to the Russian invasion of Crimea and Eastern Ukraine in 2014. When internally displaced persons began arriving in Kyiv, we came together to help other victims of the conflict.
Indeed, we became one of the first initiatives to deal with the consequences of the war by providing displaced persons with shelter and humanitarian aid, establishing an emergency hotline, and working to evacuate people from the conflict zone. We also pioneered the collection and distribution of humanitarian aid to frontline settlements and the provision of psychological first aid for those affected by the conflict.
In the past eight years, we have developed into a civil society organisation with recognised crisis intervention skills and regional expertise of the Luhansk and Donetsk regions. We protect and raise awareness about human rights, including monitoring, legal support, and advocacy. Our educational and training programmes contribute to non-violent conflict transformation and civic participation. We engage in humanitarian and psycho-social support for war-affected people, focussing on marginalised groups.
FSE: Could you briefly explain the nature of Vostok SOS’ work during the invasion?
IH: We’re now back to our roots—organisation evacuations, emergency support, and humanitarian aid. We have evacuated from Kyiv and are currently in the process of establishing a field office in Uzhgorod.
FSE: What will you do with the money that people donate?
IH: Donated money will be used for the support of evacuations and humanitarian aid. We support internally displaced persons throughout the country and people in shelled areas, focusing on our regions of expertise in East Ukraine.