Ukraine Crisis: Cardiff comes together to help those in need

People in Wales are banding together to demonstrate their support for Ukraine during the Russian invasion. What has Cardiff done to help those in need?

Local businesses in Cardiff have been organising fundraiser events to help raise money.

More than 2 million people have fled Ukraine as Russia’s invasion causes a humanitarian crisis. As the conflict rages on, people in Wales are seeking ways to support and assist those in need. From collecting funds to aid Ukrainian residents, to allowing refugees to resettle into their homes, individuals in Cardiff have pledged their support for those who are suffering.

Luke Rees, a Cardiff University student, has demonstrated his support by starting a fundraiser for the DEC Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal with a song he wrote and sang called “Kyiv is crying,” which he shared on Facebook.

Luke said he wanted to raise money for those seeking to leave Ukraine after losing their houses, as well as those who are injured or in need of supplies. “I wanted to raise enough money so that if someone is injured, they can help them or if someone is hungry, they can help feed people and really help those who are struggling.” 

“I wrote ‘Kyiv is crying’ because it’s at the heart of Ukraine and it’s the backbone behind what is going on in Ukraine right now,” said Luke, who saw his friends raising money and wanted to participate as well. “The people are not only crying, but they are trying to flee as well as they lose their homes. The least we can do is raise a bit of money, even if it’s a small donation.” 

He praised the people of Ukraine for their bravery in fighting for their country. “I cannot believe the heart of some of the Ukrainians who are staying behind. Look at their president for example, and not just him, people leaving their families to fight.”

People have been showing their support for Ukraine through protests and demonstrations in Cardiff Bay and the city centre, holding home-made banners and displaying the Ukrainian colours, in solidarity and to campaign for peace.

As the war continues to affect many people who are in Ukraine, individuals should show their support in Wales by donating money to large efforts like the DEC Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal, according to Mark Drakeford. 

The Disaster Emergency Committee brings together 15 UK charities, including Christian Aid, Oxfam, Save the Children, and the British Red Cross, to help give immediate aid, food, water, hygiene kits, and support in Ukraine, either directly or through local partners.  

Many people in Cardiff and across Wales have started their own fundraisers to raise money and donate to leading charities, while others have shown their support by gathering supplies and travelling to neighbouring countries to aid Ukrainians in person. 

Mike Howells, a Cardiff resident, is driving to Poland with his Polish friend in a van full of supplies to aid those leaving their homes and in need of assistance. Many individuals have stepped forward to help him, and he has set up a Go Fund Me page to support him with his trips and to donate to Ukrainian aid charities. 

So far, almost £8 million has been raised for the Ukraine appeal thanks to both of these contributions, as well as millions of other supporters. This includes a £4 million donation from the Welsh Government. 

Wales’ First Minister Mark Drakeford said he was humbled by the response from the Welsh people. He said, “I think there’s just an enormous outpouring of huge sympathy for everything we see going on in Ukraine, but more than that, a determination to do whatever people can, however small it is.” 

Mr Drakeford said he wants to turn these feelings of solidarity into “practical action” in order to assist Ukrainian people in need. 

The Welsh Government intends to help Ukraine by preparing for people who will seek refuge in Wales and rebuild their lives. “Our efforts are directed now in bringing everyone together to prepare for that so we are ready when the need comes,” said Mr Drakeford. 

To show solidarity for those who are at war or fleeing their country, people of all religions, beliefs and cultures met at the Senedd on Sunday evening for a vigil organised by the Interfaith Council for Wales. 

Aled Edwards OBE, secretary of the Interfaith Council for Wales, said, “I think the loss of life has been absolutely tragic. It’s a level of suffering we never expected in our time and I think we have been able to gather people together.” 

Joined by political leaders, refugees and representatives from the Welsh Ukrainian community, Mr Edwards said it was “immensely powerful” to hear from young Ukrainian voices. 

People gathered at the Senedd to shine their torches in support of Ukraine during the vigil.

There are a variety of charities and fundraisers to which you may donate if you want to help or support the people of Ukraine. Mr. Edwards has urged people to donate to the DEC Ukraine Appeal because he believes it is “the best place to support and to generally keep the pressure politically on the Russian Government to amend its ways and stop the war.”