In the face of the horrific tragedy that is taking place on the other end of the world, we’re often left feeling overwhelmed, helpless and without an idea how to help from far away. The distance feels isolating and we easily forget that we are all living in a global village and can make a difference from where we are. Here are some ideas that can take us out of that helplessness—five simple and gratifying ways how to make a positive impact for people affected by the war in Ukraine, by acting locally.
1. Organize an fundraising event
The phrase “Think globally, act locally” couldn’t be more accurate for these times. We don’t need to have any experience in fundraising events. All we need to do is use our gifts as a tool for help! We can take initiative to gather people in a fund-raising walk, art workshop, moon circle or talent show. The possibilities are endless and all it takes is just the first step. Finding a group of friends or local community who will support the idea will be easier than you might think. You will be surprised how many people will be excited to come for a vegan cooking class or a yoga class paid by donation, knowing that their money will support people who are directly affected by the war.
2. Chant, meditate and pray
Our energy matters. We might think we’re far away, but as my teacher Lalitā has said, we are all cells of one big organism and just like cells that communicate in the body, we can influence one another. When fear and helplessness flush through us we can come back to practicing Abhaya—a gift of non-fear or raise our own vibration by prayer or meditation. By taking care of our own energy and sending peaceful thoughts out to the world we are making a change on a cellular lever. A few minutes of silent meditation or prayer with a peaceful intention can alleviate our own pain and contribute to the collective healing.
3. Find a local charity
Luckily for us, nowadays we can help people miles away with one click on our phone! There are a lot of charities with local branches all over the world or NGO’s who are now focused on helping war refugees and humanitarian organizations involved in Ukraine. You can check websites like gofundme.com or globalgiving.org. These websites make it incredibly easy to support a charity focused on Ukraine crisis relief. You can also reach out to a local community centre to find charitable events around you. Being a part of a local group with like-minded people can bring us great hope and inspiration.
4. Help a small business in Ukraine
In a world where buying internationally comes naturally, why not use it now to our advantage? Thanks to the power of the web we can easily find Ukrainian small businesses and support them from miles away. You can search for vendors on etsy.com or pretend-rent an apartment on airbnb.com in one of the Ukrainian cities. A lot of people started helping small businesses, by ordering their product and in notes asking not to send anything. It’s a beautiful, symbolic way to help people affected by the war directly. It brings us closer to the people, as we can know their name, learn about their city and feel more personally connected. This simple gesture bridges the gap and eases our feeling of helplessness in the face of tragedy.
5. Gather with intention
We can never underestimate the power of a collective! We are simply stronger when we bring our forces together. Initiate a meeting, a group chant, a meditation session or a sing-along to send peaceful thoughts to Ukraine. Meeting with others, speaking about our feelings and getting inspired by others’ ideas on how to help can be a real relief in heart-breaking times. You can gather your co-workers, friends, yoga class or neighbours to brainstorm ways to help. We can never know what amazing ideas can emerge from an intentional gathering like that! And simply coming together with a scared intention of alleviating the pain of others will be incredibly uplifting and fulfilling.
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Photo: Max Kukurdziak and Elena Mozhvilo via Unsplash