Dr Monika McNeill, who lives in Glasgow but is originally from Lublin in Poland, 60 miles from the Ukrainian border, launched an urgent crowdfunding appeal and has already raised almost £3000.
How is she helping?
The money is being used to buy electricity generators to fuel temporary hospitals, shelters and housing for refugees in Ukraine, who had to abandon their homes and are on their way to safety in Poland.
Dr McNeill has taken time off work to co-ordinate the mercy mission and is now in Poland helping to co-ordinate the delivery of the generators to the areas in desperate need and visiting Ukrainian refugees in the shelters, including children with psychological and physical war injuries.
Dr McNeill said: “I’m raising funds to provide practical support for Ukrainian refugees who are suffering from this senseless war. My crowdfunding target was initially £600 to buy two generators but people have been incredibly generous, and I now have raised nearly £3000. The more we raise the more people we can help.”
She took on the challenge to support her academic friends from Lublin University, who are fundraising, collecting clothes and food, and organising emergency vehicles to help their Ukrainian neighbours.
So far, Dr McNeill and her friend Oleg Gorbaniuk, an associate professor in psychology at the University in Lublin, have bought eight 3kW generators from FOGO, a company in Poland, who sold them for half the price to contribute to the cause.
Dr McNeill has also just received an urgent call for help from the Regional Clinical Hospital in Kropyvnytskyi, a city in central Ukraine. The hospital is located next to the airport and the military aviation school, which is why it is threatened with bombardment. They desperately need a generator to provide emergency power supply in the bomb shelter for the whole hospital so the staff can continue to provide medical support to the patients.
She will continue her fundraising efforts to raise even more money because larger generators for hospitals are more expensive, costing over £3000 each, and most of the money already raised has gone to pay for smaller generators.
Dr McNeill said Monika said: “I hope we’ll manage to deliver help on time to this hospital, but if not, the charity we work with in Ukraine will equip another hospital in desperate need with this equipment.”
Dr McNeill also visited one of the shelters in Poland, set up to house the incoming war refugees, to help transport medication, drinking water, nappies, and other urgently needed goods.
It is a temporary placement mainly for women and children, organised in a Catering College in Lublin. It currently houses 320 people in two sport halls, where every person has a folding bed, access to a bathroom, and where food is made and delivered by the students at that college.
Dr McNeil said: “I have just talked to head of department of pediatrics at Medical University in Lublin, who co-ordinates medical points in 10 shelters and the needs expand every day.
“She co-ordinates medic volunteers that treat people in makeshift surgery rooms to relieve enormous queues in the A&Es. I met a group of refugees who had travelled four days to arrive in Poland from Eastern Ukraine.
“Many of them spent a couple of weeks in their basements before escaping the war and are not well and require medical attention. The medics need portable medical ventilators for the children as well as other vital equipment. They need our fundraising support to help equip the medical points in the shelters and I am in the process of arranging that too.”
GCU head of the department of psychology, Dr Kerri McPherson, is “immensely humbled” by the work that Monika is doing to support the Ukrainian refugee crisis.
She said: “Monika’s actions in this reflect not only the values of GCU but also the department of psychology. We have a strong focus on applying psychology in the real world and we know that the immediate and long-term support of people in crisis is an important matter for a psychologist like Monika and her colleagues in Lublin.”
To donate to Monika’s ‘Practical help for Ukrainian war refugees’ crowdfunding mercy mission click HERE.
The current link will remain active until March 28, but new fundraisers will be launched in due course.