News + Media

How much pain and suffering can we all empathise with?

March 18th, 2022

This article was provided by Community Foundations Australia

Australia is in the grip of its own national emergency, declared just this week by our Prime Minister in relation to the disastrous floods in NSW and Queensland.

Yet on a daily basis, the pain and suffering caused by this national disaster for people close to home competes for our attention and empathy with the pain and suffering of the Ukrainian people on the other side of the planet.

Just over a fortnight ago, Russia invaded Ukraine. Shocking images of war and destruction, and of innocent civilians suffering injury, death, or displacement are ever present on our news feeds. The human cost is impossible to quantify. Over one million Ukrainians have already sought refuge in neighbouring countries, including some that are themselves not well equipped to provide for this tide of human need washing up on their doorstep.

The Ukraine crisis is an issue that requires a coordinated international response. While the powers that be calculate the costs of becoming involved, community philanthropy is stepping up to respond to the challenge of human need in a pragmatic way.

Community foundation practitioners are driven by a sense of compassion. It usually begins at home and focuses on our immediate community. But community foundations anywhere are also part of a global network, in many countries operating in a network united under local peak bodies. In good times, cooperation between these organisations is invaluable for sharing knowledge and resources.  In challenging times, these connections are essential for coordinating local contributions into a global response.

The antipodean peak organisations Community Foundations of New Zealand and Community Foundations Australia contacted their counterparts at UK Community Foundations and at the Eurpoean Community Foundations Initiative. They advised that there are 33 community foundations in Ukraine, 20 of which remained operational at the time (7 March) and were being assisted in country by ISAR Ednannia, the national network for development of local philanthropy in Ukraine.

The community foundation networks of Poland, Germany, Hungary, Romania, Slovakia, and Latvia stand in solidarity with their sister organisations in Ukraine and are in communication with them. The community foundations of the surrounding countries are also on the ground, providing essential aid and support to refugees.

UKCF recommended the Disasters Emergency Committee Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal as the most effective way to support humanitarian efforts from the UK.

As the situation continues to unfold, Community Foundations Australia also stands in solidarity with Ukraine. We express our admiration for the determination of the Ukrainian people and for the work of community foundations in the region for assisting the humanitarian response on the ground and supporting their fellow citizens.

Visit this resource for info on how to support relief efforts in the Ukraine.

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