A TImes Article wrote:
Like many disabled Ukrainians, Herasymova felt excluded from safety and relief efforts designed for the able-bodied population. The NGOs European Disability Forum and Inclusion Europe estimate that there are at least 2.7 million people with disabilities in Ukraine, though other estimates suggest that may be an undercount.One of the under-recognized challenges of the Ukraine crisis has been the fact that any Ukranians have had to flee without their mobility equipment and many more are requiring mobility equipment due to combat injuries.”
In early March, images circulated, showing the realities that many Ukrainians with disabilities endured. Escaping a war zone on the backs of their family members or crossing the border in wheelbarrows or hiding in the basement of their houses and apartments because bomb shelters were not wheelchair accessible. After reaching out to a major aid organization on the ground about the need for mobility devices, we were told that we should instead direct our focuses towards monetary donations to buy food and blankets as people with disabilities make up such a small percentage. This is where our motto "No One Left Behind" came from. It is estimated that 2.7 million people in Ukraine had a disability at the start of the war. This is not a small number to us.
As the war continued, the number of those in need of mobility equipment has only increased. Civilians and Ukrainian soldiers alike have experienced the brutality of war, and due to indiscriminate Russian shelling and airstrikes, many are now in need of mobility assistance devices. The influx in need has supply chains stressed, and for many these items are too cost prohibitive and expensive. We are seeking to provide them with critically needed devices as requested by aid organizations on the ground.
With Goodwill Industries, Ontario Great Lakes, Rollup Solutions and Align Home Health Care, we are launching our first initiative, one that focuses on sending mobility devices to Ukrainians. We have partnered with several non-profit and charity organizations working directly on the ground in Ukraine who will distribute the devices to the areas, and individuals, most in need.
These organizations include:
Nova Ukraine: https://novaukraine.org/
Backroads Foundation: https://backroadsfoundation.org/
From these partnerships, Project Ukraine was born.
Our goal is to provide 1000 wheelchairs and other mobility devices, such as rollators, walkers and canes, to Ukrainians in need of these mobility assistance devices.