Offaly volunteers sought to join an online network helping Ukrainian refugees

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elpify Community Ukraine is calling on the people of Offaly to join its European network of volunteers to help those fleeing war in Ukraine. The non-profit online platform aims to ease the burden on refugees by connecting those in need of help with a nearby volunteer who can help with their request. This may include travel or legal advice, transportation, medical needs, short term accommodation, translations or pet care. The site is available in English, Ukrainian, Polish, French and Dutch.

Olena Leontieva, a Ukrainian national living in Ireland and spokesperson for Helpify Community Ukraine, explains: “The Helpify community is about holding hands with Ukrainians at every stage of their journey – from their home to the border and all the way to their final destination. . Like so many people when the war broke out, we felt helpless. There were thousands of requests for help per hour on social media, with most going unanswered. We wanted to find a way to connect people who need help with those who can provide it.

“People fleeing their homes have neither the time nor the free space to search for information on government websites or to find complicated travel routes. Helpify brings relief to refugees. All the work is done by volunteers and the only request from the Ukrainians is to set up a mission.

The Helpify community was created in Belgium during the pandemic to connect confined people with volunteers who could help with dog walking, pharmacy runs and other needs. When the invasion of Ukraine began, Olena Leontieva and her team partnered with Helpify to repurpose the platform for global use and translate it into Ukrainian and Polish. It was active in just five days.

Olena Leontieva added: “Every day I get asked by Irish people how they can help. Signing up as a volunteer for Helpify Community Ukraine is a way for everyone to do what they can, whether it’s driving a family from the airport to their destination, offering advice, providing clothing or short-term housing. Over 300 volunteers in Ireland have already joined Helpify, but with up to 100,000 Ukrainian nationals expected here, we need all the help we can get.

How it works:

The Helpify community website offers two easy options: join as a volunteer from any country in the world or ask for help.
Those who join as volunteers complete a simple profile including location and type of support they can provide.
Volunteers are asked to upload proof of identity which is verified by the Helpify team to ensure the safety of those using the platform.
When someone seeking help registers a “mission”, nearby volunteers receive an alert with the details of the mission. Those who can help accept the mission and are connected with the person in need.

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