Our immediate and long-term response to war in Ukraine, and how you can help
Our TV screens and social media feeds are full of unfolding war, and our hearts are heavy.
This manufactured and aggressive conflict, and the accompanying humanitarian crisis in Ukraine and neighbouring countries, both highlights and worsens the global refugee crisis. It is estimated that 5 million people will be displaced by this conflict alone.
In the short-term, these refugees will of course need support of basic provisions, including period products. We’ve spent the last two years reminding donors and authorities that periods don’t stop in a pandemic; the same is true in war.
We work with 29 refugee and asylum seeker organisations, and many provide support in crisis situations such as this. We’ve reached out to those partners, offering our additional support to get emergency supplies to where they’re needed, and expect to be dispatching our first orders in the next couple of days.
We take this approach with established partners and their networks as they’ll have the means to distribute period products alongside other essential items. Sending products directly to partners also avoids the need for additional transport (which can often be challenging given that period products are relatively bulky items, as well as costly).
Our other immediate priority is to highlight and challenge the UK government’s ongoing efforts to maintain their ‘hostile environment’ through their ‘anti-refugee’ bill, specifically targeted at those who've been through unimaginable trauma and horror. Whilst we are heartened that this week the House of Lords voted this bill down, there is still a long way to go to pressure MPs to protect all refugees. The UK government cannot ‘stand with Ukraine’ if it is blocking safe and legal routes for refugees from other countries and war zones. For more on this topic:
In the long-term: it is in the coming months, and likely years, that our UK partners supporting refugees and asylum seekers will feel the impact of the current conflict. These organisations are already severely stretched by the pandemic of course, but also by that ongoing hostile environment, and by crises in other parts of the world - including, very recently, Afghanistan. On the day of writing this update, we received another request for period products for Afghan refugees, and are also working on a potential route to supply additional products and menstrual health education to Afghans being housed in UK hotels. What is happening now will only increase the pressure for our partners.
All of this comes at the same time that the cost of living crisis hits people in the UK. That will inevitably push more people into making impossible choices between food, heating, nappies or other essentials, and period products. So we are anticipating that demand for what we do will increase yet again. As always, we are committed to making reliable, sustainable donations - because after all, periods happen every month, and products need to be there every month - even when news coverage has moved on. As our partners at the Red Cross Hackney Destitution Centre say:
“During our next hygiene pack week we will distribute at least 100 [packs of] period products, and so having a reliable donation each month from BGP is so important… without the donations from BGP, many of our service users would find it very difficult to obtain period products.”
Now more than ever, your support is vital - and bloody appreciated.
Next week, you can help by supporting our matched giving campaign: from 8th to 15th March, donate here and your donation will be doubled by The Big Give.
Up to £25,000 of total donations will be matched by The Big Give. After that point, unmatched donations are still very much welcomed and will help us continue our work at this unprecedented time - thank you for your support.
The Ukrainian Institute in London has compiled this list of other organisations to support and actions to take.