Integral’s Ukraine Response: A Year On

Seventeen Integral Members are responding to the Ukraine Crisis. In this Q&A we ask Allan Bussard, the Director of the Integra Foundation based in Slovakia, for his reflections a year on from the start of the conflict …

© Integra

24th February marks the one-year anniversary of the start of this conflict. One year on, what are your current reflections/ observations from being in the region?
The Ukrainian people are much more determined and resolved to overcome this invasion than they were at the beginning. Their courage and creativity is very inspiring. They manage to retain thankfulness and joy despite the suffering. 

Can you give us an idea of what your Partners are saying and feeling right now?
They are anxious about the anticipated Russian renewed invasion in the next weeks. They say that planning is impossible, they live one day at a time. They are afraid that we will forget about their struggle. 

In terms of the humanitarian response, what do you see as the main challenges now from your perspective?
People are emotionally, physically and financially exhausted, particularly in the newly liberated areas of the East and South. The need for warmth, food and light continues to be critical. But it is evident that there is a growing need for Psychological and Social Support to help them deal with the trauma they have lived through. Particularly for children. 

What would you like to say to the supporters and donors of Integral Members?
We are deeply thankful for all the support thus far. But sadly, the conflict is not anywhere near over, and likely the worst is still to come, in terms of the humanitarian crisis. We need to be ready. 

Is there anything that has encouraged or inspired you this New Year in relation to the Integral Ukraine response?
We appreciate, so much, our Partners who are not giving up. We deeply recognise that there are crises in many parts of the world calling for all of our attention, and the commitment of the Integral Alliance means a lot. 

Is there anything else you would like to say?
While we are tired of hearing about the Ukraine crisis, we need to recall that the Ukrainians are far more tired of the suffering, injustice and death. They are afflicted with a deep injustice, and need us to stand with them.