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"Napryamok": The Goal is to Help Here and Now


Providing housing for refugees in Europe, relocating from Ukraine, employing refugees and displaced persons, supplying critical goods, loss of housing due to hostilities, housing for those who lost their homes, mental health support.

The project offers informational support to all those affected by the war in Ukraine, regardless of geography and nationality. On the "Napryamok" website, victims can find useful and reliable information on various topics.

As Theodore Roosevelt once said, "Nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care." The volunteers of the "Napryamok" project increase their knowledge every day and share it with those who need it because they truly care.

The project provides informational support to all people affected by the war in Ukraine, regardless of their geographic location and nationality. On its website, the team gathers useful information for the victims, ensuring its accuracy and security. Here, people who remained in Ukraine (bomb shelters, medical care, etc.), refugees (evacuation and transport, housing), vulnerable groups (people with chronic diseases, LGBTQ+, women, children), and everyone willing to help can find information.

"I joined the project in the early days of the war because I was looking for a way to help. Volunteering is familiar to me, so I looked for initiatives that had already started doing something," says Lena, an administrator of the project. "Almost all my maternal relatives live in Ukraine, and I was also looking for information for them. It's hard to say what 'inspires' me about the project because I wish the reason for its creation had never occurred. But I am endlessly inspired by my colleagues who worked tirelessly for the first few weeks and are now developing the project so that more people can receive support and the help they need. I am inspired by the people who are surviving this horror, those who leave and help others from abroad, and those who stay and help at home. People inspire admiration and keep hope alive."

Ukrainians, Belarusians, Russians, citizens of other countries: regardless of their origin and citizenship, the project's volunteers do everything in their power to make the help as effective as possible.

"In the information field, people begin to differentiate between Belarusians and the regime," says Stanislava Terentyeva, a project coordinator. "I am confident that our efforts with the Napryamok.org help site have also contributed. I saw confirmation of this thought in one of today's calls, which is gratifying and gives strength, especially when a bad night due to nightmares is replaced by insomnia."

The Beginning of the Project

A significant role in creating the project was played by members of the Belarusian youth organization "Zadvizh_ka", who had repeatedly faced persecution by the authorities.

"From 2020 to 2021, I was part of the civil initiative @zadvizh_ka," says Marya, an administrator of the project. "Unfortunately, in the fall of 2021, I had to leave Belarus and move to Poland, so I left the guys. As soon as the military actions in Ukraine began, information about evacuation started appearing on their Instagram profile... Later, this all transformed into a document with all possible information, and later into a website."

Threats and pressure on families, detentions, and violence did not break these young people but rather developed empathy in them and strengthened their belief in the need to help those in trouble. "Zadvizh_ka" adheres to inclusion, eco-friendly communication, and non-discrimination, preventing the language of enmity.

"My motivation was very simple: I can help here and now," adds Marya. "On the first day of the war, I could barely breathe. There was such helplessness, anger, and resentment. On the second day, I was already in the project, and it changed to a completely different spectrum of emotions. I began to coordinate people for evacuation. These were simultaneously the scariest and most beautiful moments. You see how people remain human in the most terrifying life situations."

Significant support for the project is also provided by the creative community from Belarus "SAMi": these guys conduct festivals, exhibitions, concerts, lectures, film screenings, and auctions to support the victims.

"I'm Happy That I Can Help"

Anton, a cheerful young man and administrator of "Napryamok," lived in Belarus but was forced to leave the country due to the events of 2021. He moved to Kyiv... In response to words of sympathy, he said: "Yes, I had to make many moves."

Anton admits that he emotionally struggled with the task of conducting surveys for the International Organization for Migration, where volunteers gathered demographic data, recorded intentions about movements and needs. People were surveyed in the queue for PESEL (Universal Electronic System for Registration of Population in Poland), often encountering tired, anxious, and hurried individuals. Filling out over 100 questionnaires a day, each representing a personal tragedy, proved too mentally taxing. Nevertheless, he found the best use for his skills and now plays a vital role in the team:

"It brings me joy that, thanks to my work on the website, I can help many of my friends with their issues: I pass on job vacancies to some, submit applications for financial aid to others, and advise on how to obtain antidepressants," says Anton. "And it gives me a sense of peace knowing that I am constantly involved in helping those affected by the war, knowing the extent of the aid provided, and that it often just takes connecting those who need it with those providing it."

"Napryamok" openly and transparently writes about who works on the website, always ready for dialogue with anyone willing to help. Dozens of volunteers from various countries participate in the project's development, with each (if they wish) being acknowledged in a special section on the site.

"Inspiration... Hmm, you find some new inspiration every day. Like someone in our love chat (we have a separate chat where the team throws in thanks from people or just writes something sweet) posted a photo of a cat, which we were able to evacuate thanks to our information, and that's also a plus," says Maryia.

The team currently needs volunteers in the following areas: fact-checking, editing, translations, public relations, website administration, targeting, and design. If anyone has other useful skills, they can always fill out the form on the site and offer their assistance.


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