Fostering Community and Support in Ukraine in a Time of Crisis

In a remarkable initiative, Atma Connect reached out and fostered community and support for more than 200,000 Ukrainians over the last year.

Atma took our “neighbors-helping-neighbors” infrastructure, which has reached an estimated 12 million Indonesians and Puerto Ricans, and extended its reach by translating the platform into the Ukrainian language.

“Generous donors made our response possible,” said Atma CEO Meena Palaniappan. Atma was able to launch efforts before major aid organizations had geared up to help people during the conflict with Russia.

Atma’s Ukraine efforts were run largely by Anna and Nastya, two college-age students, and refugees from the Ukraine conflict. Working with Atma’s Aisyah Gunung and Ren Robbins, the team ensured the sharing of critical resources, information, and assistance among Ukrainians.

Atma’s impact extended beyond material assistance, addressing the mental health challenges prevalent in conflict zones. Recognizing the need for psychological support, Atma’s team members collaborated to recruit a Ukrainian psychologist. Through AtmaGo and various online social media platforms, free mental health services were advertised to 30,000 people, providing crucial support to those grappling with the emotional toll of the crisis.

In the words of the psychologist, “It is an incredible feeling of warmth inside when you feel that you can do something good for others, that you can be a part of something important.”

Ukraine, like many regions affected by prolonged conflicts, faces significant mental health issues, with one in five individuals experiencing conditions such as depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia.

Atma’s efforts also included a collaboration with Daily Ukraine, an informal mutual-aid initiative led by displaced Ukrainian college students.

Team member Anna said, “Everyone in Ukraine fights the battle with what they can do best. My frontline is digital. Launching AtmaGo in Ukraine is an opportunity to serve my country. I believe in the mission of AtmaGo: ‘People Helping People.’”

As the war has progressed, the government of Ukraine and large aid organizations formalized a range of assistance and information services. “The acute need that Atma Connect responded to at the inception of the conflict passed,” said Palaniappan. “We are pleased that we were able to spring into action while leading humanitarian organizations were preparing their response, to provide timely invaluable help to a vulnerable population.”

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