Douglas Barbaro-Sant, Managing Partner at MI Malta Ltd and an active volunteer, has said that the war in Ukraine has now spread across the whole country, making “nowhere” safe to live there.
His comments came as he shared his recent experience volunteering in Ukraine, providing aid to the people who need it most by joining NGO Volunteers Without Borders.
The war in Ukraine commenced in February 2022 and has raged on since, leaving various people dead, displaced and forced into poverty, while the EU continues to sanction Russia, prompting widespread effects on the wider economy.
Mr Barbaro-Sant said that having visited the country a few times for other volunteering efforts, he “kind of knew what to expect”, yet nevertheless it still managed to surprise him “in the most horrible of ways”.
“The war has now literally spread all over Ukraine and nowhere is safe anymore,” he explained.
He expressed gratitude to Petur Gabor, one of the people heading Volunteers Without Borders, as he has “religiously entered Ukraine on a weekly basis” since the start of the war, forming a strong network of people who know where help is needed.
Mr Barbaro-Sant shared that they managed to make it to the frontline at the city of Kherson in the southern part of Ukraine, where he “saw first hand what the people go through on a daily basis”.
“We witnessed the horrors of this war and what it has done to people already living in poverty prior to the war. Rape, abduction, murder, utter destruction and a life wiped out into oblivion for the vast majority of the people left. The people who have nowhere to go, the poorest who have nothing left, not even a roof over their head,” he remarked.
He affirmed that he will avoid going into the political aspect of the war, yet shared a few images from his time there, adding that one only has to look at them to see “who is truly suffering”.
Mr Barbaro-Sant highlighted that the people in Ukraine have become “completely unphased by the sounds of the pounding bombs or flying missiles above them”, only urging him and the other volunteers to hurry up and unload the food so that they can “leave the hell which has become a daily ordeal for this nation”.
He acknowledged that the network that Volunteers Without Borders has built up is “truly impressive”, and they epitomise a nation which is “risking everything they have to reach out to those in need”.
In most cases, the food that is delivered to them by the NGO is what these families survive on for a week, with these packages containing flour, pasta, rice, canned foods, sauces, and water, among other things. Mr Barbaro-Sant said that a €12 donation feeds a family of four for a week with very basic food, “but it’s something”, while a €48 donation covers them for a month.
He explained that he witnessed exactly how the funds are used and spent, with “every single cent gathered” going straight to the people in need. The NGO does not have a warehouse, and thus operates with “nearly immediate distribution” of the food and water once the vans are loaded.
“These people had a very normal life up until last year. Some have literally nothing left and depend on NGOs such as Volunteers Without Borders for a lifeline,” he continued.
He concluded by encouraging readers to donate to the cause, adding that he has worked with many NGOs over the years, yet has “never come across anyone so committed to the cause”.
For those wishing to support Volunteers Without Borders, visit the NGO’s website by clicking here.
MI Malta Managing Partner Douglas Barbaro-Sant / MI Malta
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