31 March 2023
Anna Bowles is a pro-Ukrainian activist from the UK, and from 23 March to 6 April she is in East and South Ukraine, with her friends from the Freefilmers NGO, interviewing local people – especially women in rural communities – about their experiences and survival strategies. Anna is blogging about her trip here – we are also republishing some of her blogs on Rights in Russia, but please also visit Anna’s site. You can donate here to support the people Anna meets.
Freefilmers co-operate with NGO Yes
The Yes NGO sends busiks (minibuses) with supplies like power banks to frontline communities. They also help people locally, including a lot of IDPs from the occupied territories and other towns that are dangerous because of shelling.
Yes are a lot bigger than Freefilmers, who intentionally operate on a small scale as it provides flexibility and enables maximum focus with minimum bureaucracy. But we sometimes work with organisations like Yes which have access to large distribution networks. They have a database of thousands of IDPs from the occupied territories, who come to them for various forms of support, and they have a Telegram channel. So if Freefilmers obtain some hard-to-find or expensive medication, Yes announces it on Telegram, people reply with requests, then Freefilmers brings the meds to the Yes off in numbered bags to hand out to the allocated recipients, or sometimes send them in the post. Much of it is over-the-counter, but if it’s restricted we require a prescription.
We hope to continue to help IDPs within Zaporizhzhia in this way with the cooperation of Yes, and to identify IDPs with chronic health issues so that we can supply them with medications directly in the longer term.