Humanitarian Techies! Help Ukraine's Neighbor Moldova to Assist Ukraine by@saraho

Humanitarian Techies! Help Ukraine's Neighbor Moldova to Assist Ukraine

Sarah Othman HackerNoon profile picture

Sarah Othman

Sarah Othman is Founder at and based in Tokyo, Japan.

Before Russia invaded Ukraine, Vik Bogdanov was a digital marketer writing content in Kyiv and a HackerNoon contributor.

The war didn’t just upend Vik’s life and the lives of his fellow Ukrainians. It has also impacted the citizens of all the countries adjacent to Ukraine. Moldova is one of the neighbouring countries that has been impacted by the war.

We need to support them in order to #SupportUkraine. But the question is how?

On March 10th, Hacker Noon’s CEO David Smooke posted about the Ukrainian IT Army (Vik’s story), and called for ideas about how to help them.

Some of the smartest women I know have made a start via a platform called TechFugee and they have established an NGO collective called Gemeinsam4Ukraine.


I was on LinkedIn when I saw Annie Melnic, a former colleague who now works in Analytics and Outdoor Consumer Insight at adidas, post about the situation. Moldova is, without a doubt, one of the poorest countries in Europe and Ukraine’s neighbour. Right now, it is experiencing a dramatic influx of refugees.

Annie made a heartfelt plea for support on behalf of the Government of Moldova on LinkedIn and also on behalf of the people of Ukraine.

I couldn’t help imagining an old man carrying a wounded soldier.

The people of Moldova are being exceptionally heroic and supportive of their neighbor, but of all the countries in Europe they are the least financially able.

Annie explained: “...For Europe's poorest country (and it pains me to refer to it thus...) for Moldova, spending ~1 Million EUR per day on providing assistance, transit and accommodation for the 367,913 Ukrainian refugees who have crossed its border is an immense cost and disproportionate effort. More than 140,000 of the people displaced to Moldova intend to stay there, as they hope to be able to return soon.

Given the deteriorating situation in Odesa region, the flow will only increase.

It is imperative, directly impactful and urgent to help #Moldova financially.”

Secure payment gateway for donations by card:

(This is a secure link directly to the Moldovan government’s fundraising page)

Annie also explained that she is among many supporters ofTechFugees, a platform for volunteers, techies and innovators focused on providing humanitarian aid. It was established long before Putin’s war on Ukraine began as a way for technologists to provide assistance and support for previous crises.

Annie is personally one of the administrators ofthe Just Giving page and also one of the co-founders of Gemeinsam4Ukraine Kollektiv, alongside Maria Ines Mariano and

Maggie Garcia.

Maggie and Maria, two South American women, initially established Gemeinsam4Ukraine Kollektiv at the outset of the war on Ukraine and they have been working tirelessly since. Ana joined them and brought two NGOs Mad.AID from the UK and NorocOlanda with her to help with fundraising facilities and provide further support.

Annie said: “Everything is facilitated by Ukrainian volunteers who help with paperwork, authorizations, green corridors, taking over driving convoys, and dispatching the help to hot areas.”

The group these compassionate and driven women are part of comprises Moldovans who live in the UK, Germany, France, Holland alongside Argentinians, Peruvians, Polish people, and understandably lots of Ukrainians.

Annie described TechFugees as having: “A cool team of founders” She added, after a pause and some reflection: “...they’re the high performance kinda’ crew which gets amazing things done.”

Within the architecture of TechFugees, Annie explained that there are country-specific groups, topic-specific groups (medical, housing, transport) and more.

She added: “We collaboratively created a huge file of resources and operational guides.”

The #decentralized Gemeinsam4Ukraine Kollektiv was asked to supply Ukrainian field and city hospitals with a range of items including hemostatics, catheters, burn and wound care, L-tyroxin for thyrotoxicosis, insulin, cancer medications, and children’s medicines. The Governor of Vinnytsia region reached out for 2000 thermal underwear, socks, and fleeces.

Annie explained: “adidas Terrex, the Outdoor business unit of adidas had already sent truck-loads of help to Ukraine but the needs are deep and so many locations are far and difficult to reach, and international aid organizations convoys are absent.”

Visit Annie’s post live on LinkedIn.

Annie also expressed a very serious concern. “Ukrainian women are fleeing war and going to neighbouring countries but it’s imperative that we are careful where they go!”

I asked why.

She said: “This is crucial. It’s a primary concern. Possibly my biggest one right now, is designing a secure, safe and protective service for matching refugees (most of whom are women and many of them vulnerable) with hosts.”

Without her elaborating, I already began to understand. She explained further:

“This is delicate to talk about but a lot of bad people exist out there who are looking for female slaves. They want to exploit women for labor. They want to exploit women for sex. They want to exploit women in other ways. They might be violent toward women. We can’t just send vulnerable women fleeing the war in Ukraine to homes we don’t know are safe. We need benevolent hosts.”

She added, regarding the women fleeing Ukraine, “some of them are Afghani, and already fled war previously. Some of them are Roma. Some hold Russian passports, (sometimes because they were forced to).”

I replied:  “I think your point about vulnerable women from Ukraine being placed with male hosts who want sex slaves is truly disturbing and an important point to write about. Yes, refugees need homes, but those places to stay must be vetted safe, not just a journey from normal life, through the hell of war, to a different type of hell altogether.”

Moldova needs financial support, Ukraine’s women need verifiably safe hosts.

This is not Annie’s first rodeo. Annie, Maria Ines, and Maggie have handled a lot of other problems. Diana from Moldova and Elena from Romania helped in getting 13 undocumented, displaced kids with mental disabilities from Ukraine to Transnistria, then to Brasov, then to Southern France...

They have housed 4-generational families of 9, plus their family dog without separating the family. They have shipped trucks and planeloads to Ukraine, Poland and Moldova.

These incredible women have connected Mobile Health Units to the Ministry of Health in Moldova… and more.

Annie said: “Yesterday my first call of the day was from our Moldovan Ambassador to France. She is one of many Government contacts who are grateful to have the support of our mostly female group, the Gemeinsam4Ukraine Kollektiv, and United4Ukraine.”

The group hopes to create a collaborative partnership that works together to achieve more than they could achieve if they worked alone.

Here’s a picture of where this story originated from:


What Can I Do?

You can directly help Annie and the Gemeinsam4Ukraine Kollektiv support Ukrainians and help them buy hospital and tactical medical supplies here:

You can learn more about TechFugees and donate here:

You can support the Moldovan government financially, here: and the MoldovaForPeace initiative.

You can read more about the situation as it unfolds here.

Sarah Othman HackerNoon profile picture
by Sarah Othman @saraho.Sarah Othman is Founder at and based in Tokyo, Japan.
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