Supporting Women and Girls in Ukraine: A Collaboration with Natracare and Marsh Zhinok (Women’s March Ukraine)

Marsh Zhinok, Women’s March Ukraine, symbolises a beacon of Ukrainian feminist solidarity, uniting activists, representatives from public organizations, and women from diverse backgrounds who are passionate about advocating for their rights and striving for a better, fairer life in their homeland. This initiative, aimed at promoting equality and empowerment, undertakes a crucial mission to address the various challenges that women across Ukraine face on a daily basis.

Until two years ago, up to February 24, Marsh Zhinok was actively raising awareness about the importance of gender equality in society and providing support to Ukrainian women nationwide. They organized annual women’s marches on March 8 in major cities across the country.

However, since the start of the russian invasion, Marsh Zhinok has taken on a new role as a humanitarian hub, offering assistance to women affected by the consequences of war, including gender-based discrimination and domestic violence. The initiative recognizes the diverse experiences, identities, and social realities that women encompass, considering factors such as ethnicity, social class, age, sexual orientation, and gender identity.

Last autumn, in collaboration with our partners at Natracare, we embarked on a mission to provide essential humanitarian aid, with a particular focus on addressing menstrual health needs, that are often overlooked. This initiative aimed to support women living in active conflict zones, those internally displaced, and those seeking refuge in neighbouring countries.

The results of this initiative were significant and uplifting. With our support, Marsh Zhinok’s team delivered 50 customized sanitary solutions, including emergency latrines tailored to the specific needs of women in crisis. Menstrual hygiene products were procured and distributed in targeted regions, providing crucial relief to individuals. Additionally, improvements were made to shelter conditions, including the provision of bedding and towels, while 25 medical aid kits were distributed, offering essential support in times of need.

Among the many stories of resilience, one voice stands out—a testament to the profound impact of solidarity and support:

Kristina, a 27-year-old resident of Rodynske in the Donetsk region, shares her journey of hardship and hope:

“Good afternoon. I am from the Donetsk region. In 2014, I had to leave my studies in Donetsk and move to the city of Pokrovsk, where I studied and worked at the university. The invasion on 24.02.2022 forced me to move to the Kirovohrad region, and then to the Mykolaiv region. There is no work anywhere, and my elderly mother is still with me. I won’t go into the horrors of the evacuation months, but I decided to return because being at home is healing, and I still can’t find remote work. I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for helping me and my daughter. We are especially grateful for the book and art kit you gave us.

The financial situation is very difficult now; I lost my job, my mother is sick, and we rely on her pension and the money I receive from the assistance program, which isn’t enough when we need medicine, cleaning supplies, and food. We are very limited financially, and I worry about my daughter. May God bless all the volunteers; you have supported me beyond words. Strength, inspiration, and peace to our land! You are incredible!”

While we cannot protect or support every woman facing her own unique struggles, we deeply appreciate the opportunity to contribute and make life a little easier for some of them through the work of Marsh Zhinok.

We stand in solidarity with Ukraine and Ukrainian women, in all their diversity!