One Thousand Ukrainians with Disabilities Aided with New Equipment

One Thousand Ukrainians with Disabilities Aided with New Equipment

Since Saturday, February 26th, two days after the russian invasion began, we at The Partnership for Inclusive Disaster Strategies (The Partnership) with the World Institute on Disability (WID) and through our Global Alliance for Disaster Resource Acceleration (GADRA) have been supporting a local Ukrainian disability-led organization that is doing the on the ground life-saving work, called Fight for Right.

Fight for Right, a Ukrainian disability-led organization, has focused on disability community-building, advocacy, education, access, and human rights since its inception. Now with the war and the increasingly dire situation for people with disabilities, Fight for Right has been working around the clock to evacuate Ukrainians with disabilities and support those who have evacuated to nearby countries during the russian invasion of Ukraine.

Image of hundreds of walkers lined up in a warehouse in Maryland, USA

At the beginning of April 2022, the Maryland Department of Aging Durable Medical Equipment (DME) Re-Use program reached out to Fight for Right with a generous donation of over 1,000 pieces of durable medical equipment such as wheelchairs, walkers, crutches, canes, commodes, etc. and consumable medical supplies such as wound care supplies, incontinence supplies, feeding tube supplies, etc. for Ukrainians with disabilities impacted by the war.

Although everyone wanted to mobilize to get this important shipment across the world, resources were limited at the time, and the feat to get (what would become) 41 pallets of equipment to a war zone seemed nearly impossible.

The Partnership worked for several months coordinating the logistics of shipping from Maryland, USA to a safe warehouse in Ukraine.

From understanding the amounts, weights, and market value of the donated items to the work done by the Maryland Department of Aging DME Re-Use Program to package and palletize all of the equipment and supplies.

During this time we worked with Fight for Right to secure a safe and trusted transportation partner, Alliance Express Cargo (ACE) to provide the transportation of 41 pallets of over 1,000 pieces of disability equipment. Starting with two (2) truck-loads on September 20th from Maryland to New York, then flying from New York on Sept 25th to land in Warsaw, Poland on Sept 26th. Then another truck-load from Poland starting on September 27th to the final destination at Fight for Right’s warehouse in Ukraine on Oct 2nd – taking just under 3 weeks in total.

Image of trucks in a line at a border crossing.

With such a big shipment to such a high-risk area, we were prepared for any possible situation that might disrupt the shipment process. Instead, we are so grateful to say the entire process happened smoothly thanks to ACE, who had perfect customer support and worked with utmost professionalism, friendliness, and provided rapid execution.

Like any process, especially one that took 6 months in total to execute, we hit some bumps along the way. For example, staff from the Maryland Department of Aging DME Re-Use Program became ill with COVID-19 followed by some of our team also getting COVID-19. The time it takes to itemize, weigh, package, and palletize the shipment and last minute paperwork concerns. All of which ended up working itself out to successfully execute the shipment of 41 pallets of disability supplies and equipment from Maryland, USA to Ukraine for people with disabilities surviving the russian war in Ukraine.

Fight for Right will be working to distribute the donation to people with disabilities in Ukraine who need replaced equipment and to newly disabled people in need. 

Image of FFR staff sitting on the packages in the warehouse in Ukraine the Ukraine and USA flag are behind him.

None of this would have been possible without 

  • the life-saving work of Fight for Right;
  • the generous donation from Maryland Department of Aging Durable Medical Equipment (DME) Re-Use Program;
  • the transportation logistics provided by Alliance Cargo Express (ACE); and
  • the generous support from Choose Love Foundation.

Thank you to all involved in increasing and maintaining the independence of Ukrainians with disabilities!

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Original article – The Partnership for Inclusive Disaster Strategies

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