Written by Mette Skov Hansen
Translated by Sigrid Buur Andersson
How can I help Ukrainian refugees and what kind of help do they actually need?
Many Danes ask themselves those questions these days.
It’s a talking point in the debate, for individuals, who are interested in volunteer work, and also at the folk high schools around the country whose teachers and students wish to launch different initiatives.
In the following, we’ve listed a few of the things you can do help the Ukrainian people.
Right now, several Ukrainians need everything from clean water to health and trauma care. Due to this, several relief agencies are currently raising money to support the initiatives in Ukraine.
As an individual, you can support the agencies by donating an amount of your own choice.
Folk high schools can start their own fund-raising. One way to do it could be to create a digital fund-raising at The Red Cross.
Several folk high schools have hosted support events and auctions to raise money for the relief efforts.
Instead of donating money, many people collect things from their own homes and send them off to Ukraine or Ukrainian refugees. It could be medicine, safety equipment and clothes. It is often possible to share a car.
Højskolerne have contacted the people behind the Ukrainian folk high school movement Ukrainian Bildung Network who suggests using the transport company Nova Poshta Global.
Show Your Support
Besides donations, you can show your support publicly. For instance, by hosting events with charity songs, arranging demonstrations, writing a reader’s letter, and many other things that serve to emphasize the situation.
Show solidarity by using hashtags such as #HøjskolerneForUkraine and #FolkHighSchoolsStandWithUkraine.
A Place to Stay
A lot of Ukrainian refugees is expected to cross the Danish border. They need a safe place to sleep. Many Danes have opened their own homes and the municipalities around the country are looking into the possibility to use local buildings as shelters.
Many folk high schools would like to make rooms available for Ukrainians but note that refugees cannot stay at a folk high school free of charge. According to The Act on Folk High Schools, the folk high schools may only use their own funds for the running and purpose of the school, not to cover student expenses.
Participation at Folk High School as Students
To register Ukrainian students at a folk high school, there are some requirements that must be met. The folk high schools can choose to reduce the student expenses or cover them in other ways: with donated money, with fund-raising or with economic support from the municipality. In general, it can be beneficial to cooperate with the municipalities.
In the case of an activity where the aim is enlightenment of the people, a folk high school may use its own funds to a limited extent.
It is worth keeping in mind that the paying students should not be affected negatively by refugees being offered student residence, free of charge.
Additionally, it should be kept in mind that 50 % of the students attending a folk high school semester must be Danish. However, the ministry is working on a special act allowing Ukrainians to get a residence permit faster and thus count as Danish students at the folk high schools.
The Association of Folk High Schools collects the schools’ ideas and initiatives to help Ukraine. The aim is to inspire and enlighten and hopefully to give hope in these dark times.