On February 24, 2022, the Russian army launched a great invasion of Ukraine. Nearly 60,000 Ukrainian women are on the front lines. On the occasion of Pink October, with the support of the city of Rouen (Seine-Maritime), the Aide et Support ociation launched the operation “Together we protect Ukrainian women” until October 20. Created in March 2022 by Ukrainians and their French friends, the ociation provides equipment for soldiers (uniforms, sleeping bags, floor mats, etc.), first aid kits as well as psychological istance to refugees in France .
At the origin of the ociation, Valentyna Ponomarenko, 29 years old, originally from Cherky, arrived in France in 2016 following her husband’s transfer and now works in a large international company in Petit-Quevilly (near Rouen ). Obviously, she mobilized from the first day of the war, first with a collection of sleeping bags, then with an exhibition of works by her compatriots which was a great success: “How well it worked with the city of Rouen, they accepted my proposal for this new operation. Thus, three collection boxes are positioned at the Town Hall, the nearby Saint-Sever town hall and that of Pasteur. Donors can drop off sanitary napkins, panty liners, tampons, dry shampoo, shower gel, intimate hygiene gel, deodorants, face, hand and body creams…”
The Aide et Support representative in Rouen insists: “It is for women who are internal refugees, those who are displaced from war zones and who have lost everything and women in great precariousness, because Ukraine’s economy has fallen by 40% since the start of the war. Many people lost their jobs and prices rose. In addition, the price of the currency fell. At the moment, life in Ukraine is even more expensive than in France. Even with small aid from the Government, support from ociations is required. » And then, there are also the female soldiers, “of whom there are 60,000 on the front. The requested products are not in military packages. A woman remains a woman with her needs,” adds Valentina Ponomarenko.
Deliveries to military bases too
From October 21, the collections will be collected and then transported via long-distance transport buses to Ukraine: “For women in precarious circumstances, they will be given via ociations at distribution points in the cities. For the soldiers, it is the military bases that make their requests and they are delivered directly,” explains the volunteer who is already preparing for the arrival of the harsh winter in Eastern countries with certainly a new sleeping bag recovery operation: “But it will be more difficult given the context. The problem is that with what is happening in Morocco, Libya and Israel, donations are falling, that is normal. In addition, the lives of the French have changed with inflation. This is a problem. I’ve even heard the question before Does the war continue in Ukraine? so the media no longer talk about it. This suits Russia, which has resumed attacks. Are the French still ready to help the Ukrainians? Otherwise, what do we do? » worries Valentyna Ponomarenko.