15. 02. 2024 Pontis Foundation

Slovakia helps Taiwan to rebuild the war-torn Ukraine

The Pontis Foundation, in cooperation with the Open Society Foundation, is redistributing financial resources from the Taipei Representative Office in Slovakia to humanitarian projects in Ukraine. The Slovak public has also joined this initiative to help through donation portals. Thanks to that, the gift of 4,6 million euros from Taiwan to Ukraine was increased by Slovaks through crowdfunding by nearly 860 thousand euros.

The war in Ukraine has been going on for almost two years, and its devastating consequences are being addressed by several countries. One example being the unique collaboration between the civil sector and the Taipei Representative Office in Slovakia as the initiator. Thanks to this collaboration, the Pontis Foundation and the Open Society Foundation can support projects and organizations engaged in Ukraine and help with the restoration of infrastructure destroyed by the Russian aggressor. 

“We want to support the battle against authoritarianism and help those who are fighting for peace in their country and for the preservation of democracy in the world. In Taiwan, we know the value of freedom and democracy. In the recent presidential elections, we showed how crucial these are for us, and so does Ukraine every day. Our values unite us, and that’s why it’s important for Taiwan to help Ukraine,says David Nan-Yang Lee, head of the Taipei Representative Office in Bratislava. 

Ambulances for Ukrainian healthcare workers

One of the supported projects is the purchase of ambulances for Ukrainian medical professionals. The idea to provide ambulances for military paramedics in Ukraine came from a war photographer Vladimír Šimíček, who regularly visits the attacked areas. During one of his trips, he couldn’t forget the image of a destroyed ambulance that could no longer save lives. He came up with the idea to provide an ambulance for Ukraine himself. Gradually, other enthusiasts joined him, and so they created a collection on the donation portal Donio. Over 3 200 donors participated, with an average donation of 58 euros. The project raised a total of 208 286 euros, with an initial 20 000-euro donation from Taiwan. 

Vladimír Šimíček personally delivers the ambulances to Ukraine, with journalists and writer Martin M. Šimečka, Pohoda festival organizer Michal Kaščák, photographer Gabriel Kuchta, and Czech singer Michael Kocáb among the drivers. One of the ambulances was delivered to soldiers on the front lines by Fedor Blaščák, director of the Open Society Foundation. 

Thanks to support from Taiwan and the Slovak public, 30 ambulances and off-road pick-up trucks have been secured and are already in Ukraine. According to calculations, each ambulance saved over 70 lives in six months. 

“Ukrainians are giving their lives for us, for our values. The world is tired and fed up with it, but in the east, they fight and die. In statistics, they are numbers, but in the lives of specific people, they are the loved ones and their relatives,” said the iniciator of the idea, Vladimír Šimíček, on the Donio portal. 

The transport of the ambulances to Ukraine by Slovak volunteers. Among the participants was not only the author of the idea, war photographer Vladimír Šimíček, but also the writer Milan M. Šimečka, the head of Pohoda festival Michal Kaščák and the Czech singer Michael Kocáb. Photo: Tomáš Benedikovič

Home for mothers and children from Mariupol and Kherson

The Smile as a Gift organization has created a new safe home for surviving Ukrainian children and mothers. On a green field, they built 12 smaller houses, which provided refuge to 12 families with small children who had to flee from Kherson. The building of a former orphanage stands on the same grounds. It houses 24 children aged 11 to 16 who survived the bombing of the Mariupol theater. They were taken in by foster parents Oxana and Volodymyr, who work with the Smile as a Gift organization. 

However, these children and families lacked a laundry room and a dryer. Therefore, the organization launched a collection on the donation portal darujme.sk, informing that for 100 euros, they can buy 10 concrete blocks for the foundation of the laundry room, and for 300 euros, two plastic windows. Through darujme.sk, a total of 20 600 euros was collected for construction costs, with 10 000 euros donated by the Taipei Representative Office in Slovakia. 

Healthcare in war zones

Training for people who care for the injured on the front lines is carried out directly in Ukraine by the STEP IN organization. “Healthcare workers are increasingly encountering victims of polytrauma and individuals experiencing serious psychological suffering due to the ongoing conflict. Therefore, we provide a comprehensive three-day course for healthcare workers focused on the first psychological aid and managing polytrauma in the pre-hospital environment,” explains doctor, therapist, and humanitarian worker Zuzana Ulman from STEP IN, adding that: “Unfortunately, this kind of assistance is and will further be needed in Ukraine, as even after two years, active warfare continues in the country, and civilians are dying every day.” 

The organization received 50 000 euros from the Taipei Representative Office in Slovakia and trained 65 healthcare workers in Chernihiv. 

Educating of the paramedics and nurses who care for the wounded on the frontline. Photo: STEP IN Organization

The helping continues

So far, 2,2 million euros from the Taipei Representative Office in Slovakia has been redistributed to 17 organizations for 21 projects. In addition to the mentioned organizations, many others have been supported, including the purchase of mine-clearing equipment Božena 5. The aid continues. In the following months, projects focused on the reconstruction works in Ukraine will receive 2,4 million euros. 

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Phone: (+421 2) 5710 8111
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