A Crisis Within a Crisis: How Individuals with ASD are Faring in War-Torn Ukraine

April 11, 2022

The Brain Foundation is Raising Money to Support Ukrainian Families Unable to Flee War Zone

According to European Disability Forum estimates, there are roughly 260,000 individuals with intellectual disabilities, including autism in Ukraine. Approximately 30,000 of these individuals are in residential care homes. While women and children received priority evacuation from Ukraine at the beginning of the war, individuals with disabilities did not receive that same priority, despite the fact that both Ukraine and Russia ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. For many people with autism or with intellectual disabilities, waiting hours in crowded train stations or coping with a packed train filled with hundreds of people cannot be tolerated. These tragic circumstances have left many in this vulnerable population trapped in Ukraine. Tragically, those left behind are now experiencing shortages of food, hygiene products, and medications. Many living in residential care homes no longer have support staff, as most staffers have already evacuated to safer countries. To help with this incredibly desperate situation, The Brain Foundation has made a heartbreaking video depicting one desperate Ukrainian family’s current situation. The video was shot in Kyiv and raises awareness of the crisis special needs families are experiencing while spending their days living in bomb shelters and dealing with a completely disrupted routine. However, most importantly, The Brain Foundation is currently collecting funds to be sent to the VGO Coalition, a network of 118 Ukrainian local non-governmental organizations for persons with intellectual disabilities. The coalition represents close to 14,000 Ukrainian families. These funds will be used to obtain food, hygiene supplies, medication, and pay for accessibility supports and personal assistance. The Brain Foundation pledges that 100% of the collected funds will go directly to the VGO Coalition.  

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