Rehome Ukraine has been set up by the charity Global Blood Fund. For almost 15 years GBF has quietly but efficiently helped services in low and middle-income countries collect sufficient, safe blood; enabling the transfusions that have saved and improved the lives of countless patients around the world.
With the unfolding of the tragic events in Ukraine, GBF naturally looked to find ways to help support blood collection agencies there – if ever a robust blood supply was required in that country it is now. In scoping that support we realised that in this case assistance had to be about more than just supplying equipment and consumables. Some blood centres have been destroyed and staff employed there have had to leave the country as refugees. Other centres are thankfully operational and employees have bravely stayed to continue their life-saving work, but are desperately worried about family who have had to flee. They would be able to better focus on ensuring blood was there for injured soldiers and civilians if they knew their loved ones were safe.
Out of these thoughts Rehome Ukraine was born.
But then a dawning realisation: with millions of refugees crossing the border the need was enormous, and we had created a tool that could help much more widely. So why not also include blood donors in our target group? And if we include blood donors should we exclude anyone at all? We decided emphatically that the answer was no.
So we don’t. We still ask a question about any relationship with blood banking. This is because it may be important to some of our supporters and therefore we include it as one of our matching criteria. But if there is no connection – and this will apply to the vast majority – we will still try to match home-seekers with households offering accommodation with the same intense vigour.
In these awful times, whilst continuing to deliver our core mission GBF has additionally been re-cast as a general humanitarian charity. We are fine with this and see it as our – indeed everyone’s – duty to do everything possible to assist.
One day we will go back to quietly helping blood collectors in less affluent countries, the way we have done for years. We very much look forward to that day. It will mean that the terrible crisis in Ukraine has ended.