Ukraine Crisis: How Clubs at West Are Offering Help


Art/Photo by Anika Agarwal

Clubs at West High, such as UNICEF, offer a way to lend a helping hand through advocacy of plans to resolve and minimize suffering faced by children. No matter how occupied our schedules are, getting involved with clubs is a sure way to help those in trouble.

Anika Agarwal, Staff Writer, Staff Photographer

   Millions of Ukrainians are fleeing their homeland as Russia and Putin’s army encroaches on Ukrainian territory. Americans are watching as war rages on the other side of the globe where people are fighting for survival. Refugees are seeking shelter in nearby countries such as Poland and Romania. Despite our 10 hours time difference and a distance of more than six thousand miles, students are finding ways to offer help. West High clubs such as the American Red Cross and UNICEF put their best foot forward as the crisis escalated in Ukraine. 

   Let’s take a  closer look at UNICEF, a larger worldwide organization aimed at securing a better future for women and children across countries. A segment of the branch operates at our school. Vice president Khushi Sharma (11) revealed UNICEF’s plans in approaching the situation. A major aspect of the club focuses on raising awareness regarding several issues such as the suffering of innocent children who are stuck in the midst of a dispute in Ukraine. Since their last meeting in the first week of March, the issue has caught fire and has become “more real” as Sharma expressed. Looking at their next meeting on April 12th, the club is hoping “to raise more awareness and provide resources” to the overarching organization. 

   The club attended a meeting on March 22nd and 24th where all of the UNICEF teams nationwide met to discuss their efforts. To turn these ideas into tangible action, the headquarters of UNICEF will meet with the congressional offices where budgeting will be determined. Another of the goals of UNICEF at West was to advocate more by having “advocacy weeks” to propose thoughtful solutions. Some examples include presenting resources and collaborating with individuals at fundraising events. 

   There comes a second part to this battlefield—providing the resources needed to combat human destruction. With the heavy use of the military comes the need for medical staff—Doctors Without Borders and the American Red Cross. The American Red Cross at West has five lines of service, as disclosed by club president Kathy Nguyen (12): “Disaster preparedness, blood health and safety services, humanitarian and international services, youth preparedness, and biomedical aid.” The most relevant form of service related to the ongoing war in Ukraine is International Humanitarian Law (IHL) where students interact with others to bring awareness to certain universal rights’ issues. Nguyen appeared hopeful and said, “Our IHL theme got over already (for the year) but we are more than happy to bring that up again. [American] Red Cross has this regional activity where [Warriors] do IHL campaigning. Any member can get involved” to fundraise and advocate similar to UNICEF. 

   Nguyen hinted at a possible fundraiser near the end of the school year to sell bracelets after finishing up with other campaigns such as the Vaccination Awareness campaign. Even though this may be a ways away, she expects the aftermath of the situation to need as much aid “recovering from everything: psychological and financial and any other aspect of life.” Even though the club at West High isn’t able to actively fundraise due to other on-campus commitments, the Ukrainian Cross and others around it, explained Nguyen, are doing their best by “giving out comfort kits, blood kits, water, food, psychological support, housing, tents.” 

   For students who wish to join these humanitarian groups and support these causes, the American Red Cross provides information on their website about how the Red Cross is functioning in the midst of the crisis. Other ways to connect with UNICEF are by visiting their website UNICEF Unite. Even though Americans aren’t on the front line in this conflict, we can still play our part in helping millions by getting involved and play their part by finding organizations that speak the language of humanity.