As the war in Ukraine rages on, the telecoms and tech industries are doing their bit to deliver comms, tech and money through a range of initiatives.
For starters, volunteers supporting rescue work in Ukraine have taken delivery of £10,000 worth of desperately needed mobile phones donated by tech recycling specialist WeBuyAnyPhone.com.
The package of 100 brand new Alcatel devices, chosen for their long battery life, were included in a van load of aid delivered to Poland by a Hampshire-based group of volunteers.
From there, the phones will go to the Ukrainian Association of Women in Law Enforcement, which will use them to co-ordinate search and rescue efforts, and for counselling people traumatised by the conflict. Mobile phones are in short supply in the country because of ongoing looting by Russian forces.
The delivery was co-ordinated by Mick Balch, Managing Director at Portsmouth-based L&S Waste Management, who has completed several deliveries to the region since war began in February.
Balch is connected to a network of volunteers including Graeme Warnell, who lives in Krakow with his Polish wife Aga. The couple have been helping house refugees and get donations to those who need them.
Warnell says: “There is a fantastic group here of people who are helping, just using their own time to do whatever they can – whether that’s housing refugees, getting aid to where it needs to be or feeding back what people need. I heard through this network that one of our volunteers had received two letters from the Association who were desperate for mobile phones because so many have been stolen by the Russians – they take everything they can get their hands on.
“Mobile phones are crucial to co-ordinating the effort and they needed simple phones with long battery life to keep the lines of communication open. We’re very grateful to WeBuyAnyPhone.com for providing these devices, which will help people om the ground directly in a way that will make a huge difference.”
Aaron Brown, CEO of WeBuyAnyPhone.com, based in Whiteley, Hampshire, adds: “All of us at WeBuyAnyPhone.com have been shocked and appalled to see the suffering in Ukraine, but also in awe of those who are helping on the front line and by delivering aid to those who need it.
“Sometimes it’s difficult to know how to help, but when we heard about the need for mobile phones, we saw a way that we could have an immediate impact. We’re pleased to see that these devices are now going to be put to good use, and grateful to Mick and all the volunteers involved for getting them where they were needed most.”
Gaming-for-charity raises €15,000
Meanwhile, Vincotech, a supplier of module-based solutions for power electronics, staged a virtual reality game at the PCIM Europe trade fair. Visitors rose to the challenge, enabling Vincotech booth staff and engaged partners to raise €15,000 for the child welfare NGO Plan International Deutschland.
Vincotech has long hosted charity events at PCIM Europe, the world’s leading exhibition and conference for power electronics, intelligent motion, renewable energy, and energy management. At this year’s fair, the company invited show-goers to defy their fear of heights in a virtual reality game, pledging to donate money to Plan International Deutschland for every person who would dare to accept the challenge. Hundreds stepped up, raising around €12.3k over three days. Vincotech matched all contributions; Plan International Deutschland will receive a €15,000 check.
War takes a heavy toll on the mental health of youngsters; these invisible wounds linger long after the fighting stops. Plan International is working with other organizations in Ukraine’s neighboring countries Poland, Romania and Moldova to provide relief to youngsters and their families suffering from this conflict by way of child protection, mental health, education and advocacy programs, as well as cash and vouchers.
“This year’s charity drive was a personal matter for us,” says Edoardo Guiotto, Vincotech VP Sales and Marketing. “Ukrainians have long been valued members of the workforce at our plant in Bicske, Hungary. Our hearts go out to our colleagues and their families, and we support them any way we can within our company. Making an external donation for Plan International for the project focusing on children is as important to us.”