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The Russian Invasion Of Ukraine And Ayat Abuznade’s Response

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The Russian Invasion Of Ukraine Ayat Abuznade’s Response

The Russian invasion of Ukraine has resulted in a humanitarian crisis as citizens of Ukraine flee their homes. According to the United Nations (UN): “11,800 civilian casualties, including more than 5,100 killed, have been verified as of 17 July.”

With over 3.4 million in need of humanitarian assistance, a different type of battle rages on. That is where Ayat Abuznade comes in. Ayat’s humanitarian organization—Team Humanity USA—is one of many organizations providing humanitarian aid to those in Ukraine. 

Ayat’s humanitarian journey started in 2014 when she volunteered at a Zaatari Refugee Camp—which was the biggest camp for Syrian refugees located in Jordan. As Syrians continued to leave their homes and flee to Jordan, the crisis continued to grow.

During her time at the refugee camp, Ayat witnessed the horrors that war brings. But, it was there that she met a bright-eyed 8-year-old boy who she could never forget. The boy’s name was Yaseen, and he had unfortunately experienced the destruction that war can bring.

Part of Yaseen’s arm was amputated. As he and his family fled for safety, a missile shell exploded and resulted in shrapnel tearing up the little boy’s arm. Sadly, Yaseen was just one of thousands of kids who had disabilities due to the war.

As would be expected, Ayat was never the same after her time in the refugee camp. She decided to dedicate her life to changing the lives of those who desperately need aid.

In 2015, she found herself in Lesvos, Greece helping the thousands of migrants seeking refuge. Unfortunately, the small humanitarian organizations that were doing the same found themselves overwhelmed by the mass of refugees.

Many refugees were not fortunate enough to survive the long and cold trek to safety. In 2018, Ayat again returned to Lesvos, Greece to the camp that was now known as the “the worst refugee camp on earth.”

She realized that “there would always be a need for more in the world.” As a result, she started Team Humanity USA. 

Team Humanity USA’s mission states: “We are committed to providing humanitarian and educational outreach to vulnerable communities in the US and abroad by responding to major emergencies, fighting disease and poverty, as well as nurturing and promoting human welfare.”

Ayat finds inspiration in the quote by Connor Franta which says: “Let your smile change the world but don’t let the world change your smile.” She hopes to “do anything possible to instill hope and happiness back in the lives of people.”

As such, Ayat and her team are focused on providing emergency aid to projects around the globe. Today, Team Humanity USA is involved in many different countries across the globe such as Lebanon, Afghanistan, and Ukraine. 

When Russia invaded, Ukraine found itself in desperate humanitarian need. Many Ukrainians lost their homes, family members, and friends.

According to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR): “More than 5.6 million individual refugees from Ukraine recorded across Europe since 24 February,” and over 7.1 million people in Ukraine are estimated to be internally displaced.

The UN reports that about “10.2 million people across Ukraine urgently need food and livelihood assistance.” It is estimated that 12.1 million Ukrainians will need health assistance and 3.6 million children are lacking educational needs due to the war.

Humanitarian aid is needed on about all fronts and many organizations like Team Humanity USA are on the ground providing much-needed aid to Ukrainian refugees.

Due to lack of transportation and many Ukrainians finding themselves stranded, a pressing need arose. Team Humanity USA helped fill that need and is responsible for saving more than a thousand Ukrainian refugees. 

When war broke out, Ayat and her team used five buses to transport 200 refugees a day from conflict zones over a 16-hour trip. 

With the help of other organizations and NATO, safer and faster routes were found which enabled Team Humanity USA to ramp up their transportation efforts. As a result, over a thousand Ukrainians were saved.

Team Humanity USA continues to provide support to Ukrainians by “providing women, children, and elderly with life-saving essentials that they need.” There is still a great need for emergency transportation as well as shelter and aid for the Ukrainian refugees that Ayat and her team continue to provide.

Ayat’s humanitarian journey continues in Ukraine as well as other countries across the globe. While she is just one person, her story has inspired many to join her cause to “do anything possible to instill hope and happiness back in the lives of people.”

Ayat understands that she cannot do this alone, and that is why she calls others to do the same. She explains: “When you help Ukraine, you are helping innocent civilians who have lost and left their whole life behind. Make a difference in the world by advocating against violence. Now is the time to stand up and provide help to those in need.”