A Statement from our Founder on the ongoing crisis in Ukraine

March 31, 2022

RISE Travel Institute is an anti-oppression organization and we condemn crimes against humanity perpetrated by the Russian government on the Ukrainian people. While we’re still processing the horrific war unfolding, as of March 30, 2022, over a thousand civilians have been killed in Ukraine, thousands injured, including women and children (OHCHR). A staggering 4 million Ukrainian refugees have fled to neighboring countries, and 6.5 million people have been internally displaced (UNHCR). We recognize that the Russian people are also heavily impacted by the war due to economic sanctions against Russia (BBC). It is often the civilians who have no control over their authority’s actions who suffer the most from economic sanctions. Additionally, anti-Russian sentiment is unjust and dangerous (Washington Post). Russians are not responsible for the violence and crimes perpetrated by their government and should not be scapegoated for their government’s aggression or behaviors. 

 

Beyond the tragic loss of lives and millions of refugees and internally displaced people, we are deeply concerned by other significant impacts of war. Some examples include the long-term impact on physical and mental health of affected people; destruction of historical monuments, communities, homes and the economy; the environmental toll of pollutants from armed conflicts contaminating soil, water and air; and more globally, the exacerbation of the ongoing hunger crisis caused by droughts in Somalia and other East African countries, which rely on Ukraine and Russia for 90% of their wheat supply (Climate Change News). Cycles of oppression are interconnected, and at RISE Travel Institute, we use a systems-thinking lens to understand and educate about these interconnections as we unpack human-made disasters around the world.

 

As an educational organization, we want to highlight impactful ways to help:

  • Understand the interconnectedness of the negative impacts armed conflicts have on humans, animals and the environment of the affected regions and beyond.

  • Donate to Ukraine-based and Ukrainian-led organisationsOur guest instructor JoAnna Haugen, Founder of Rooted Storytelling, has shared valuable insights on what travelers can do to support. If you wish to donate to refugee empowerment organisations, prioritize grassroots nonprofits and community-led initiatives that provide direct support to refugees arriving in the neighboring countries of Ukraine. Our longstanding partner Love Without Borders for Refugees in Need was quick to arrive in Poland to assess the situation on the ground and mobilize their networks to find lodging solutions for the influx of refugees in Eastern European countries (USA Today). 

  • Educate yourself about the global refugee crisis and the plight of refugees and internally displaced persons. Whilst we stand in solidarity with Ukrainian refugees, we must not forget the millions of refugees from Syria, South Sudan, Afghanistan, Myanmar, Venezuela, Yemen and other regions of armed conflicts who equally deserve attention, support and compassion.

 

May peace be restored in Ukraine soon and perpetrators of crimes against humanity be brought to justice.

In solidarity with the Ukrainian people,

Vincie Ho

Founder & Executive Director

RISE Travel Institute