Helping Ukrainians

People in Finland want to help Ukrainians in their time of need, and many have been asking the Finnish authorities how they can help Ukrainians. People are also asking how they can help Ukraine’s neighbouring countries who are under growing pressure to help those who are fleeing Ukraine.

The best way to help private individuals is to donate money to humanitarian organisations who are able to deliver the assistance in a centralised manner. They have also the means to assess what kind of help is needed. Humanitarian organisations have well-functioning supply chains and experience operating in crises. Check the fundraiser’s background if you donate money. This will ensure that your donation goes to those who need it.

Organising money collections for those who suffer from the situation in Ukraine | Police

At the request of the Finnish Immigration Service, the Finnish Red Cross has created a national information service to answer questions about ways of helping Ukrainians and to collect information about the help offered. The information service gathers information to enable established actors organise help efficiently.

Inform us of the help you offer | Finnish Red Cross (in Finnish)

Read more below about different ways of helping.

Offering accommodation

Those who have fled Ukraine can apply for temporary protection in Finland. The process is faster than when applying for asylum. Those who apply for and are granted temporary protection have always the same right as asylum seekers to live in a reception centre. If they wish, they can arrange accommodation themselves. The Finnish Immigration Service does not coordinate private accommodation. 

If you want to offer accommodation to Ukrainians, please use the online form provided by the Finnish Red Cross. The Red Cross will forward your offer to regional actors.

Temporary protection | Finnish Immigration Service 
Inform us of the help you offer | Finnish Red Cross (in Finnish)

Donating clothes and other supplies

Reception centres are not normally able to handle large amounts of donated clothes and supplies. 
The Finnish Red Cross, its Kontti second-hand shops or drop boxes do not deliver clothes or other supplies to Ukraine. National Red Cross societies and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) organise material aid centrally in Ukraine and at the Ukrainian border.

However, if you intend to offer material aid please inform the Finnish Red Cross.  The Finnish Red Cross compiles information to the authorities concerning available help.

Inform us of the help you offer | Finnish Red Cross (in Finnish)

Offering interpretation and translation services

The authorities procure translation and interpretation services from their established contracting partners. It is important for the legal protection of individuals that translation and interpretation services are of high quality. 

If you are proficient in Ukrainian, you can offer your skills to translation agencies.

Helping at Ukrainian border

Ukraine’s neighbouring countries are now receiving great numbers of people fleeing Ukraine, and a lot of the help delivered to Ukraine goes through these countries. This may mean congestion and unpredictable situations at the borders. Long waiting times have been reported at the border crossing points in Ukraine and its neighbouring countries. The border regions are heavily overcrowded, and the local authorities request that outsiders stay away from the regions so as not to make official activities more difficult.

The Ministry for Foreign Affairs advices against all travel to Ukraine and urges people in Ukraine to leave the country immediately. As Ukraine has declared a national state of emergency, there may be restrictions on movement and it may be difficult to leave the country.

Travel advice to Ukraine | Ministry for Foreign Affairs

Supplying medicines

Any deliveries of medicines and medical equipment must be coordinated by organisations or companies that have the necessary permits and expertise to export medical supplies. In this way, the distribution chain of medical supplies can be traced, the quality and safety of medicines will be ensured during transport, the supplies will reach their destination without falling into wrong hands and they will be delivered to healthcare in the country of destination.

Safe use of medicines means that anyone using them must follow the instructions in the package leaflet. Medicine packages sold in Finland have labelling and instructions only in Finnish and Swedish, and foreign-language speakers will not be able to understand the information necessary for safe use of medicines. As a rule, private individuals can bring medicines only for their personal use when they travel abroad.

Medicine package leaflets | Finnish Medicines Agency 
What medicines can I bring abroad? | Finnish Medicines Agency

Bringing Ukrainians to Finland

Please notify the Finnish Immigration Service if you are bringing Ukrainians to Finland. You can fill in a form on the website of the Finnish Immigration Service or even telephone the Service where necessary.

Many private individuals and operators have expressed their intention of bringing to Finland people who have fled Ukraine because of the Russian attack. It is admirable and understandable that you want to help. However, you should bear in mind that people fleeing conflict are often in need of other support as well. This is especially important to remember when helping children. Humanitarian organisations and the authorities have long experience in helping children in crises. 
If you bring Ukrainians to Finland, please be careful not to separate children from their families or loved ones. Let the authorities help unaccompanied children.

It is important to notify the Finnish Immigration Service in advance of your intention of bringing Ukrainians to Finland so that the authorities can assess people’s need for accommodation and support before their arrival. The Finnish Immigration Service coordinates accommodation for asylum seekers only.

Give advance information about bringing Ukrainians to Finland | Finnish Immigration Service