In early April of 2022, I befriended a Ukrainian woman on Etsy whom I began buying digital products from.
Like so many of us in the World, I was shocked and saddened by the War brought to Ukraine, but I was also inspired by their unmatched bravery and tenacity.
From Ukrainians in the street standing up to Russian tanks, to President Zelinsky who would not abandon them when he had the opportunity to do so, I was in awe!
When war, disaster, and hardship strike in a situation like this, it's easy to become overwhelmed and feel helpless because we want the suffering to end immediately, but as individuals, we don't have the power to do that.
In times like these, I go back to what a wonderful teacher said to me: "Maybe you can't change the whole world, but you can make an impact by helping one person." I decided to help one brave Ukrainian.
So rather than give to a big organization that would send money to Ukraine, I sought a personal connection with one Ukrainian to keep me inspired and hopeful.
I found Oksana, a Ukrainian woman who was selling digital products and delightful hand-made toys on Etsy to try and support her family. I started buying from her and messaging her on Etsy.
As I purchased clever digital graphics with Ukrainian colors, I would ask her if she was still safe. In light of her current challenges, I explained that I just wanted a brief yes or no answer. But she always took the time to thank me and to explain the current situation for her and her family.
Recently, I purchased a hand-knitted toy monkey, (her Etsy store is ToysGallery) but I told her not to ship it to the US, but rather give it to a Ukrainian child. She agreed. It was a really cute monkey!
Our online friendship progressed and told her I wanted to get funds to her a little faster, and the Universe provided. Paypal had just made it possible to send money directly to Ukrainians and without fees!
If you'd like to help out Oksana and her family, her Paypal address is: firstname.lastname@example.org I know these funds reach her safely because she keeps in touch with me on Etsy to verify their receipt.
A bit of time went by and I found a box on my doorstep with foreign postmarks. It was from Ukraine! I didn't even know they could get packages out of the country. I opened the box, and my eyes started watering when I found the happy, and extremely well-made Ukrainian Dog-Patron Oksana had sent me as a Thank You. I'll keep it forever!
This brave woman, going through what are undoubtedly the hardest days she'll ever have to face, took time to show her gratitude.
I know I'm not the one giving the most here. I am getting so much more. I am thankful to know Oksana, and through her, to be able to experience the collective bravery of the Ukrainians. I am grateful and humbled. Thank You, Oksana.
Maybe we can't stop the war in Ukraine alone, but we can help one brave Ukrainian directly, on a personal level. And enough of that kind of thinking MAY be enough to make a shift.
There are many ways to help Ukrainians. Etsy and other platforms provide a plethora of sellers with digital art and more. Of course, there are large organizations that do amazing things!
If you'd like to help Oksana, here is a link to her Etsy store where you can purchase digital products or handmade toys: Toys Gallery
You can also support her by sending funds directly via Paypal to email@example.com
Not everyone can make a financial contribution, but you can share this post. And that would be another thing on my vast list of things to be grateful for!
God Bless Ukraine & Fuck You Russian Warship!