We spoke to Calvin James from The Scoop Foundation about the increasingly worrying situation in Ukraine. Calvin and The Scoop Foundation are heading East to provide supports for the people of Ukraine and Calvin gave some vital information as to how the Irish public can provide assistance for the Ukrainian people.

We were very lucky to sit down and have a fantastic conversation with Calvin James from the Scoop Foundation. Through the arts, the power of music and thinking outside the box in all aspects of their work, SCOOP has become one of the most unique and innovative NGOs in Ireland. The SCOOP Foundation, which stands for ‘Supporting Children Out Of Poverty’, was set up in 2009 by Irish brothers Andy and Calvin Sweeney. Currently operating in the Middle East and at home here in Ireland, SCOOP believes in supporting and educating the next generation, especially young people at home and abroad who are suffering through no fault of their own.

Watching disturbing and concerning videos and images of the invasion of Ukraine from the safety of Dublin, we began to feel increasingly privileged, but also powerless. Like many others, we felt helpless and somewhat ignorant, as to ways and means we could support the Ukrainian people. Of course donating money is an adequate start, knowing where to donate then began to become progressively more difficult question, with a multitude of faulty and false links surrounding social media. We decided to speak to Calvin James of The Scoop Foundation, who would have a better understanding of how the Irish public can help the Ukrainian people.

Hi Calvin, thanks for taking the time out to speak with us as I’m sure you’re very busy at the moment. Where are you based at the moment?

I’m in Dublin at the moment, we’re just getting everything set up for the moment. I’m working on an Erasmus project, and I have to go to Munich from tomorrow until Saturday. I’m coming home then as I’ve a gig with the Irish Anti War Movement for Yemen, which is planned for Saturday, and then I’m heading to Warsaw for Sunday. So I’m very flat out.

Wow amazing! I’m glad I caught you before you headed off tomorrow. So I just wanted to start by asking have you got any donation links that the Irish public should be donating towards in Ukraine? I feel very ignorant to the situation in ways and I’d love your insight as to where is worth donating to.

Ye one hundred percent. We’re running a Facebook fundraiser on The Scoop Foundation page and a lot of people have been engaging with that. You can also donate through our website the Scoop Foundation.Org, for those who don’t want to stick their passport details on Facebook.

Ok nice one man, thanks for that. In terms of what we can do to help from Ireland, is there any messages we should be sending to Irish government in support of Ukrainians?

The Irish government always need to do more in these situations, with a lot of different conflicts happening around the world, but the Irish people are stepping up. There’s a big Ukrainian and Polish community in Ireland that are all working together and the Irish people are working with them. There’s been a lot of people opening their door to Ukrainian people, because you know there’s going to be a lot of Ukrainian women, kids, elderly people and some with pets coming over. So we’re looking for people who could possibly temporarily host people until they find their feet and the response has been overwhelming, it’s been really great.

That also leads me onto my next question, have you heard of any supports for Ukrainians coming to Ireland that are obviously going through a pretty tough time mentally?

Ye it’s something we’re looking into at the moment, because the journey out of Ukraine at the moment is pretty traumatic, we’re hearing reports of people being very traumatised, so when the people we’re linked in with arrive in Ireland we’re going to try to ensure they get the psychological support that they need.

Looking passed Ireland for a moment, is there any ways we can donate to Ukrainians who have just arrived in bordering countries who may be seeking asylum?

It’s a complicated thing now because particularly in Poland they’re facing a lot of shortages. Poland is going through a petrol shortage at the moment and then you’ve got a lot of people with good hearts who are getting involved, but in many cases they’re actually complicating the situation as people are sending over food and clothes but the Ukrainians don’t need food and clothes, they need medical equipment and money and obviously military gear, but that’s not something we’re going to be personally involved in, but that is what the people are screaming out for. So again Poland is very difficult to manoeuvre at the moment because of the situation over there.

Ok so I know you say they don’t need food or clothes at the moment but is there any way we can send over for example, some medicines per say? Is there any drop off points in Dublin or around the country?

Ye definitely. I’ve been in conversation with a couple of Ukrainians who are organising that, but then again with Poland situation, Poland has been overwhelmed logistically so people will need to have permission from the Polish government. It’s not just a case of just driving a truck up to the border and hoping for the best, this is getting more difficult. The Ukrainians we’ve spoken to, who are willing to drop off, to the various drop off points, it’s basically just medical equipment and military type gear.

So are you mostly dealing with Poland?

Currently, yes, but then again Poland might find itself a bit stretched when the pharmacies start emptying and they start running out of stuff. So we’re looking at sourcing stuff in Romania, Germany, Moldova, Czech Republic, Slovakia and maybe even Lithuania. We kind of have to wait to see how it pans out, but then again it’s going to be pretty difficult to get stuff in from these countries as well.

Ok so it’s seems to be a very tricky situation at the moment. Moving on, is there any practical ways that the Irish public can boycott Russia?

Ye, stop drinking their vodka (laughs). The world is stepping up though, they’re out of the Olympics, they’re even out of the Eurovision, which I didn’t see coming. But ye, the same as Israel and these other bogey states, just stop buying their shit.

Yep one hundred percent man. Like I mentioned earlier I feel a little bit ignorant to the whole situation as many people do, I’ve just being seeing videos and news reports of bombings but I feel little bit unsure of what might unfold within the next few weeks. Have you perhaps got a bit of an insight as to what we can expect over the next while?

Well Putin seems to be very unpredictable but the war doesn’t seem to be going as smoothly as he’d planned but we’ve also seen major civilian damage in Kharkiv and I’ve seen a few videos of them using cluster bombs which were also being used in Syria. They’re using these in civilian areas and these things are absolutely lethal. So god only knows, hopefully there’s a peaceful solution to it but it doesn’t look like he’s going to concede. He’s asking for the demilitarisation of Ukraine and he’s asking for Ukraine to fully recognise the new land. So god knows.

Ok thanks for the insight. Would you lastly like to send a message to the Irish public on how the Irish public can support Ukraine.

Ye of course. We’re the land of a thousand welcomes, so please accept Ukrainians and accept them into your communities when they arrive.

Thanks for your time Calvin and safe travels.

Centre Point are hosting a party in aid of The Ukrainian Humanitarian Crisis next Friday. You can purchase tickets here.

Photo Credits: Sky News

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