Postcard from Ukraine: Leading a united global effort to bring social change

Dr Alison Thompson OAM, Advance GameChanger based in Ukraine

Dr Alison Thompson OAM Contributor, Advance Social Impact Award Winner 2016

Australian born Dr. Alison Thompson and her Third Wave Volunteer first responders have been in Ukraine since the first week of the war. She has helped with the extraction of orphans, women and children and the training of civilians and soldiers in combat triage, as well as wound care.

Dr Alison Thompson with some of the civilian men her and her organisation have trained to fight for their country. (Courtesy/Dr Alison Thompson/Third Wave Volunteers)

The Ukraine war is a civilian war against a brutal bully living next door. We spent an emotional week training 100 civilian soldiers on how to save lives, and then with little tactical training, they were sent off to the front lines to fight the Russians.

A great bunch of men whose faces are now etched into our hearts. The fisherman, the farmer, the author, the welder, the builder, the baby food salesman, the PhD student and the architect. Our hearts are broken and we pray for their safety.

The child who escaped the Russians at the Mariupol hospital bombing  with her mother – this picture shows her first smile as they reached the safety of Romania. (Courtesy/Dr Alison Thompson/Third Wave Volunteers)

Along with the training sessions, we have been helping the women and children who recently escaped the Mariupol bombings get to safety, including one mother and her baby who were bombed in the Mariupol hospital and managed to escaped through many terrifying Russian checkpoints, all accusing her of kidnapping her own baby. Her other 15 and 18 year old sons are still trapped in Russian territory with no ID or way out.

Dr Alison Thompson chatting to a Ukrainian citizen impacted by the violence in her home country. (Courtesy/Dr Alison Thompson/Third Wave Volunteers)

In disasters, we are always on the look out for “the Gaps,” and have been delivering large tanks of water to the Nikolaev hospital as well as donating new glass and timber to repair the windows of another bombed hospital nearby.  We hand delivered thousands of tourniquets and IFAK kits to soldiers heading to the front lines and everyone was so appreciative of your donations. It was like we were handing them a pot of gold.

Please continue to help Ukraine in small or large ways. We know plenty of local Ukraine nonprofits and churches you can trust and help directly – just ask us. You can also donate to Third Wave Volunteers’ Ukraine effort here.

It’s all about love in action and everyone’s needed.

Connect with Alison

Dr Alison Thompson OAM is a humanitarian incident commander running refugee camps, field hospitals and resiliency hubs in natural and man-made disasters around the world for over 20 years. Alison founded Third Wave Volunteers as a first responder on Sept 11th, 2001 in NYC which has grown to over 30,000 first responders worldwide. Alison loves to inspire others to volunteer and lectures in universities, schools and corporations worldwide on leadership, volunteering, sustainability, disaster preparedness, GBV, women’s rights and corporate social responsibility. You can watch her TEDx Talk here.