Campus - 28.04.2023 - 07:00
The St. Gallen Helps Ukraine association was founded by two students from the University of St.Gallen. After the start of the war of aggression on 24 February 2022, Emilia von Albertini and Frederick Mangold were in no doubt that they had to help those affected on the ground. They founded their association just three days later and started with an appeal for donations via social media. Within a few days, they had already collected several tonnes of donations of food and clothes, which were sorted and packed by several volunteers and transported directly to the crisis regions. Vital donations such as food or medical supplies were taken consistently to places where supply chains had long since failed. After the first appeal for donations proved to be a resounding success, they sought a partnership with Coop, which resulted in a nationwide digital donation campaign in the summer of 2022. This campaign, too, brought together a multitude of people willing to help. The relief supplies were then transported to Ukraine by the Ukrainian Embassy of the Swiss Confederation.
In addition to the digital appeals for donations, the first in-person fund-raising event took place on 24 April 2023, with all proceeds going to a humanitarian project run by United24, the Ukrainian President’s fund-raising organisation. The project involves the reconstruction of a housing complex that was damaged by the war of aggression in Irpin, to the west of Kiev. Between 5 and 8 p.m., various experts in the field of digital transformation and cybersecurity came together to discuss future developments. These included Si Pavitt from ACP, Chief Digital Officer of the City of St. Gallen Christian Geiger, Miguel Gomez from ETH, Daniel von Büren from Microsoft and Lisa Yasko, who is a member of the Ukrainian Parliament. The focus of the contributions was primarily on the digital transformation in Ukraine, triggered by the Ukraine conflict. In addition to the individual presentations by the experts and a subsequent panel discussion, the event began with a video shot specially for the occasion featuring the Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Digital Transformation Mykhailo Fedorov, who emphasised the relevance of the digital transformation for Ukraine in the conflict with Russia and outlined the major role it plays in the defence against Russia. This includes digital solutions such as the “Diia” app, which allows Ukrainian citizens to have all their documents at a glance in a wallet on their mobile phones. Other solutions include a reporting system in which missile attacks that have taken place can be reported directly to make defence even more efficient.
The St. Gallen Helps Ukraine association has been active for just over a year now and has proved very successful so far. The student founders of the association are continuing to work hard to organise new events aimed at supporting those affected in crisis regions. More information about the association and upcoming projects and events can be found on the website or the Instagram profile
Jacob Coburger is studying business administration and is in the fourth semester of his bachelor’s degree.