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Rebecca Shipley - Expat Humanitarian

She might live in California now, but that doesn't mean she has forgotten her friends in Krakow. In less than 2 weeks Rebecca has helped raise over $40K for Ukrainian refugees.

In working with my Soroptimist International Santa Clara Silicon Valley club, one of my fellow members introduced me to a young woman she knows who used to live in Krakow. Rebecca Shipley has been highly involved in the humanitarian crisis evolving in Eastern Europe because … well she is human and cares about the people suffering in Ukraine and … she knows people directly impacted. I’ve been talking to her via Facebook messenger for about two weeks now and she has been a wealth of information.

When displaced Ukrainians first started coming into Krakow, Poland, Rebecca and her family sprang into action. “I (my family) was an expat in Krakow for nearly 3 years. Have recently returned to the US. [We] have reached out to an expat friend about sending funds to her so she could buy and donate supplies. She happened to have a shelter near her that needed support and here we are now $40,000 in small donations and counting.”

Rebecca has been sharing stories, photos, and updates about her friends still living in Krakow and the ever-changing needs of displaced Ukrainians. Her posts have garnered a huge response. So large, that Rebecca and her followers have been able to raise more than $40,000. That is enough to fully fund a shelter in Krakow.

You can check out Rebecca’s updates about the shelter and the situation in Krakow on her Facebook page. Follow Rebecca by clicking here.

The stories Rebecca has shared with me are amazing. “What lots of people are doing is offering rides to people coming across the border, picking up food, water, supplies and taking [it to] train stations and other places where people are convening, and finding shelters and checking in on what the needs are.” Rebecca emphasized that the needs of displaced Ukrainians, and the people providing them with services, are changing daily. This presents difficult and unique challenges.

“The needs change every day for a lot of the shelters” Rebecca shares. “But I think food, water, and stuff for kids is a constant need when people come across the border.” Working from California, Rebecca is looking for new ways to raise awareness and funds for the crisis in Eastern Europe. “I am here in the states and raising funds and sending to a friend there who is going each day to the shelter we paired up with and assessing the needs.” Meeting these changing needs can be difficult without an on-the-ground contact.

I have valued my new connection with Rebecca because she has been my guide to the Krakow aid scene. Helpfully she writes to me, “Let me see if I can connect you with someone who is there. My friend I am working with is bombarded and also has 4 refugees living at her house. So I haven’t even spoken with her for 2 days. She will not be available right now. But let me see if I can find someone there for you to speak with.” Rebecca’s help, hope, and insights have greatly paid off. I am far more confident now that I will be able to make an impact in Poland, thanks to Rebecca.

Rebecca also reminds me, and her followers, that the “shelters are going to need support for a long time. So it is great for them to know [they] will have continued support.” Those looking to get involved and help support aid to displaced Ukrainians should find a shelter, program, or aid worker who they trust and plan to support them long term. From monetary donations, to shares on social media, to getting the word out about the needs of Ukrainians … it all helps and it all adds up!

What is Rebecca’s message to those interested in helping? “Thank you for helping the cause. I think it is going to require a lot of people for a long time to help. 🙏” I could not agree more, and I look forward to elevating the stories of people like Rebecca and her friends in Krakow.

To learn more about Rebecca’s experiences and the eyewitness stories of those she is helping in Krakow follow Rebeca Ford Shipley on Facebook and Instagram.

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