In Focus: Czech NGO Nesehnutí Provides Help To Crimean Tatars, On The Run For The Second Time

Seven months on from the Russian invasion, many in Ukraine are still desperately in need of humanitarian assistance. In the first of a series of articles, we profile how one organization, Brno’s Nesehnutí, is responding to that need. Photo credit: Zdeněk Chaloupka / Nesehnuti.

Brno, 4 Oct. (BD) – First, they lost their homes in 2014, when Russian troops annexed Crimea. This spring, the Russian invasion drove them from their homes for the second time. Crimean Tatars have long been oppressed by the Russian regime, and the invasion of Ukraine forced many of them to take the unprecedented step of leaving Ukraine for good.

The Brno-based non-profit organization Nesehnutí is helping the Crimean Tatars as part of its support for Ukraine’s civic society. In the first half of the year, the organisation carried out three evacuations, helping around 100 women, children, and old people reach safety.

100 people were brought to the Czech Republic in three groups. Credit: Zdeněk Chaloupka / Nesehnuti.

The first of the evacuations symbolically took place on International Women’s Day. 50 women and children were brought to safety in the Czech Republic thanks to cooperation with the informal Crimean Tatar parliament, Medžlis. They boarded a bus sent by Nesehnutí to the Poland-Ukrainian border with only the most necessary possessions, forced to leave everything else behind.

In addition to mediating assistance on the journey to the Ukrainian border and organizing transport from there to the Czech Republic, Nesehnutí also participated in providing accommodation and basic needs for all three groups of refugees.

“We tried to help the refugees as much as possible in their extremely difficult situation. Now we, like them, hope that they can return home to their motherland as soon as possible. To a motherland without war and occupying troops,” said Milan Štefanec, the organizer of the evacuations and a member of the Nesehnutí Ukrainian team.

During one of the three evacuations of Crimean Tatars organized by Nesehnutí, the Remízek organization filmed a short testimony of the war through the eyes of ordinary people who were forced to leave their homes behind.

The evacuation of women, children, and old people from the Crimean Tatar ethnic group is far from the only activity that Nesehnutí has assisted with in Ukraine. Since the first days of the Russian invasion, the organisation has been helping local civil society with various forms of material and financial assistance. Nesehnutí also supports initiatives that help survivors of sexual violence from Russian soldiers. You can support the work of Nesehnutí through a collection on the Darujme portal.

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