This Year’s Christmas Gift Donation Goes to The Norwegian Refugee Council
Every year, Omega 365 gives a Christmas gift on behalf of our employees to a charitable cause. However, after witnessing the first scale of the humanitarian crisis caused by the war in Ukraine, Omega 365’s corporate management saw the need to mobilize our Christmas donation as soon as possible.
This year’s Christmas gift donation from Omega 365 went to the Norwegian Refugee Council earlier this year due to the situation in Ukraine. Winter is now upon us, which makes the situation in Ukraine extra challenging.
NOK 1 million was given to the Norwegian Refugee Council to be spread across a two-year period. Half of this amount was distributed this year, and the second half will be distributed next year. Omega 365 wants to make this support work more long term. It has been almost ten months since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and the major humanitarian crisis in the country is urgent.
“Now is not the time to hold back hands that can help and help immediately. We are in a situation where we have the opportunity to contribute now and we heard from our employees that that was exactly what they wanted us to do,” explains Corporate Communications Manager, Lauren McPherson Simonsen, who has already initiated a cooperation with the Norwegian Refugee Council, which includes, but is not limited to, the monetary gift.
Gift was received with gratitude
Already at the start of 2022, 5.2 million people were affected by the conflict in eastern Ukraine, and around 800,000 were displaced. In addition, 3,000 people were killed, and 3.4 million needed emergency assistance. In the areas affected by the conflict, there was high unemployment, medical treatment was often unavailable, and many did not have enough food, proper housing, or heating.
“We see our contribution and cooperation with the Norwegian Refugee Council as the most effective way that we, as an organization, can help the millions of people directly affected by the war,” she added.
Secretary General of the Norwegian Refugee Council, Jan Egeland is thankful that Omega 365 chose to lend its support to the Norwegian Refugee Council despite the many worthy humanitarian and aid organizations that are assisting in this crisis.
“We are grateful for the generous support from Omega 365 to our work in Ukraine. With these funds, we are able to protect the most vulnerable people and respond to increased needs,” says Jan Egeland.
The winter will be hard
Egeland was recently in Ukraine, where he saw how the winter and the cold are now taking their toll on the country.
“Right now, across the country, people are facing a grim choice: flee or freeze,” said Egeland.
“I met families in Zaporizhzhia who fled for their lives from bombed out basements through the only crossing point on the frontline. They were fired upon as they crossed. From a one-month-old to 91-year-old, they arrived cold and traumatized, but deeply relieved that they are now safe,” he told the Norwegian Refugee Council’s website.
The new increase in violence has made the situation in Ukraine much worse and has spread throughout the country. Millions of people have fled their homes, many live in other areas of the country, and many have sought asylum in other countries. The need for emergency aid has increased drastically, and it is expected to get far worse. The situation in the country is changing rapidly.
Together with local partners, the Norwegian Refugee Council has set up welcome centers where hot meals are distributed to hundreds of people in Lviv in western Ukraine. In Warsaw, they have established a transit center at the central railway station, which they will operate with partners. The Norwegian Refugee Council’s team also provides information and legal assistance to help refugees gain protection and access to essential services in several locations in Ukraine, including in the eastern and western regions.
They are working with many national partners in Poland, Moldova, and Romania to ensure that displaced people have a safe place to sleep, that children can go to school, and that families can access existing support systems. The Norwegian Refugee Council also distributes financial support to thousands of mothers and fathers so that they can ensure that their families have what they need - both inside Ukraine, and when they eventually become refugees. They have also started operations in Ukraine from neighboring countries, and delivered food and other emergency aid along the escape routes.
“The Norwegian Refugee Council is a reputable humanitarian organization where more than 90 percent of funds received go directly to fulfilling the organization’s purpose. They are already on the ground offering strategic support in this horrible situation. We wanted to offer rapid assistance to an established organization that could make a positive difference as quickly as possible,” says McPherson Simonsen.
The Norwegian Refugee Council operates several relief efforts for refugees around the world, and on March 8, the organization announced an emergency relief plan for Ukrainians fleeing their home county.
It is not the first time Omega 365’s Christmas donation has focused on Ukraine. From 2003 to 2006, Omega 365 entered a three-year joint venture (administered by THK Stiftelsen) to fund the establishment of a mother and child center in the Korosten area. With the help of Omega 365’s employees, the children’s home was completed by Christmas of 2006, and several of our colleagues have visited the center in the years that followed.