Each and everyone can help.
Since the first days of this conflict, our readers, colleagues and friends asked us how they could help. We wanted to answer in the most honest way we could.

We don't write on the issues of the world at large often, we don't think of ourselves as experts in the world of politics or culture. We are just a project about functional clothing. Yet, today we are giving you a very important, and very personal article, the one we sincerely ask you to read, share with your friends and to think of extensively. The one we wouldn't be able not to write.
"We couldn't stand by and do nothing. Together we have succeeded in creating one of the largest assistance projects for Ukrainians to date. During the first few weeks of the war in Ukraine, we created an organized volunteer and technical infrastructure.


We counsel and coordinate people in need of help and provide assistance getting out of the war zone: now any citizen of Ukraine can receive help from us 24/7. We resolve even the most complex cases, which include covering expenses, psychological counseling and more.


Hundreds of volunteers, thousands of lives saved".

We navigate the winding historic streets of the old city to a small cafe, where today's office of "Helping to leave" is located. Entering a dimly lit room, you would be forgiven for not realizing this isn't some tech startup in the making: about one and a half dozen people, all staring at their laptops and phones, some on zoom calls, some doing spreadsheets. A girl flies out of the room, comforting a crying voice on the other end.

Sun shines outside, birds are chirping, a barista is doing an aromatic v60, while these young people, who left their homes, lost their jobs, their way of life, access to their bank accounts and so many other things, are working tirelessly, day and night to get people away from death, in a European country at war in 2022.
They are the new generation of heroes. They are saving lives of civilians, who are caught in this brutal conflict, not a single one of them ever wanted. They are from all over the world: Georgians, Russians, Ukrainians, Belarussians, people not indifferent, people who could not stand idly and live their lives, like before the 24th of February.


We spoke with the members of this newly formed organization to find out, how it operates, how you can help, what role does technology play in the modern era of humanitarian efforts, as well as what fashion has to do with all of it.
Irina Fatyanova – head of fundraising and PR department at "Helping to leave" charity volunteer organization, politician, activist.
[Could you tell us about your involvement with the project?]

I got into the "Helping to leave" on the second day of the war and on the second day of the project's existence. Before me, several people, Nastya Zavyavlova – "Insider" journalist, Yulia Lyutikova - interdisciplinary artist, and Naturiko - Moscow Georgian, seeing a huge flow of requests for information on leaving the war zone, got together and made a chat on Telegram. They began to publish information that they found in different places: contacts of drivers, routes, schedules, and latest developments. Several thousand people joined the chat on the first day.

There was chaos all around, and a great desire to help sparked a fire in me. I felt guilty for what was happening, for the senseless aggression that was unleashed by the country of which I am a citizen. On the same evening more than 25 people, who wanted to do something with this fire, had already flocked together. All of them are from different spheres, different nationalities: Russians, Ukrainians, Belarusians, Georgians, etc.
It was necessary to act urgently.

We started an open form for financial assistance, began to help with tickets, and manually tried to advise people. Even then, the number of applications began to go off the scale, it was hundreds of requests a day. Now it is several thousand, which come through our bot. By the way, it was offered to us by the creators from Argentina for free, they expanded our functionality and continue to help us constantly with its performance.


We have now reached the capacity of 55 volunteers for the day shift and 35 for the night shift. Our Notion, which is constantly updated every 12 hours, is where we collect up-to-date information, verified by our fact-checkers from volunteer organizations, ministries of foreign affairs, charity organizations, our contacts on the ground, etc. A separate information department works on this 24 hours a day.

It is a lot *laughs*.
[Could you expand on the structure of your organization?]

We have never had any experience of rescuing people from war zones. Until today, many of us had no experience of working in NGOs: in many ways, we are trailblazing in this area.

We have more than 2 dozen volunteer organizers in different departments, as well as hundreds of managers and operators. We all had our own jobs, many have decided to abandon them, for now, to focus properly. We all work for free. I personally had some experience in fundraising, I helped charities and also raised money for my election campaign in St. Petersburg in the 2021 municipal elections. Yana, head of the media department, worked as an SMM manager. Egor, co-founder and COO of Kultrab (social oriented fashion brand), is building our work and information systems. Milena, the main coordinator of volunteers, was a casting director in the fashion industry.
We have 8 departments.

1) First of all – the evacuation department, is the largest and most important.
2) The media department takes care of our social media networks.
3) PR and fundraising is my department, where we deal with media relations and influencers.
4) The financial department oversees the collection and distribution of donations, they come up with new ways to transfer funds and bypass European and Russian sanctions and roadblocks three times a day.
5) Security department – technical and informational security.
6) Information department – they collect and structure all incoming information in our Notion.
7) Development department - they work on our website, bot, and interactive maps.
8) The operations department builds work processes within the team.
[I'd say you can be called an NGO of the 21st century. You are saving people's lives using technology and information. How do you do that?]

We have the most complex and voluminous work going on in the evacuation department. We have three roles. Most volunteers are operators. For example, someone writes to us – we need to leave Mariupol right now. A volunteer accepts such an application through a bot. If this volunteer's work session ends in less than 4 hours, another volunteer, who can oversee the application on his/her shift, accepts such an application. Some of the applicants develop closer contacts with specific volunteers during their work with them. In this case, a specific operator accompanies a specific person throughout the entire journey. Sometimes 5/10 operators deal with one application. The operator, after receiving the application, can immediately respond to it referring to our Notion. Otherwise, if there is a complex case, they go to their supervisor, and together they find a solution using various channels, our contacts on the ground, volunteers in the region, and so on. Operators and supervisors work in Zoom rooms, constantly sharing information and helping each other. Working sessions are held online with teams of operators. Day shifts are volunteers from Georgia, Russia, and Europe, night shifts are from the States, Canada, etc.
[About a specific financial application: how much, how, where to?]

Initially, when there were no humanitarian organizations on the ground in Ukraine, we offered people financial help with their basic needs. One financial application is rarely one person. More often than not, it's a family. Up until April 4th, we have already received 2029 applications. We rejected about 2 percent, which were mostly repeats from the same people. The average amount we send is 100 euro per person. When it's a family – 200-400. For the last week, we have closed the reception of new financial applications in order to finish all the work with those already received prior.

Now, when Ukrainians have humanitarian organizations on the ground, we redirect part of the applicants to them, for example, for medicines or for food.

Our financial assistance is focused on covering expenses during the evacuation process: paying for the train tickets, renting buses etc, because evacuation is the key for us — our main department of evacuation has received more than 30,000 applications already. Such a huge flow of requests is processed by more than 200 volunteers responding to people in our Telegram-bot 24/7.

Sometimes people just need some informational support from us, sometimes we accompany them right up to the border, until they are safe: out of these 30,000 requests more than 10,000 are the ones we have evacuated — and these are much more than 10,000 people, because a single request usually means evacuating several people.
[I'd say you can be called an NGO of the 21st century. You are saving people's lives using technology and information. How do you do that?]

We have the most complex and voluminous work going on in the evacuation department. We have three roles. Most volunteers are operators. For example, someone writes to us – we need to leave Mariupol right now. A volunteer accepts such an application through a bot. If this volunteer's work session ends in less than 4 hours, another volunteer, who can oversee the application on his/her shift, accepts such an application. Some of the applicants develop closer contacts with specific volunteers during their work with them. In this case, a specific operator accompanies a specific person throughout the entire journey. Sometimes 5/10 operators deal with one application. The operator, after receiving the application, can immediately respond to it referring to our Notion. Otherwise, if there is a complex case, they go to their supervisor, and together they find a solution using various channels, our contacts on the ground, volunteers in the region, and so on. Operators and supervisors work in Zoom rooms, constantly sharing information and helping each other. Working sessions are held online with teams of operators. Day shifts are volunteers from Georgia, Russia, and Europe, night shifts are from the States, Canada, etc.
[About a specific financial application: how much, how, where to?]

Initially, when there were no humanitarian organizations on the ground in Ukraine, we offered people financial help with their basic needs. One financial application is rarely one person. More often than not, it's a family. Up until April 4th, we have already received 2029 applications. We rejected about 2 percent, which were mostly repeats from the same people. The average amount we send is 100 euro per person. When it's a family – 200-400. For the last week, we have closed the reception of new financial applications in order to finish all the work with those already received prior.

Now, when Ukrainians have humanitarian organizations on the ground, we redirect part of the applicants to them, for example, for medicines or for food.

Our financial assistance is focused on covering expenses during the evacuation process: paying for the train tickets, renting buses etc, because evacuation is the key for us — our main department of evacuation has received more than 30,000 applications already. Such a huge flow of requests is processed by more than 200 volunteers responding to people in our Telegram-bot 24/7.

Sometimes people just need some informational support from us, sometimes we accompany them right up to the border, until they are safe: out of these 30,000 requests more than 10,000 are the ones we have evacuated — and these are much more than 10,000 people, because a single request usually means evacuating several people.
[Where are you helping them to get to and what happens afterward?]

Every day it becomes more and more difficult to leave some of the regions. We can build up the fastest route, where it will be easier and safer to take people out, depending on the application. The situation is constantly changing. Most people go to Poland. We work with volunteers in Ukraine and abroad, who can take refugees after crossing the border. The main problem is getting there. We are somewhat of an aggregator: if there is someone who can already help, we direct people to a specific person or organization in their vicinity, if not, we help them ourselves. Because we are safe and have good internet access, we are able to provide verified information, which is often the key to saving people.

I think it's very important that we exist only on donations from ordinary people, without big sponsors. And the fact that ordinary people trust us and talk about us helps immensely. Many bars, shops, and cafes give us part of the proceeds. Markets, stand-ups, meetings, film clubs, and lectures are arranged in our favor. We have already ceased to micromanage who does what in our favor, there is so much support. Sometimes we find out after the fact we are tagged on IG. We are planning to sell posters and postcards by artists from all over the world, in order to gather extra funds. It will be phenomenal if more artists, activists, ordinary people or projects in Europe and the world start holding such events themselves. Everyone can fund us directly. If you do not have money – you can create, organize a local meeting, do an online auction, sell something in order to raise money, to save people's lives. Everyone can help.
Among other notable artists, journalists, content creators and many talented and driven individuals, who form this project, we find members of a Russian art collective – Kultrab, co-founders of which, Egor and Alina, having left their home before the conflict, are focusing all their resources and energy on organizing the work of this new "collective".
They are known for their unapologetic fusion between political activism and fashion from the very start of the project, yet now they all find themselves in a much more brutal and increasingly more high stakes fight for righteousness and truth.
Alina Muzychenko – co-founder "Helping to leave", co-founder Kultrab.
"In 2017, when we came up with Kultrab, we wanted to go beyond Twitter and Facebook, beyond the information bubble. Therefore, we took the publication of Mediazona and through clothes, fashion shoots, and a new way of presentation, have told the world about the existence of this publication, about their work, and the issues they raise. It worked out. It was a kitchen-table effort at first, like helping.to.leave, who lived over at my place for the first 10 days: from a chat to a large international team.

In December 2017, when our first Kultrab release took place, it was 13.12, a symbolic date *laughs* (1312 means ACAB, author's note), we took the symbol of the Russian prison of the 20th century, a padded jacket – "Vatnik", sewn in Ivanovo, decorated by hand and finalized with the main slogan "It will get worse". We managed to attract the attention of the media and fashion crowds to ourselves and to the problem of the Russian prison system at the time.
We are often asked how we have gathered our community. We never had marketing. We have always tried to draw attention to important social and political issues, the clothing brand was born organically and has always existed as one of the mediums of our storytelling.

When we made the decision to work with small NGOs, we already understood that we could draw attention to niche, but significant issues through our brand. We tried to do everything to the best of our abilities, from the choice of fabrics and the design of our clothes to photoshoots and working with influencers. We were doing fashion.

We tried to express ourselves through culture, not Twitter. The main task was and is, always, to reveal the topic, start a discussion, and support NGOs. And today I have finally come to the point where I am directly involved in an NGOs – "Helping to leave". Through fashion, through culture. This is a new NGO format, this is a new way to help others".
"Helping to leave" volunteers
Nikita, 26.
Where did you wake up on February the 24th?
– Tbilisi.

Who were you before the start of the war?
– Designer, tutor, musician.

What item from home have you kept?
– Ukulele and my favorite thermos.

What's your next stopt?
– Do not know.
Sasha, 24.
Where did you wake up on February the 24th?
– My house in Tbilisi.

Who were you before the start of the war?
– Producer and director of live broadcasts.

What item from home have you kept?
– A glass of Alexei Navalny, drumsticks, Seryozha the cat.

What's your next stopt?
– To Russia.
Yana, 24.
Where did you wake up on February the 24th?
– In Tbilisi at an Airbnb.

Who were you before the start of the war?
– In an NGO as SMM manager and a tutor.

What item from home have you kept?
– Record player and Record of Synecdoche Montauk, a stone from Vologda.

What's your next stopt?
– To Pervomaisk in Ukraine.
Egor, 34.
Where did you wake up on February the 24th?
– Woke up after my birthday in Tbilisi.

Who were you before the start of the war?
– Co-founder of Kultrab, ideologist, businessman.

What item from home have you kept?
– A little buddha.

What's your next stopt?
– Berlin.
Ira, 26.
Where did you wake up on February the 24th?
– At home in Moscow.

Who were you before the start of the war?
– Costume designer, bartender, model .

What item from home have you kept?
– Lighter from a friend from Kyiv.

What's your next stopt?
– Kyiv.
Anna, 32.
Where did you wake up on February the 24th?
– Moscow.

Who were you before the start of the war?
– Opera producer, producer of cultural festivals.

What item from home have you kept?
– 2 volumes of Bach's well-tempered clavier, a wedding dress, a loudspeaker.

What's your next stopt?
– United States.
Nikita, 26.
Where did you wake up on February the 24th?
– Tbilisi.

Who were you before the start of the war?
– Designer, tutor, musician.

What item from home have you kept?
– Ukulele and my favorite thermos.

What's your next stopt?
– Do not know.
Sasha, 24.
Where did you wake up on February the 24th?
– My house in Tbilisi.

Who were you before the start of the war?
– Producer and director of live broadcasts.

What item from home have you kept?
– A glass of Alexei Navalny, drumsticks, Seryozha the cat.

What's your next stopt?
– To Russia.
Yana, 24.
Where did you wake up on February the 24th?
– In Tbilisi at an Airbnb.

Who were you before the start of the war?
– In an NGO as SMM manager and a tutor.

What item from home have you kept?
– Record player and Record of Synecdoche Montauk, a stone from Vologda.

What's your next stopt?
– To Pervomaisk in Ukraine.
Egor, 34.
Where did you wake up on February the 24th?
– Woke up after my birthday in Tbilisi.

Who were you before the start of the war?
– Co-founder of Kultrab, ideologist, businessman.

What item from home have you kept?
– A little buddha.

What's your next stopt?
– Berlin.
Ira, 26.
Where did you wake up on February the 24th?
– At home in Moscow.

Who were you before the start of the war?
– Costume designer, bartender, model.

What item from home have you kept?
– Lighter from a friend from Kyiv.

What's your next stopt?
– Kyiv.
Anna, 32.
Where did you wake up on February the 24th?
– Moscow.

Who were you before the start of the war?
– Opera producer, producer of cultural festivals.

What item from home have you kept?
– 2 volumes of Bach's well-tempered clavier, a wedding dress, a loudspeaker.

What's your next stopt?
– United States.
It really doesn't take much effort to help others, the ones who are near you or the world apart. With a firm grasp of technology in our society, a hard and clumsy way to support NGOs and charities is a thing of the past. This was immensely important a month ago, it is still as or even more important now. All it takes is your belief and drive to help, to change, to be a force for good, for truth, and the future. We see this very plainly – do not say, do. We will also match the sum of all purchases of our digital editions in the form of donations to "Helping to leave".

We leave you with this, dear reader.
Thank you.
Text, photos: Ivan Dzhatiev [TECHUNTER Media].
Edit, layout: Alexander Zabelin [TECHUNTER Media].






Peace to Ukraine,
Freedom to Russia and Belarus,
With best regards from Georgia, Tbilisi.
It really doesn't take much effort to help others, the ones who are near you or the world apart. With a firm grasp of technology in our society, a hard and clumsy way to support NGOs and charities is a thing of the past. This was immensely important a month ago, it is still as or even more important now. All it takes is your belief and drive to help, to change, to be a force for good, for truth, and the future. We see this very plainly – do not say, do. We will also match the sum of all purchases of our digital editions in the form of donations to "Helping to leave".

We leave you with this, dear reader.
Thank you.
Text, photos: Ivan Dzhatiev [TECHUNTER Media].
Edit, layout: Alexander Zabelin [TECHUNTER Media].

Peace to Ukraine,
Freedom to Russia and Belarus,
With best regards from Georgia, Tbilisi.