The year 2010 marks the 85th anniversary of the Ukrainian National Women's League of America, Inc. (UNWLA), the largest and oldest Ukrainian women's organization in the United States, which works independently as a charitable and cultural organization .
The UNWLA was established in 1925 by five existing Ukrainian women's associations in New York City and vicinity following the exclusion of the National Council of Women (NCW) of Ukraine from the International Council of Women. The NCW of Ukraine had been a member of the ICW since 1920, but was excluded from the ICW as a direct result of Ukraine's loss of national independence, a prerequisite for ICW membership. This centralized organization was named Soyuz Ukrainok Ameryky - Ukrainian National Women's League of America, Inc. - and its goal was to inform the free world about events in Ukraine, to support the homeland both spiritually and materially, and to promote the preservation of Ukrainian national identity, cultural heritage, and ethnic traditions in the United States.
Today’s UNWLA members are continuing this mission as it applies to the 21st century. It has become customary to celebrate our anniversaries by implementing new and meaningful social service projects. Five years ago, the project “Milk and Roll for our youngest students” or “Moloko i Bulochka” was established to commemorate our 80th anniversary. This project has been discontinued because the Ukrainian government now provides breakfast in the schools.
On the eve of the 85th anniversary of our organization we have turned our efforts to helping the elderly, an often neglected group of the population, by lending needed assistance to selected nursing homes in various regions (oblasts) of Ukraine. We aptly named our project “Assistance and Caring for the Elderly.” It is noteworthy that nursing homes, which were virtually unknown in Ukraine before World War II, are now overflowing. The economic crisis is serious and exacerbates the problem.
The Social Welfare Standing Committee is very active in addressing the various needs of people of Ukrainian descent in the US and other countries of the iaspora, as well as Ukrainians in Ukraine.
Humanitarian aid is provided through specific ongoing programs as well as in emergency situations, or, as the need arises.
The Milk and Roll fund was initiated in celebration of the 80th anniversary of the UNWLA. It is now being discontinued based on information from the government of Ukraine that nutrition in schools is being provided by the government. It will be replaced by:“A GIFT to the Suffering” Through this fund aid will be provided to institutions for the Elderly in various regions of Ukraine.
Homes for the Aged were virtually unknown in Ukraine, however, the current world economic crisis has necessitated a change.
Many elderly, unable to support themselves, are forced to find refuge in these institutions.
The UNWLA , on the eve of its 85th anniversary is thus announcing the formation of this new fund, “A Gift to the Suffering”.
As mentioned above, in emergent situations, such as the recent flood in Western Ukraine in 2008, the UNWLA is frequently among the first to respond to the needs of the people with monetary and other forms of aid.
Locally, in the United States, we have provided financial help to the ill , infirm or otherwise needy.
Just one such example is the young girl who was brought to the United States from Ukraine as a result of severe injuries suffered in a fire. While she was receiving treatment in Boston, MA, the UNWLA , along with other organizations carried out extensive fundraising to provide help. The local branch of UNWLA provided other forms of assistance, such as visitations and housing to the family.