Supporting Ukraine’s Defenders: Dignitas
Amidst the ongoing war and formidable challenges facing Ukraine, a beacon of hope shines through Dignitas, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization deeply committed to Ukraine’s victory and establishing a resilient nation. Dignitas Ukraine’s aim is clear: to stand beside Ukrainian defenders, first responders, and veterans, providing unwavering support to safeguard the nation’s freedom and values.
Dignitas (Latin for “dignity”) is focused on providing disaster relief in Ukraine, including delivering aid to protect first responders and defenders either near or at the front lines. The organization’s work extends its support through educational programs and rehabilitation opportunities for veterans. Psychological assistance is a cornerstone of their work, and they are also committed to educational initiatives that prioritize children who have lost their parents on the front lines. Since the full-scale invasion on February 23, 2022, volunteers and activists have established logistical support spanning the United States, Canada, and Poland to Ukraine. Dignitas has already had a significant impact in Ukraine, procuring and delivering drones, medications and vitamins, hygiene products, mobile shower units, antennas, and more to the defenders on the front lines.
Dignitas has established partnerships with 32 organizations to date, including Spirit of America, Ministry of Veterans in Ukraine, Nova Ukraine, United Help Ukraine, Euromaidan-Warszawa, and Revived Soldiers. Each of these organizations shares the common goal of saving lives and upholding the values of the free world.
How Dignitas Got Started: A Journey of Dedication
The story of Dignitas traces back to the events on the Maidan in 2013, also known as the Revolution of Dignity. Lyuba Shipovich, the President of Dignitas, was in the United States at the time, working for a successful IT company. Witnessing the Ukrainian Revolution of Dignity, she felt compelled to contribute to the cause. Lyuba galvanized a robust community of volunteers and activists who garnered trust on a global scale. These individuals selflessly transferred funds to support the Maidan’s needs, facilitating substantial orders for body armor and generators.
In the United States, Lyuba and her team organized demonstrations to show solidarity with the Ukrainian protesters on the Maidan. The team’s commitment remained steadfast as they supported the Maidan’s needs and later extended their efforts to assist the military in Eastern Ukraine when Russia invaded Crimea in 2014.
In 2015, Lyuba Shipovich left her promising career in New York, returning to Ukraine at her own expense. She began cooperating with the government and state administrations while maintaining the team’s commitment to helping the military combat Russian aggression. The team’s scope expanded to include support and adaptation programs for military personnel transitioning back to civilian life
Lyuba co-founded Razom during this time, a non-profit organization providing humanitarian aid and support initiatives for Ukraine, including assistance to Ukrainian soldiers, medical aid, and various projects to promote democracy, human rights, and positive change in the country. The work Lyuba helped to start with Razom continues to this day.
In response to the full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, Lyuba and her team initiated support for the Ukrainian army under the Emergency Response project of the Razom for Ukraine organization.
In February 2023, Dignitas emerged as a separate nonprofit organization, dedicated to supporting Ukrainian defenders to do their job effectively, helping them protect the freedom, sovereignty, and values of Ukraine and its people. The global team’s combined efforts from the United States, Ukraine, Canada, and Poland were instrumental in searching, purchasing, packing, and delivering essential goods. Their initial focus was on procuring and delivering two types of tactical goods: medicine and communication devices such as drones, satellite phones, radio transmitters, tablets, repeaters, and antennas. In cooperation with the General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, the Dignitas team hand-delivered all the goods to military units along the entire front line. About 600 tons of communication devices and tactical medicine were provided to medics and soldiers on the front line as of this writing.
Key Initiatives: Making a Difference
Now, here’s a closer look at the key initiatives spearheaded by Dignitas.
1. 1000 Drones for Ukraine: Aiding the Unseen Heroes
The “1000 Drones for Ukraine” initiative aspires to unite efforts in procuring and providing 1,000 drones to Ukraine’s defenders, who guard and protect the nation’s borders. These drones are delivered as part of humanitarian missions to various front lines, including Kharkiv, Luhansk, Donetsk, Zaporizhzhya, and Kherson.
While drones are often associated with military use, they are also vital tools for delivering critical aid to inaccessible areas, underscoring their humanitarian role in providing lifesaving support where traditional means of transportation are compromised or impossible. Ukrainian first responders and defenders use drones supplied by Dignitas to quickly deploy essential supplies, medical equipment, emergency aid, food, and water to hard-to-reach areas to save the lives of soldiers and civilians. They use drones with cameras to collect data during evacuation and help the people in gray war zones by delivering critical aid safely, quickly, and cost-effectively when road infrastructure is severely damaged or destroyed while reducing the risk to aid workers by enabling safer delivery.
2. Mobile Shower Laundry Unit: Restoring Dignity
The “Mobile Shower Laundry Unit (MSLU)” initiative aims to deliver dignity to the men and women who defend Ukraine on the battlefield. It collects donations to purchase made-in-Ukraine mobile complexes with showers, washers, and dryers and delivers them to front-line soldiers. The defenders deserve to have basic needs covered and fight with dignity. Hygiene conditions are a source of dissatisfaction for 9 out of 10 defenders. The MSLU initiative is focused on addressing general health issues, skin diseases, low morale, anxiety, depression, and suicidal feelings.
3. Veteranius: Unlocking IT Opportunities
The “Veteranius” initiative aims to help Ukrainian veterans reintegrate into civilian life through information technology and cybersecurity training. It teaches participants hard IT skills and engages them in socially significant projects. The programs include IT Boot Camp, Special Forces 12, Special Unit Cisco, and CyberHeroes.
4. Flight to Recovery: Empowering Veterans
The “Flight to Recovery” initiative continues the Veteranius project aimed at reintegrating veterans into peaceful life. It focuses on empowering, rehabilitating, and reorienting veterans in rehabilitation centers through FPV drone flying simulator programs conducted by professional instructors. The project focuses on cognitive stimulation, physical movement, and problem-solving skills, all critical aspects of rehabilitation. The project also fosters a sense of camaraderie and teamwork among veterans, offering group activities and collaborative assignments.
5. Victory Drones: Beyond Aerial Surveillance
“Victory Drones” is a system for training UAV operators and supplying the Armed Forces of Ukraine, the State Emergency Service, and medical services with various technologies and gear in cooperation with the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Drones are the “eyes in the sky” during combat; however, simply providing drones isn’t enough. It is crucial to teach Ukrainian defenders to pilot drones safely and to collect and transmit intelligence.
6. Ozero: Empowering Non-Profits
“Ozero” is a custom-built ERP system developed for non-profit organizations focusing on helping Ukraine. The system enables such organizations to track, organize, and document procurement, logistics, warehouse inventory, customer communication, order management, and last-mile distribution processes while providing abilities to document these activities appropriately.
About the Dignitas Team: Guided by Principles
Dignitas is a community of professionals and activists from all backgrounds and walks of life. The leadership and core activists have daily jobs in IT, law, economics, business consulting, accounting, human rights, and the performing arts. Currently, Dignitas is 100% volunteer-based, and the organization pledges to keep administrative costs under 10% and will hire employees ONLY when the budget permits.\
The following core principles guide the Dignitas team:
- Maintaining complete transparency
- Always employing a professional approach
- Achieving the shortest path from donor to the military
- Providing unwavering support to anyone in need, regardless of their position or branch in the military.
At the helm of Dignitas are two remarkable leaders, Lyuba Shipovich and Maria Berlinska.
Lyuba Shipovich, with an unwavering dedication to supporting Ukraine since the Revolution of Dignity, she played a pivotal role in establishing the public organization and charitable foundation Razom for Ukraine. In January 2023, recognizing the pressing need for support for Ukrainian defenders and first responders, Shipovich founded Dignitas. Under her leadership, the team at Dignitas has collected more than $50 million, a substantial portion of which has been used to equip Ukrainian defenders with vital resources. Lyuba’s passion and commitment have driven Dignitas’ mission forward.
Maria Berlinska, renowned as the mother of Ukrainian air reconnaissance, has been a driving force behind integrating drones into military operations. Her expertise has been invaluable in training military personnel and making drones an essential component of Ukraine’s defense strategy. Berlinska’s pioneering work in canceling customs duties and VAT on drones in Ukraine highlights her determination to empower the country’s defense forces. In March 2023, she initiated the “Angry Birds” drone support program, recognizing the pivotal role of drones in the ongoing conflict.
Join Dignitas in Supporting Ukraine
Dignitas is unwavering in its support for Ukraine’s defenders, first responders, and veterans. Through its initiatives and the dedicated leadership of Shipovich and Berlinska, this organization plays a vital role in ensuring the safety, dignity, and well-being of those who stand on the front lines to protect Ukraine. Please join Dignitas in supporting Ukraine.
Here’s how you can help.
- Monetary donations to Dingitas Fund can be made via Paypal/Credit Card, Zelle/Venmo, Bank Transfer, Crypto, and DAF Direct. Click here to access the Dignitas donation page.
- The Dignitas team created a list with the most needed support for the defenders that can be purchased by donors directly on Amazon. Click here to access the Dignitas Wish List.
- Become a volunteer. Click here to contact Dignitas.
Stay Updated on Dignitas
Stay current with the latest updates on the impactful work the Dignitas Ukraine team is doing. Be informed about how you can get involved and support Ukraine. Dignitas sends two newsletters weekly. Subscribe via the link below and choose your preferred language, English or Ukrainian.
Join Dignitas in Supporting Ukraine and Show Your Support
‘A Just Peace for Ukraine” Giving Campaign
When you buy a t-shirt, mug, or other product through our ‘A Just Peace for Ukraine” giving campaign on Bonfire.com, you are helping to support Ukraine and specifically the brave and resilient Ukrainian defenders fighting to preserve freedom for Ukraine and democratic values for all of us. 100% of profits from this Bonfire giving campaign go directly to Dignitas Ukraine.