The images and stories from Ukraine that reach us evoke strong emotions in many people. What's more, they prompt action to help. Project HOOP (Project HOPE) was created to support the many Ukrainian refugees in Poland. The initiative is driven by Mitch De Geest, CEO of Citymesh, alderman in Blankenberge and fireman at Zone1. Citymesh and the fire brigade of Zone1 are closely involved in the project. One of Citymesh's great values is 'In All Fairness', which stands for acting with integrity and responsibility. This value is strongly emphasised with this project.
Project HOOP is an acronym in Dutch (Help Oekraïne, Ondersteuning vanuit Polen), which means Help Ukraine, Support from Poland. With about 15 people, Project HOOP left on Thursday 10 March for Medyka in Poland, on the border of Ukraine. There they will provide support and assistance to the Ukrainian refugees crossing the border. The team is in contact with local firefighters and other people on the spot. This way, they could not only make the necessary practical and logistical preparations, but also prepare themselves mentally for the mission.
The team consists of IT experts and fire fighters. This way, they can offer help in different areas. For example, Wi-Fi networks and other means of communication are very much needed. At the border with Poland, where many Ukrainian refugees arrive, there are currently many problems with connectivity. However, good connectivity is essential: since most refugees have family and friends who stayed behind in Ukraine, they need to be able to stay in touch with them. It is also important for the coordination on site that people have access to the Internet and mobile phones. That is why Project HOOP's IT experts will help provide equipment and install networks. In addition, Project HOOP also took food, medical equipment and other goods, which people donated at collection points.
A Facebook page was created so that everyone can follow Project HOOP closely. Updates are posted here on a regular basis.