By Alex Thomas
The Fletcher School
April 4, 2022
On Wednesday, March 2, 2022, The Fletcher Eurasia Club began organizing a campus-wide humanitarian drive to assist Ukrainians impacted by Russia’s recent invasion of Ukraine. Spearheaded by Eurasia Club co-presidents Nastia Kukunova and Karl Afrikian (Ukraine 2018-20), the drive intended to provide physical material goods for refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Ukraine.
While it began as an email sent out on the campus-wide “Social List” listserv, the efforts quickly transformed into a community-driven initiative.
“We asked the Fletcher community for help, and we were completely blown away at the support we got,” Kukunova said.
“We were expecting people to drop off some of the spare supplies they had lying around the house, but we ended up getting Costco-sized supplies in bulk.”
Over the week, package after package was dropped off at the Fletcher School’s campus and then brought over to the Russia and Eurasia Program’s building to be shipped to Ukraine.
“It was truly inspiring to see the nook full of supplies for donation after just a day or two,” said Kukunova. “We quickly learned that it wasn’t just Fletcher students helping, but faculty, staff, Tufts students, and extended family members as well.”
Among the numerous students and faculty on campus directly affected by the invasion, Afrikian and Kukunova both have family members and loved ones impacted by the crisis. Growing up, Kukunova spent school vacations with her family in Crimea and Kyiv and Afrikian served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Kropyvnytskyi, Ukraine between 2018 and 2020.
In sum, the drive resulted in nearly 20 boxes of humanitarian aid containing everything from food and clothing to diapers and medical-grade face shields. It also raised over $400 in cash for the organization Razom.
Kukunova said the Eurasia Club hopes to organize another drive in the coming months.