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Giving Shelter

Two college students are using their web skills to help Ukrainian refugees.

adults and children, many pulling luggage, walk outside of a train station

© Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images News

Two college students have created a website designed to assist Ukrainian refugees. The website, called Ukraine Take Shelter, helps people who are fleeing the war in Ukraine to find a place to stay in cities around the world.

Ukraine Take Shelter was created by Harvard University students Avi Schiffman, 19, and Marco Burstein, 18. Since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, millions of Ukrainians have left their home country, and many have no place to go. There are, however, a lot of people around the world who want to open their homes to Ukrainians. Schiffman, a talented web designer, realized that there was a need for a simple online resource linking refugees with people willing to host them. He and Burstein built the website in just three days.

Ukraine Take Shelter, which can be viewed in several languages, is designed to be easy to use. The user simply types in the city where they need shelter to get listings for houses, apartments, and rooms that are available. Thousands of potential hosts have posted listings on the site. 

Why did Schiffman decide to help? He said he saw a need for a website and, having built sites before, he thought, “Why not me?”

Did You Know?

Two boys are in a shelter. One of them lies on a cot looking at his phone while the other looks on.

© Omar Marques/Getty Images News

There are more than 26 million refugees around the world. About half of them are under age 18, according to the United Nations Refugee Agency.

How You Can Help

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Many organizations are accepting donations to help Ukrainians. The funds can be used to buy food, medical supplies, and much more. If you’re interested in helping, here are a few tips:

  1. Work together. Helping others can be easier if you work in a group. See if you can get your friends and family involved in the effort.

  2. Design a fundraiser. Think of a way you can raise funds. Get your friends together and have a car wash or a bake sale. Just remember to get permission if you want to hold your event on public property.

  3. Find a trusted organization. Be thoughtful about where you send any donation. Look on a website that rates charities and find one that is trusted and highly ranked.

What’s Happening

Learn more about the war in Ukraine.

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Syllabic representation:



: someone who has been forced to leave a country because of war or for religious or political reasons

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