According to the U.N. High Commission for Refugees, roughly 17.6 million Ukrainians, or 43% of Ukraine’s population, will need humanitarian assistance in 2023 as a result of the ongoing Russian invasion. Among them, 45% are women, 23% are children, and 15% are people with disabilities. The Rinat Akhmetov Foundation, a philanthropic organization established by Metinvest owner Rinat Akhmetov, has been instrumental in providing much-needed medical support for Ukrainian teenagers affected by the war.
“My foundation is helping Ukrainians survive by providing water, food, medicines, and any help we can give here and now,” said Akhmetov in a recent interview.
‘Moments of Silence and Peace’
The foundation’s project, “Rinat Akhmetov for Children. Rehabilitation of Injured Children,” is open to children under 18 who have sustained injuries of any severity level due to Russian hostilities. Two such beneficiaries are 15-year-old Sofia from Mariupol and 15-year-old Khrystyna from Zaporizhzhia. With the support of the foundation, both girls have recently completed rehabilitation at a care center in Zakarpattia.
Sofia was wounded in Mariupol when Russian soldiers opened fire on her car as she and her mother were collecting humanitarian aid. The injury led to a curvature of her spine.
Sofia’s mother, Nadiya, expressed gratitude for the foundation’s support, stating, “For these children, such moments of silence and peace, away from everything, are an invaluable help.”
Khrystyna was injured in a missile strike in Zaporizhzhia, suffering lacerations and shrapnel wounds. She welcomed the time to recover in a calm and peaceful environment.
“I really like it here. It is quiet here, there is a nice swimming pool, a salt therapy room, and good food. There are people here who treat you cordially. When my mother told me that we received a voucher for the sanatorium, I was very happy and grateful that the foundation helped us. We did not receive any other help from anyone,” she said.
Her mother, Viktoria, said, “While staying here, Khrystyna has become more cheerful. She likes it very much, and we walk a lot. We are very grateful for such a gift to us, for such a recovery course.”
The rehabilitation courses provided by the Rinat Akhmetov Foundation have been a source not just of physical healing, but also of psychological comfort to the affected children.
The Rinat Akhmetov Foundation’s Wider Impact
The Rinat Akhmetov Foundation has been a significant contributor of humanitarian aid in Ukraine even before the escalation of the war with Russia. It’s completed over 70 projects and programs since 2005 in sectors such as health care, education, and cultural support.
“Say you know a person who is in distress and who needs help. You help that person, and that’s wonderful. Then, at some point, you realize that unfortunately, there are another million people suffering the same misfortune, which means that we are talking about systemic problems,” explained Akhmetov on the origins of the foundation.
“Only a consistent approach can help us overcome these problems.That was how I arrived at my second stage of charity, the stage of corporate social responsibility. As a result, SCM [Akhmetov’s System Capital Management holding company] established the Foundation for Development of Ukraine in 2005. Presently, I am at the third stage of charity, the stage of personal responsibility, as I know that I will never stop doing charity work and helping others.”
Akhmetov, who owns the Shakhtar Donetsk soccer team in addition to Metinvest and SCM, donated $25 million from the transfer of Shakhtar star player Mykhailo Mudryk to Chelsea to assist the families of soldiers who defended Mariupol. Through his companies, personal contributions, and foundation, Akhmetov has donated over $150 million to the Ukrainian army and civilians affected by the war.
He’s also recently been involved in legal actions aimed at holding Russia accountable for seized assets and damage to his country, intending to use any compensation for Ukraine’s reconstruction.