UNITED FOR U

About us

United for U (U4U) is an international “CrowdCaring” NGO, offering help to people in emergencies, including refugees from conflict and disaster zones such as Afghanistan, DRC, Syria, Ukraine, Yemen, and others.

U4U is registered as an association under the Laws of Switzerland (REG number 1-2MI0MX), with activities in France and across Europe.

Our unique CrowdCaring method provides a direct volunteer-refugee conversation and a needs-resources connection. This is a state-of-the-art technical solution for our fundamental concept of decentralization and empowerment.

U4U does not pursue any political, ideological or religious goals, as well as collective or individual interests. It is established as a neutral humanitarian entity, mandated to assist all persons in urgent need of assistance, without any discrimination on any basis whatsoever. 

Most of our activities today are devoted to resolving the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine.

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  • Provide end-to-end 24/7 support, from critical first response to full integration into the host society
  • Foster direct relationships between volunteers and beneficiaries, as well as the host society
  • Focus on the most vulnerable, including women, children, elderly and handicapped 
  • Engage refugees as volunteers to foster community-building, self-help and integration
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  • Neutral Mandate that is not limited to any particular state, political party, collective or private interest, or situation. Our members, partners, volunteers, hosts, and beneficiaries can be reassured by our independence and competence.  
  • Decentralized Humanitarian Aid is the U4U’s fundamental work principle, with volunteers creating direct connections and relationships with refugees and other people in need, as well as the host society.
  • Our unique CrowdCaring method allows us to create a direct volunteer-refugee conversation and a needs-resources connection:
    • Unique Programme of Guardian Volunteers, who create a vital cultural, linguistic and personal link between refugees and the host society. It allows our bilingual and multilingual volunteers to support the hosting families and refugees in building a good understanding between each other and ensure their amicable living together. Our volunteers accompany refugees and help them along the difficult journey even before their arrival. 
    • Curated Refugee-Host Matching platform for those seeking shelter. Before the state refugee housing systems were set up for Ukrainians fleeing the conflict, we were the first and only iNGO to run such a platform. This is not a simple online tool, leaving refugees to find hosts themselves, which can be very unsafe if not monitored correctly. We accompany refugees before their arrival all the way to the host, with whom we first established a direct relationship.    

Active Engagement of Refugees as our volunteers or management team members, which helps community-building, healing and integration. We are managing a pool of hand-picked bilingual talent, training and on-boarding new team members every day.

Our results

We have achieved substantial results in just two months (24 February – 24 April 2022) with limited resources:

+400

refugee families

successfully placed with hosts in Switzerland, France, and other European countries by our Matching Volunteers

+190

families (refugee + host)

supported with all questions and needs by our Guardian Volunteers

+2600

volunteers (including 250 refugees)

mobilized in Switzerland, the European Union, Ukraine, and the US

+2900

refugees

helped with critical needs, including shelter, food, medical aid and mental support

+100

orphans

evacuated from Ukraine to Switzerland, under the supervision, and in close collaboration with, the Swiss authorities and the Embassy of Ukraine to Switzerland

Our Team

We are a multilingual, diverse team of experts, including Syrian, Belarusian, Ukrainian and Russian refugees. We ensure a cultural, linguistic and professional link between the European audience and those in critical need of humanitarian aid.

Together, we combine unique expertise in human rights, neurobiology, public advocacy, engineering, refugee protection, mental health, social services, nuclear physics, UN affairs, software development, financial management, art therapy, medical support, and innovative financing, among others. Our core team speaks 28 languages! 

Yulia is a senior advisor with a prolific portfolio in UN affairs, corporate in-house and international justice.  She has over 20 years of experience in strategy, policy and legal support to corporate leaders, top Government officials, civil society, international financial institutions and UN partners. Human rights and refugee protection have always been at the heart of her work and life. As a young counsel at a big New York law firm twenty years ago, she already had a large portfolio of pro bono political asylum cases from Eritrea, Belarus, Tibet, Iran, Russia, DRC, Syria and other countries.

U4U President

Yulia LEM

Natalya is committed to innovation strategies as a central topic to future-proof both large organisations and SMEs in healthcare. She has over 15 years of experience in both academic and corporate environments, with global exposure across multiple locations in the healthcare sector. With strong ability to distill insights into actionable marketing and clinical ideas, translate them into successful plans and winning execution, she boasts multi-channel experience with clinicians, users and suppliers. Her passion – mountains – teaches her a lot about risk taking, decision-making and leadership.

U4U Vice-President, MD, PhD, MBA

Natalya URTIKOVA

David is a space engineer and a nuclear physicist.  He is a technological lifeline for United for U, bringing innovative analytical, design and structural solutions to the work that we do.  As a compassionate person, he has been in the frontlines of the refugee crisis from Day 1, creating the first version of our unique CrowdCaring platform, welcoming refugees and finding shelter from them through Curated Matching.  He was soon joined by Olga, herself a refugee, who is key to creating a strong connection between arriving refugees and the host society.

U4U General Secretary

David MORET

Larissa has more than 12 years of experience in project management. Her portfolio includes the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) programmes of support to Ukrainian business. Until recently, in cooperation with European and UN partners (UNFPA, UNDP, UN WOMEN), Larissa has been in charge of implementing projects aimed at supporting migrants in Ukraine. These projects included the support and adaptation of Donbas IDPs.  The projects managed by Larissa were recognized by the ESSA European Social Services Awards. Larissa’s expertise includes women’s rights, prevention of domestic violence, GESI gender equality and social inclusion.   

 

U4U Programme Coordinator

Larissa VERBITSKAYA

Partners and Friends

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