Monday, 15 July 2024
UK Charity Week 2024 - Sponsored by Sinclair Method UK
Monday, 15 July 2024

How one UK travel group is helping get global charities to the front line in Ukraine

By Christopher Airey, founder and Managing Director at Diversity Travel

While the world watched millions fleeing Ukraine after the Russian invasion, for our charity clients, the desire was just as urgent to get IN and help those affected by the conflict.

It is essential for any charity sending people to areas affected by a natural disaster or war to have complete trust and peace of mind in the travel arrangements that are put in place. That’s where Diversity Travel comes in.

We specialise in arranging travel for charities and not-for-profit organisations to these parts of the world and have been working exclusively in this sector for decades. It’s why thousands of the world’s leading charities trust us to get their people safely in and out of some of the world’s most dangerous places.

Unfortunately, over recent years, this has meant sending people into conflict zones quickly and safely. Just six months ago, we were getting aid into Afghanistan, and before that it was Yemen, South Sudan and the DRC.

Ukraine is the latest country to be affected by conflict. Most people are trying to get out while Diversity Travel is getting people in. It’s reassuring to the customer that Diversity Travel understands and has so much experience in overcoming any challenge that arises.

One of the most difficult things is the availability of routes. Currently, most traffic is going into Moldova, Romania and Poland and then onward into Ukraine by land, usually by car.

When the conflict in Ukraine began, charities immediately implemented plans they had been working on for weeks. Initially, it was reconnaissance visits to scope the scale of the project and the landscape they would be operating in. That has now been followed up by a mass influx of frontline workers to provide assistance to the people of Ukraine.

However, moving many charity workers into a conflict zone is rarely simple.

Due to the expertise of the people involved in organising disaster relief for many different charities, they are often coming straight from other areas of humanitarian need. For us, this means coordinating paths of entry, often with bodies such as the World Food Programme or the United Nations.

The reason so many charities turn to Diversity Travel is that we can secure preferential airfares for the charity sector, which we have been doing since we were first founded. Last year this resulted in us saving our charity clients significant money on their global travel. 

We know that the work for our charity customers in areas of acute need goes on for years after the initial shock that brought on the headlines. For instance, we have been facilitating travel to Haiti for one charity customer for many years now following the 2010 earthquake there.

Having the right contacts on the ground is essential when trying to work in areas that have been hit by a disaster. I remember after the Nepal earthquake in 2015, we were sending hundreds of people in while trying to arrange with the authorities on the ground how to make it work. The runway at Kathmandu airport had been damaged badly, so it was hard to get places on the few flights that could get in.

When ebola first hit West Africa in 2014, the problems of facilitating a charity response were initially that countries began closing borders quickly in an attempt to contain it. We worked with airlines to ensure those who needed to get in urgently were prioritised.

With so many difficulties and logistical issues to work around, our charity clients need their expert staff to be focused on the job at hand when they get to the frontline. The rest they can leave to us, and over the years we are proud to have done this with such amazing charities as Save The Children, VSO, Marie Stopes International, The Halo Trust and The Salvation Army.

If your business could benefit from our decades of specialist expertise in facilitating travel for the charity sector, then please visit:


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