Polish Humanitarian Action — An NFT Marketplace to Support Ukraine

Peace of Heart is a charitable NFT collection, supporting Ukraine and its citizens in the wake of the humanitarian crisis sparked by the Russian invasion. The NFTs it features are digitized drawings made by Ukrainian children that highlight the experiences and emotions they face in their new, difficult reality. All the funds raised through the online charity event will be donated to the Ukrainian war victims and everyone who supports the fundraising effort will receive a unique NFT.

The initiative was created by a group of organizations, including Polish Humanitarian Action (PAH), an NGO that provides wide-ranging, on-the-ground support to victims of crises worldwide. PAH launched its first mission 30 years ago during the siege of Sarajevo and has since deployed humanitarian aid in response to wars and natural disasters in countries including Afghanistan, Haiti, Somalia, Syria, South Sudan, Yemen, and now Ukraine. Its diverse team of nearly 300 staff members are all motivated by a singular mission: to make a positive difference, however small, so people have access to basic necessities and can live with dignity. 

We spoke to Marek Abłasewicz from PAH to find out more about the organization’s work and the Peace of Heart project. 

Hi, Marek. Could you tell us a little bit about PAH? 

Sure. Our whole reason for existence is to deliver help where it is needed the most. There are obviously changing needs across the world at any given moment. We aim to respond within 72 hours to any major humanitarian crisis. This includes the escalation of the conflict in Ukraine, flooding or drought in South Sudan, the lack of healthcare in Yemen, or anything, anywhere else. Our ultimate mission is to alleviate human suffering and promote humanitarian values. We offer financial support, as well as services and basic necessities, such as food packs, hygiene kits, and many others. 

One of our recent achievements is setting up a permanent mission in Yemen, a country experiencing the worst humanitarian crisis in the world and where two-thirds of its population is experiencing a huge shortage of food. We’re currently operating there to support medical centers by refurbishing them and providing them with much-needed equipment. 

There are also humanitarian disasters, such as the one in South Sudan, which are long-lasting, and perhaps for that reason, they fail to gain that much media attention. We’re working hard there to provide basic sanitation and access to water by constructing wells and elevated, flood-resilient water pumps. 

How many members of staff do you have? 

We currently employ around 300 members of staff, including 60 in the Warsaw office. I think every one of us is motivated by the fact that our work makes a positive difference to someone, however small it may be - that they might have clean water to drink where otherwise they had none, where they get a mosquito net so that they don’t catch malaria, or where children might be able to attend school because they don’t have to make a long journey every day to fetch water. 

Thank you for that background. Would you be able to tell us a bit more about the Peace of Heart Project? Where did the idea for that come from? 

The Peace of Heart Project is an NFT project, which features pictures drawn by Ukrainian children. Every NFT-lover now has an opportunity to support Ukraine using it, as all donations will be allocated to aid civilian victims of the war in Ukraine.

The idea for it actually came from Ashoka, an NGO which works closely with Tech To The Rescue. It got in touch with us blockchain and crypto experts and suggested this unusual fundraising method. 

Do you have any feedback yet on how this product has been received by users? 

It’s still too soon to tell, as the product is in its last phase of development, but all of the internal feedback from people who have tested it has been incredibly positive. We’re so pleased that we get to be early adopters of NFTs in this particular field and we’re excited for what the future will hold. 

Could you tell us a bit about the progress of work with Indahash? 

Sure. Our work together has been short, but dynamic. It’s only been a couple of weeks since the situation in Ukraine really escalated. In that time we managed to meet with the Indahash team and quickly come up with a solution together. I’ve found working with them to be really valuable because they form a bridge between the pioneering and innovative world of tech and the charitable world, which would traditionally sit outside of it. 

We at PAH provide the operational side of the equation, as we’re aware of when the public interest in a crisis is highest and we know that we need to act quickly. We’re also aware of the methods of help that have been most effective in the past. 

What are the future plans for the project? 

Our first intention is to go out to people who are crypto-enthusiasts and who can already see the benefits of this method of fundraising. We’re also going to support it on the media side, to make sure that this project gets very good promotion and traction. 

Was there anything that surprised you about the project? 

Definitely. Mostly I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the efficiency with which everything has happened. We literally met for the first time a couple of weeks ago, and now we already have a landing page for the product and we’re going live. 

If this method of fundraising proves effective in this instance, do you think you would like to adapt it to cover other areas of your work in the future? 

Yes, we’re very intrigued about where this project will take us and how successful it is. There will definitely be future uses for it, particularly in South Sudan and the other areas of Africa where we are currently operating. It certainly has huge potential!

Thank you very much for your time Marek and we hope that the project is a success. 

Show your support to Ukraine by donating to the Peace of Heart fundraiser, and learn more about Polish Humanitarian Action’s important humanitarian work across the globe.

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