Defend Ukraine Appeal is the largest Australian fundraising effort for non-lethal military aid for Ukraine. It is managed by the Australian Federation of Ukrainian Organisations (AFUO).
Until July 2023, Defend Ukraine Appeal operated under the name “U-Help”. U-Help raised over $780,000 from the start of the full-scale Russian invasion for protective gear and life-saving equipment (such as surveillance equipment, off-road vehicles and thermal imaging devices) for Ukrainian defenders. For a few years prior to this, U-Help also supported first aid and educational needs in Ukraine.
U-Help was re-branded Defend Ukraine Appeal in July 2023 to be more strongly identifiable and effective in raising critical funds for Ukrainian defenders. Defend Ukraine Appeal continues to:
- raise funds for the provision of non-lethal military aid to the brave defenders of Ukraine
- be managed by the AFUO, with the assistance of the AFUO Defence sub-committee
- allocate funds for a variety of non-lethal military aid programs.
The Australian Federation of Ukrainian Organisations (AFUO) is a peak body for 22 national community organisations throughout Australia. It is widely regarded as the representative voice on matters concerning the Ukrainian community in Australia.
Member organisations include churches, state community organisations, youth and women’s organisations, credit co-operative movement, educational, returned service, language and other organisations. The Board comprises executive members who represent key facets of community life in Australia.
The AFUO is a member of the Ukrainian World Congress, the peak body for Ukrainian organisations in the diaspora.
The AFUO recently formed a Defence Sub-committee that assists the AFUO Board to make decisions about how to raise and provide funds for military aid to Ukraine with the aim of saving lives.
Funds are raised through the AFUO’s U-Help fund. Donations to U-Help provide vital non-lethal military aid.
The sub-committee is chaired by AFUO Co-Chair Ms Kateryna Argyrou, and consists of 8 defence & industry experts, supported by a panel of advisers.
Stefan Romaniw OAM: AFUO Co-chair
Stefan’s interests lie in the ongoing development of the AFUO and the Ukrainian community. The challenge is to provide leadership that is able to meet the challenges of the time and the different stakeholders and members in the community.
It’s about making not just the AFUO but the Ukrainian community relevant and effective. Stefan’s life has taken him into a range of Ukrainian organisations, where he has worked in many settings professionally. These have opened doors and have given him a solid grounding.
Kateryna Argyrou: AFUO Co-Chair
Kateryna Argyrou works as a Portfolio Manager in the financial industry, focusing on the Real Estate sector. Prior to her current role, Kateryna was the Head of Australian Real Estate equities research at Credit Suisse.
Kateryna was born in Ukraine, spent her childhood in Canada, and moved to Australia 10 years ago. She graduated with honours from the George Washington University and the London School of Economics. In her volunteering capacity, Kateryna is Co-Chair of the Australian Federation of Ukrainian Organisations (AFUO) and a Co-Founder and NSW Representative of the Australian-Ukrainian Chamber of Commerce (AUCC).
Nadia Mencinsky: Head of Communications
In her professional capacity, Nadia has assisted in managing the cross-industry association – Digital Broadcasting Australia (DBA) – comprising free to air TV broadcasters, consumer electronic suppliers and retailers, which sought to ensure the successful uptake of digital television in Australia. Nadia’s role focused on the consultative process between DBA members about DBA’s information and education programs, the provision of retailer training and the preparation of magazines, brochures and DVDs about digital television.
Nadia has also conducted senior project work at the previous Australian Government broadcast regulator, the Australian Broadcasting Authority, including conducting investigations and policy review of children’s television in Australia, and researching global development and trends regarding new broadcast technologies.
Until relatively recently, Nadia was providing freelance research services to Feneley & Co, a media and presentation skills consultancy, which included preparing briefs about major crises/issues facing clients and their media coverage.
Jarema Polatajko: Finance Director
Jarema was Born in Adelaide. He transferred to Melbourne in 1974 as a Trainee Accountant, whilst employed by a Public listed Company. He graduated in Accounting and Business Studies in 1976. He was employed as an Accountant in a further two Public listed Companies, until he opened his own Accounting and Tax practice in 1983.
Jarema is a member of: Tax Institute Australia – Chartered Tax Adviser; National Tax & Accountants’ Limited – Member; Australian Federation of Ukrainian Organisations – Finance Director since 1 April, 2012; Federal Plast Ukrainian Scouting Organisation – Federal Leader of Senior Scouts in Australia; Karpaty Foundation – Director; Future Ukraine Limited – Director; Ukrainian School Council of Victoria – Treasurer; Ukrainian Elderly Peoples Home – Founding member 1 January, 1993; Association of Ukrainians in Victoria – Member.