As desirable vacation destinations go, war-torn Ukraine must surely rate low. But in the first month of Russia’s invasion, Airbnb bookings in Ukraine boomed, as people around the world used the accommodation platform to channel more than US$15 million in donations to the country.
As with other forms of direct donation, using Airbnb to channel aid to Ukraine has been problematic. The company was relatively quick to waive the 20% commission it usually charges on transactions. But stopping scammers from setting up fake accounts to collect money from well-meaning donors has proven more difficult.
It’s a story that illustrates both the potential and limitations of the so-called sharing economy.
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- Come Back Alive is one of the largest charitable foundations that supports Ukrainian soldiers, founded by the IT specialist Vitaliy Deynega. The organization collected more than 210 million UAH (more than $7M) in 2014. According to Na chasi, the Patreon page Come Back Alive is in the top ten projects by the number of financial donations.
- Army SOS, which develops drones;
- Everybody Can, an organization that supports internally displaced people;
- Help on the Ministry of Defense website.