ROCHESTER, N.Y (WROC) — The war in Ukraine hits close to home for many of Ukrainian Heritage around Rochester, and we continue to hear stories of how they work to help their homeland. 

One local deaf woman who works with students at the Rochester Institute of Technology has been doing a lot to assist other deaf people in Ukraine.

Regina Kiperman-Kiselgof was born in St. Petersburg, Russia but moved to Ukraine as a child where she did most of her schooling. She explained Ukraine has thousands of deaf people. Who can’t hear when air raid sirens go off or explosions to take cover.  

“It’s stressful for deaf individuals,” Kiperman-Kiselgof said. “Some of them feel like they must stay awake all night long, so they don’t miss something. And if they see a massive exit of people, they just try to follow the crowd to escape.” 

To help her deaf friends and their neighbors who are stuck in the conflict, Regina has constantly been online sending supplies and money through platforms like Deaf Bridge, Off the Grid Missions, or the World Federation of the Deaf. Plus guide them to routes where they can safely evacuate.  

“So, transportation is a huge issue,” Kiperman-Kiselgof said. “We need volunteers to pick up people and help them escape Kyiv. Money for food, getting a taxi or bus. Right now, I am working on finding locations where deaf people can go to be picked up.”  

“Without the help from the rest of the world, we would starve and die,” Regina’s friend Elena Tkalich, who lives in Kyiv said. “It’s impossible to escape without help. We’re so thankful.” 

We sat in on one of the calls Regina made to her friend Elena who can’t leave Kyiv cause her parents are too old and sick. She expressed how horrific life has become since the war began.  

“There have been babies born in basements with no medical care,” Tkalich said. “People are asking for warm clothes because people are freezing. Young mothers need milk for their babies. It would be so helpful for those young mothers.”  

Elena explained every day more innocent Ukrainian people are dying from Russian attacks on residential areas. But explained they are determined to stay and defend their homeland.

To donate and help Regina’s cause click the aforementioned links to assist any organization.