The WTA had the opportunity to interview Missy Larsen, VP of Philanthropy and Community Impact at doTERRA Healing Hands, about the organization’s efforts in Ukraine and the progress they have achieved.
How long have doTERRA’s efforts been present in Ukraine?
Because of the global impact of doTERRA’s Wellness Advocates and our essential oils sourcing footprint, we had our efforts present in and around Ukraine well before the current crisis. Some of our inspired Wellness Advocate Leaders who have residence and land in the Czech Republic had an inkling that their property and support would be needed. They began collecting emergency supplies including water, tents, and long-term food. To move forward with regional support at the time, they began an on-site leadership training program that served many Ukrainian citizens. Right when it started to look like there could be a crisis in the region, the Wellness Advocate Leaders teamed with doTERRA to support the people in and leaving Ukraine.
doTERRA Healing Hands has also been working over the past two years with leaders in Ukraine to fight human trafficking and victimization through our Hope Action Plan (doterrahealinghands/hope). Prior to the crisis, we were working with Ukraine Child Protection to enact policy changes to orphanage care. When children were immediately at risk due to the invasion, doTERRA Healing Hands worked with trusted contacts to move high-risk and disabled children out of the country and into safety.
What do doTERRA’s efforts look like in Ukraine and who are you working with?
Immediately, our people on the ground found a way to digitally transfer small amounts of cash to trusted individuals who were moving women and children out of Ukraine. doTERRA quickly launched a fundraising campaign where doTERRA founders matched up to $200,000 in donations to provide support for Ukrainian refugees. Within just over a week, the campaign raised hundreds of thousands of dollars, and to date, over $700,000 of support has gone into the region through the doTERRA Healing Hands Foundation in the US. Donations continue to be collected for this campaign at doterrahealinghands.org, where every penny of every donation goes directly back to support Ukraine. This is made possible because doTERRA covers all administrative and operational expenses.
In addition, doTERRA’s European team went into immediate action and started a product campaign where they matched any physical donations and resources that came in. An additional $125,000 has gone into support projects supporting refugees and those who have chosen to stay in Ukraine. We have also worked closely with doTERRA sourcing teams in Moldova, Bulgaria, and Poland where we have sent Emergency 72-hour kits and additional supplies to help refugees in those regions.
Just recently, doTERRA founders granted permission to one of our military-trained sourcing employees to take corporate leave to use his expertise with the Committee for Open Democracy Ukraine. He is helping to evacuate people and is going into war zones with supplies for those who are staying in those regions. The organization has evacuated 42,000 people and helped 166,000. This particular employee came to the founders after knowing that his unique skill set was needed to save lives. I am always so impressed by doTERRA founders and their ability to see what really matters. He is on a temporary paid leave of absence from the company as he pursues his mission in Ukraine.
doTERRA Healing Hands supports many different organizations including border relief, emergency relief, support for goods and food, and those helping to provide 72-hour emergency kits. We work diligently to ensure that all of our support goes to reputable organizations, but we also realize that the scope of needs in that area is too broad for us to focus on one area of support.
As of May 16th, 2022, there are twenty-five organizations that we support. We are able to use doTERRA’s global network to really connect with our trusted partners and provide so many people to do work on the ground.
What barriers do the people working on the ground face?
One of the saddest stories I heard recently was a request for helmets and protective wear by citizens who chose to stay in Ukraine. The Ukrainian citizen spoke to a friend in the US and asked for three helmets to protect her loved ones on the street. The next day she called back to let the friend know that they would now only need two, as one of the boys that previously needed protection, was killed near their home. It is so important for us to remember the innocent lives that are constantly in danger and critical need.
What do doTERRA’s post-war efforts look like in Ukraine?
Because doTERRA is throughout the region, we are in a unique position to continue to support needs up close and well into the future. Our Wellness Advocates are naturally structured into supportive teams, which makes peer-to-peer support possible and a reality. We are so grateful for the thousands of Wellness Advocates in Europe who are really stepping up to support their business teams, friends, and loved ones. Our European sourcing partners and internal doTERRA Corporate employees are also stepping up to support those in need.
In addition, doTERRA Healing Hands will continue to push forward our Hope Action Plan to fight human trafficking and victimization. Stories we hear from the border are horrific, as women and children are terribly vulnerable to predators. nue supporting those in harm's way, whether they’re in-country or have settled in surrounding countries. This crisis is not something we will deal with and be done. We see ourselves as a long-term solution that will provide support in numerous ways. We aren’t going anywhere!
When the crisis first broke out, we saw it all over the news and it was a topic of discussion. Lately, it does not seem to be as prevalent. Do you think it is important that we continue to talk about this crisis and others?
I come from the world of PR. I ran PR for the Elizabeth Smart case back in 2002. When Elizabeth was first kidnapped from her home in Salt Lake thousands of people showed up to search. Over time, it is natural for human interest to get distracted to the next dilemma, but we knew that Elizabeth could not be found without constant reminders of her absence. Miraculously, and thanks to people keeping her story alive, she was found nine months after her kidnapping and embodies the meaning of the word hope!
We are exposed to so many problems in our world, that it is very important to keep talking about the ones where support is needed. It is everyone’s job to keep the story alive and to keep talking about it. What you’re doing is angelic work, bringing awareness to the crisis in Ukraine.
doTERRA Healing Hands welcomes and needs community support. Check out their Hope Action Plan at https://doterrahealinghands.org/hope and their main page to find out ways to get involved in Ukraine and other global issues https://doterrahealinghands.org/.