Frances M Wells Award - Marina Bayeva

The distance from Stockbridge, Massachusetts, to Dnipro, Ukraine, is 4,800 miles, but that distance has been bridged by Marina Bayeva. After growing up in Dnipro, Marina attended college in the United States. After receiving her MD and PhD, she now resides in the Berkshires where she is the Director of Psychopharmacology at the Austen Riggs Center in Stockbridge. But her parents and grandmother remain in Dnipro. When Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022, her mother, an animal shelter volunteer, told Marina that the shelters were in desperate need of help. Marina reached out to NGOs for help and started working with various shelters in Dnipro to compile a list of their needs. When help was needed on the Polish-Ukrainian border, she was able to locate students through her professional network who helped at the crossings with translation services.

Marina set up a nonprofit, Help Animals Survive the War in Ukraine, which raised nearly $55,000, for several shelters in the Dnipro region, and has assisted shelters in procuring grant funding. According to the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) “Initially, Marina’s aim was to meet immediate needs for food and medication but has now expanded to raising funds for the neutering of dogs and cats, and to support many shelters who are having to build additional enclosures to take in animals that have been rescued from conflict zones or abandoned. As Dnipro is a hub for refugees passing through the country, many animals have sadly been left behind as people have fled to the area with their pets in tow, before realizing it wouldn’t be possible to take them further.”  Last October Marina was recognized with a special award from the IFAW at the House of Lords, in London, honoring her work to help rescue centers in war-torn Ukraine.