Local organisations like Care in Action are leading Ukraine's aid effort, and essential to helping the 7 million displaced people within Ukraine. When I spent time with displaced people at our hostels, Creative Hub and IT Training I found many reasons to hope. But I also understood the scale of the disruption caused by war. Every one of the 198 people cared for in our shelters, every mother we help to find a job, every child we help to enroll in a new school in the relative safety of Lviv is significant. (By Director Jasmine Lehnis)
We have increased our team to 22 people, including a Social Work expert, to provide services for children and to support the process of helping people move on from emergency shelter and into work and school. There are 150,000 displaced people in Lviv. Integration is complex, with the volumes of people looking for work, mothers with children to care for, and the language differences. Another contrast is that Lviv is known for its IT and tourism industries while the East is known for manufacturing.
The war is felt in everyday life. As we met for a budget meeting in a safe hallway during an air-raid siren, missiles hit the city centre of Vinnytsia and killed 23 civilians far from the front line. As the missile strikes on civilians continue, more people are likely to seek safer places to live in the Lviv Region.
Local organisations like us are responding quickly to the humanitarian crisis: for government to build housing will take time, and many partners are needed because 7 million people are displaced within Ukraine.
What is it like to visit our hostels?
As I arrived at one of our hostels someone came to tell Hennadiy, our staff member, that he had found a job, which got a high-five response! Stepping into a room full of bunkbeds, I felt people’s need for privacy as they had hung blankets to create partitions. In the living room, shared by the 40 residents, some parents were anxious when discussing plans, while young people were excited about the youth camp they had been to with Care in Action.
The kitchen was bustling. I met a lovely mother with three boys, and she was also checking in with an 18 year old boy whose family left Ukraine. She said at the hostel they are all “a big family”. I’m amazed at how well they cope with sharing a small space. I discovered that the 18 year old, Danylo, was studying Computer Science, and was delighted when he later joined our IT Training to learn from people working in the IT industry.
Integration and hope for the future
I wish we had more Care Centres, as our specialised shelter for 30 displaced people is such a joy. It is bright, spacious and spotless. Neighbours come and bring vegetables from their garden or cake, making friends with the displaced families living there. By contrast, some refugees are still living in schools, or at the Arena Lviv, built for the 2012 Euro Cup and housing up to 500 people at a time.
Thank you to every donor who helps us respond quickly to the needs in Ukraine. If you’re interested in our IT Training and services for children, click here.
Your gift can change lives for the better. Donations enable us to fund the services and programs that strengthen, empower and prepare children in care to enter the working world and lead a productive, independent life.