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Heartbreaking stories of our project "Shelter Ukraine"

🇺🇦Heartbreaking stories of our project "Shelter Ukraine"

Since February 24, many people have passed through the city of Zhytomyr. Some stayed, but most drove on. From the first days of the war, many public organizations have changed the main focus of their activities.

💙💛 Therefore, the NGO Zhytomyr: Zroby Holosnishe (Zhytomyr: Make It Louder) very quickly decided to help those people who were looking for shelter. Those who sought help in an unfamiliar place often after a gruelling road, a road without a clear plan for the next few days. We had the opportunity to talk to Ms Liudmyla, head of the NGO Zhytomyr: Zroby Holosnishe (Zhytomyr: Make It Louder), a member of the local government, an entrepreneur in a peaceful life.

She told us that in a peaceful life, their public organization implemented cultural and inclusive projects. For the past five years, the organization has collaborated with the Ukrainian Cultural Foundation. A separate direction of the organization's work is to hold creative master classes for children with disabilities, for which they have specially created a space for creative work.

Liudmyla also shared that she is most proud of their festival "When the territory acquires identity". There used to be 8 ceramic factories in Zhytomyr but recently only one has been operating. The team wanted to restore the value of ceramics in the region because it is an important part of the region's identity and the inhabitants of the Zhytomyr region. It was planned that the festival would be all-Ukrainian, but in addition to representatives of Kharkiv, Dnipro, Poltava and other cities, the Netherlands, Poland and Lithuania were represented at the festival as well. There was also a related project "October in October", in which the team wanted to preserve the mosaic of the cinema "October" in Zhytomyr and other mosaic art in the city.

Ms Liudmyla believes that the "cultural front" is more important now than ever, it makes us self-aware. Culture is a soft force that changes people inside and out. After Bucha, Hostomel, and Kramatorsk, we must all become ambassadors of those Ukrainians who died.

🔹 "Currently, the organization mainly takes care of people who are temporarily staying in Zhytomyr. We also focus on those who register as IDPs in the city. Firstly, we accommodate them, solve their basic issues, and then look for work.

We see that many people want to work. It is said that getting help is good, but it is important to do something on your own. And now we are trying to find a systemic solution with the businesses of the Zhytomyr region in order to employ those who remain with us on a permanent basis. For example, one of our entrepreneurs employed 40 people in the garment industry.

You know, we have a coffee shop that hasn’t been closed, not even for one day. We realized that this is a certain element of psychotherapy, a person drinks a cup of coffee and it connects them with a peaceful life, it helps to calm down.

As part of the Shelter Ukraine project and in partnership with VPLYV, NGO Zhytomyr: Zroby Holosnishe (Zhytomyr: Make It Louder) purchased bedding for the shelter (bedding, mattresses, bedspreads, pillows, cots), food and basic clothing (tracksuits, shoes, T-shirts, socks and underwear) for people who could not take their things from home.

🔹 Zoya from Hostomel in the Kyiv region received help from the NGO Zhytomyr: Zroby Holosnishe (Zhytomyr: Make It Louder).

"I left town on the 3rd day of the war. I lived all my life in Hostomel, I worked there for more than 30 years. The airport is located next to our house, so the bombing began first thing in the morning on February 24. Russian landing party immediately landed and started havoc - they destroyed parts of the houses, smashed doors, and windows, looted, threatened and fired. On the first day, I hid with my family in our own basement. On the second day, we moved to a more reliable basement of the Bucha penal colony, namely to an isolation ward. In our yard, there were 15 burnt cars of those residents who tried to escape from danger. On the third day, when the shelling subsided, my daughter-in-law put me and her daughter, my granddaughter, in a car and we managed to leave this hell. We arrived in Zhytomyr and from there we moved to the village Hai of the Novohuyvin Territorial Community. Here we live in a country house together with my granddaughter-first-grader. Other relatives have moved to the Vinnytsia region but we keep in touch with them by phone. Every day we heat the stove, cook food, make homework. Especially happy moments are those when we manage to communicate with my sons and daughter-in-law, who serve in the Armed Forces. We are currently working on installing high-speed Internet for distance learning. We read books and draw. My granddaughter befriended a neighbour's boy, we spend a lot of time outdoors. Immigrants from Ivankivtsi, Kyiv region, also live nearby. They moved on March 5. They say that Kadyrovites had arrived there and allowed them to leave the shelling only if they told on camera that they had been waiting for the liberators who finally arrived. They set up their headquarters in the local church.

On such bad days, you begin to appreciate the minutes spent in the family circle, and communication with your nearest and dearest. My biggest dream is to return home, meet my family, hug them and talk a lot” (cries).

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