SILab blog

Help for shelter in Poltava — Shelter Ukraine



In peaceful times, the charitable foundation «Light of Hope» helped HIV and AIDS-infected and drug-addicted people in Poltava. Subsequently, the organization has expanded its target audience and scope of services. As a result, the team is currently working with people who have been released from prisons, as well as people with tuberculosis or hepatitis C. In addition, the organization is working to combat domestic and gender-based violence. At the end of this year, the organization will turn 23 years old! 😎


🎯 Together with the organization's team, we helped provide help for people looking for a safe place away from the war. The initiative was supported by the Shelter Ukraine project. We spoke with Anatolii Pavlenko, Deputy Executive Director of the charitable foundation «Light of Hope».

🔹 «After February 24, we realized that we needed to reform our activities. That it is necessary to become a kind of backbone or centre for the reception of refugees. Initially, we welcomed people from Sumy and Kharkiv regions and also from the Chernihiv region, where fierce fighting was taking place. Thus, we have reformed our two social centres - the adaptation centre and the shelter. Our youth centre was also reformed to receive people from the Kharkiv region. Therefore, we have 4 working centres that provide assistance to 130 displaced persons.»

💡 The charitable foundation «Light of Hope» provides internally displaced persons with:
• a safe place for a temporary or longer stay
• clothes
• food products
• personal hygiene products

The Foundation actively communicates and cooperates with local initiatives implemented by entrepreneurs, administrations and humanitarian centres.


🔹 «In the first days of martial law, our centres were not quite ready and equipped. After all, no one was preparing for the worst. So people used to come for a day or two and continued looking for a safer place to stay. As of today, these migrations have become less frequent. Of course, some people move, but it’s usually one or two persons/families staying for two days. Therefore, now we have 2 more vacant places in the youth centre and 2 more in another.»

Children in shelters are a special area of responsibility. Children react very differently to the sounds of sirens. They get scared and start crying. «Sirens sound in the city almost every day, and sometimes one can hear them several times a day. Of course, we are responsible for everyone, so we all move to the shelter, even if it's one o'clock at the night. We have a lot of children and pregnant women and it's really difficult for them. But I think you understand it, we can't do otherwise» 💙

💡 Therefore, given the situation in the city of Poltava, there are those who want to move to a safer place, either to the west of Ukraine or to the border with other countries. The charity team also helps them, as they sincerely understand the desire of people to take care of themselves and their families and find a safe temporary shelter for them. 5 such flights have already been made and covered more than 100 people (women, children and people of retirement age).

The departures of people from the centres are always poignant stories. After all, it often happens that the family moves, and the husband and father stay and go to the Armed Forces of Ukraine or the Territorial Defense. It is difficult to explain to children why they are moving, why they are still not at home, and why their father is forced to let them go abroad only with their mother or other close relatives 😔


🔹 «Displaced people regularly demonstrate a desire to help, to be useful. We involve them in the work. There are needs in cars. So those who have cars always help. Our centres are open 24 hours a day. So from time to time, there is a need for night shifts. Therefore we assign this task to our social worker and some refugees. They respond very well and do the job, they want to be useful and that's great. Someone who used to work with children can somehow arrange entertainment for them. In particular, the youth centre has opportunities to play board games and there are also computers. That's why there is a great opportunity to distract and engage with children.»

👉🏼 Also important for the organization is the general mood and condition of the team. It is difficult to work with displaced persons physically, but also emotionally. Therefore, the head of the Light of Hope organization tries to visit all the shelters and communicate with the team every day to maintain their psychological state. «Frankly, we do not have the opportunity to give someone two days off, but we are trying to take shifts. For example, on the weekend, so that someone has the opportunity to distract themselves, relax and think about something else. Of course, it is difficult for everyone, but we try to do our job because it is very important»- Anatolii Pavlenko


We are grateful to the team of the charitable foundation «Light of Hope» because their work is not just important, it is critical. Together, step by step, we are heading for victory. Such stories help to demonstrate the true inexhaustible strength of Ukrainians - the strength in the way we think and act. We will win! 💙💛

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