SILab blog

Shelter Ukraine: helping civilians in Donetsk region

💡 Shelter Ukraine: help for temporarily displaced persons in Zvanivka

The town of Zvanivka is a pearl of the Donetsk region. Here, the Ukrainian language has always been spoken and will be spoken. Nowadays, not only the descendants of Lemkos and Boyks live here, but also temporarily displaced persons who have fled from places of active hostilities in the Donetsk region.

Yuliia Tymchak is head of the NGO «Magic Runes». The organization started its activities after the Revolution of Dignity, but even before that Yuliia had been actively involved in the development of other social initiatives 🎯

🔹 The purpose of the public organization «Magic Runes» is historical, cultural and non-formal education. To achieve this goal, the Lemkocenter was created, and later the social enterprise LemkoDvizh (LemkosMovement), which helps to realize the organization’s social goal, was established. The name of the social enterprise and the centre "LEMKO" is the abbreviation which stands for:
•‎ Lemkos (лемки)
•‎ Ecology (екологія)
•‎ Youth (молодь)
•‎ Culture (культура)
•‎ Education (освіта)

Subsequently, the organization expanded its activities and began to address gender issues and human rights. The team began to develop and implement various measures to strengthen the security of socially and gender-vulnerable groups in the town of Zvanivka and the surrounding area. This experience has become a good foundation for working with temporarily displaced persons 🇺🇦

➡️ Currently, 200 temporarily displaced persons are officially registered in the town of Zvanivka, most of them from Popasna and Rubizhne [information as of March 25, 2022], as well as almost 200 unregistered ones, who came from large cities to their parents or relatives.

🔹How has the organization transformed its activities during the war?
•‎ Part of the team and those women who previously used services of the social enterprise set up a bakery at the school building, where they produce more than 400 loaves a day
•‎ The organization club has been equipped as a humanitarian centre, where locals and volunteers help the displaced persons. Additionally, volunteers form individual kits with humanitarian aid (food, medicine, hygiene products)
•‎ Members of the «Magic Runes» also provide targeted aid if needed
•‎ The NGO is involved in the construction of bomb shelters. It has bought and partially made its own bulerias (devices that help heat the space, cook simple food and dry laundry or firewood). Also, the team has bought dry closets, sleeping bags and mats)

👉🏼 «Zvanivka has always been and is Ukrainian, we are not preparing for the worst. We will have neither siege nor occupiers. We live with this message in our minds and believe in it with all our hearts. We are just putting our bomb shelters in order, we are just arranging the space» - laughs Yuliia Tymchak, the head of the «Magic Runes» NGO.

As part of the «Shelter Ukraine» project, SILab Ukraine has supported the «Magic Runes» NGO, which helps people affected by the war. Together we have purchased the most necessary medicines, hygiene products and food. The procurement of necessary goods for internally displaced persons is a rather complex process in Ukraine, and especially in this region, as there are almost no products left in the town and its surroundings. The team communicates with all possible online stores and uses delivery services. However, the usual logistics routes are destroyed, so delivery takes more than a week, instead of 1-2 days. This fact is especially critical in connection with baby food and diapers for people of all ages in and around Zvanivka 📍

👉🏼 «If we didn't work, we would probably sit and cry all the time. But who needs those tears? It is difficult when you understand what happened to Kharkiv, and especially to Mariupol. We have many acquaintances from there. We are happy that some of them got out of this horror» - Yuliia Tymchak

🟢 In the future, Julia and her team plan to create a center for the long-term stay of people who have lost their homes. On the basis of the center, they plan to arrange sleeping places for single people, as well as young families with children. The team also plans to create conditions for acquiring basic skills in sewing, woodworking and cooking. Therefore, after the victory of Ukraine, these people could provide services, create certain goods and receive wages. Currently, the main problem for the creation of this center is utility systems, namely the lack of any kind of water.

👉🏼 During the conversation, Yuliia shared with us a poignant and very inspiring story: «A family came to us, six people. Alla with her husband and her four sons, can you imagine this? Boys from 1 to 10 years. They came from Sievierodonetsk and settled in Zvanivka with relatives. It is striking since they had many options for where to go, including abroad. But they still decided to stay not far from their city, 50 kilometres away, here in Zvanivka. They are confident that they will return home. They say they have no other options. Although of course, they have. But the family declines to consider them. I’ve asked them what they need for children, for adults. And Alla tells me that she needs shoes for the children, because they fled in winter ones, and their shoes have been worn out. And then she continues: «But it’s fine. We will soon go to our school where we have a second pair of shoes there, so there will be spring shoes." It is amazing when people leave everything in such conditions, but still wholeheartedly believe in their return home. These are the stories of true patriots. They will return home and rebuild everything. For the sake of such people, we are ready to pore over projects at night and organize packages with humanitarian aid during the day» - Yuliia Tymchak, head of the NGO «Magic Runes» 💙

DONATE NOW through Shelter Ukraine! To provide shelter for civilians in Ukraine!
https://shelterukraine.org/