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In Ivano-Frankivsk oblast, activists are helping displaced persons to find housing, resume business, and even more

Written by: Halyna Kolesnyk, the Communications Manager of the Legal Development Network

The “Beehive of Meanings” initiative has been implemented for almost three months with the support of the Legal Development Network in Kolomyia, Ivano-Frankivsk oblast. The allegory of beekeeping is also revealed here in the development of a coherent system of responses to the challenges that both the community and the country live with today. Assistance to IDPs in finding housing and settlement, resumption of business and social entrepreneurship, social cohesion, and work with children – this is not a complete list of those areas that are already being implemented and the “Beehive” team intends to implement.

So what have they already done?

The “Beehive of Meanings” team helped find shelter for about 300 IDP families. Activists try to meet the needs of each family as fully as possible: provide legal and psychological assistance, find furniture and appliances for a living, and find ways to apply the knowledge and skills of internally displaced persons.

Photo: For the first shelter, which opened in Kolomyia, Ivano-Frankivsk oblast, “Beehive of Meanings” with the support of partners provided 19 beds with orthopedic mattresses, food, and heaters, ect. 50 IDPs live here. Photo by Nazarii Yazhynskyi

In cooperation with local authorities and partner organizations, they helped to provide shelter for 50 people. Many of them have lost their homes and jobs and need urgent support.

Photo: Since the beginning of May, 7 creative classes have been organized for children from IDP families aged 4 to 10.  Photo by Nazarii Yazhynskyi

As part of the initiative, teachers are actively involved in developing the creative potential of children in the community. They have already been visited by 50 children aged 4 to 10. The weekly artistic classes are a kind of psychological help for children who are learning to live in a peaceful and safe environment, and for parents who also have the opportunity to take care of themselves – to improve their lives, gain new professional skills, restore health, etc.

An event that will definitely boost community development, new partnerships, and cohesion is the «Business Meanings» workshop, which took place in mid-May.

Photo: Solomia Zinets-Matsyshyn (on the left), project manager of the “Beehive of Meanings”, NGO “Triangle” together with a displaced woman

‘IDP entrepreneurs are often very successful people who are well versed in the laws of the market and have enough motivation to create something. However, they usually lack acquaintances in general and local entrepreneurs in particular. Together they can create a very powerful synergy. Today in Kolomyia there are many representatives of interesting and famous businesses. We decided to involve them as coaches. At the same time, the workshop gave an opportunity to get to know a wider range of resettled enterprises, creating a kind of community ’, says Solomia Zinets-Matsyshyn, project manager of the «Beehive of Meanings», NGO «Triangle».

Photo: «Business Meanings» workshop for resettled entrepreneurs. Photo by Nazarii Yazhynskyi

One of the trainers was Kateryna Nebesna, who heads the customer experience department of the Fozzy group of companies, and the founders of Flowin Anna Yankovets and Hryhorii Berdnikov. They shared expert advice on how to identify current problems and ways to solve them, how to increase business efficiency, set up production and product and service development processes.

As the financial resources of the majority of internally displaced persons are almost exhausted, the issue of providing paid work for IDPs becomes even more relevant.

Photo: Kateryna Nebesna, Head of Customer Experience, Fozzy Group, and Vitalii Okhrimenko, program director of the Legal Development Network. Photo by Nazarii Yazhynskyi

We are now helping to conduct a small survey of employers’ needs. It will help them find out what they expect from their future employees, who they are looking for, what barriers and problems there are. We have already interviewed them and are summarizing the information. This will help in the implementation of another “meaning”: to help businesses rebuild a strong team, and internally displaced persons – to realize themselves and gain resources. We are ready to spread the experience of the “Beehive of Meanings” gained in Kolomyia to other communities. Let the initiatives have a different name, but they will contain components of an integrated approach to helping people.’ says the program director of the Legal Development Network Vitalii Okhrimenko.

Applying a comprehensive approach to helping internally displaced persons, the «Beehive of Meanings» team focused on both existing needs and feelings. The fact that they are “correct” is evidenced by the results of one of the latest studies of the Ilko Kucheriv Democratic Initiatives Foundation, which focuses mainly on the problems and requests of internally displaced persons. 

Researchers note: ‘At the same time, the most difficult stage of addressing the needs of migrants is probably ahead. Those migrants who are currently unable to return to their places of residence (because the fighting continues or they have lost their home as a result of the fighting) are running out of financial resources and the opportunity to live outside their place of residence and without paid work.’ The solution of these and other problems mentioned in the recommendations is already implemented by the team in Ivano-Frankivsk oblast and has practical results that prove that its «Beehive of Meanings» should be in the majority of relatively safe communities in Ukraine.  

The initiative is implemented with the support of the Global Giving Fund and within the Program of the Legal Development Network #StandWithUkraine.

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