The #StandWithUkraine humanitarian program has been scaled up to meet the challenges better
Written by: Halyna Kolesnyk, the Communications Manager of the Legal Development Network
43 days of russia’s full-scale war against Ukraine. We rallied and became stronger than ever. We have learned to fight our fears for our country as well, for Ukrainians who are now suffering from aggression. The Legal Development Network (LDN) is also part of this historic moment. The #StandWithUkraine humanitarian program, launched by the LDN in late February, has expanded to attract more partners. Thanks to this, we can meet the needs of community members in different regions of Ukraine as fully as possible.
It became possible by the 16 participating organizations.
In cooperation with the Ukrainian educational platform, the humanitarian cargo for five communities of the Mykolaiv oblast is sent: food, medicines, and hygiene items will be received by vulnerable people.
Another cargo with the most necessary items is waiting for the opening of a humanitarian corridor to go to the residents of Konotop, Sumy oblast. Residents of Chernihiv and Kharkiv oblasts will receive the same assistance this week.
In Kamianka-Buzka, Lviv oblast, more than 85 families of internally displaced persons (more than 350 people) received a roof over their heads thanks to the implementation of the Housing Bank initiative.
The same initiative began in Kolomyia, Ivano-Frankivsk oblast. Since the beginning of April, the lawyer of the CSO “Triangle” has worked in the local center for administrative services, advising IDPs on legal issues and obtaining housing.
«There are not many appeals yet, because people are not used to having our representative office there. We receive a significant number of requests by phone. We are currently working on filling the “housing bank.” We are looking for those who need and those who are ready to provide housing and enter data into the database» – Solomiya Zinets-Matsyshyn, coordinator of the #StandWithUkraine program in Ivano-Frankivsk oblast.
CSO “Right” from Khmilnyk, Vinnytsia oblast advocated the provision of about 2 tons of food for cats and dogs. They have already been received and distributed. «It’s not just about helping animals. This is an aid to those people who today keep 20 or even 70 pets. Many of them were left by internally displaced people moving to other regions of Ukraine, as Khmilnyk is a transit place for many of them. We understand the situation in which the city maybe if all these animals are on the street – Olena Chernii, the expert of the organization.
Today, many organizations assisting in the eastern part of Ukraine face many challenges. «The Public Legal Aid Service office was evacuated from Novoaidar to Rubizhne. The city is turning into ruins, shelling at residential buildings every day. We distribute food kits to those who have not yet left the city and provide advice on evacuation, humanitarian, psychological and legal assistance daily from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.», – Oleksii Kormiletskyi, coordinator in Luhansk oblast.
The Agency for Democratic Development of Donbas, with the support of Ukrainian and international organizations, has launched a humanitarian center “Help is Near” in Sloviansk. The center also advises residents of Donetsk oblast on the evacuation of residents, informs about humanitarian corridors and evacuation trains, provides humanitarian and psychological assistance.
In other cities – Sievierodonetsk, Kramatorsk, Sumy, Chernihiv, Cherkasy, Lviv, Vinnytsia, Bila Tserkva, Khmelnytskyi, Kamianets-Podilskyi, Vyzhnytsia, Kramatorsk – coordinators collect, redirect and sort humanitarian aid. Some of them support Ukrainians from abroad as well.
More than 2,500 people in Ukraine were provided with legal aid from organizations participating in the #StandWithUkraine program in February-March.
Among the requests the most common are:
- the procedure for leaving the country
- recovery of lost documents
- labor rights (employment, rights of conscripts and volunteers, IDPs, illegal dismissals, redundancies, etc.)
- receiving payments and benefits for IDPs
- registration actions
At the same time, realizing that 4 million Ukrainians who have gone abroad in search of security also need legal support, the LDN initiated the creation of opportunities for such counseling. LinGo and Paladin will help us with this.
In addition, the direction of coordination and support of activists who will document war crimes is starting to work.
Another challenge to which strategies need to be found is to help the temporarily occupied territories. Due to isolation, lack of access to the Internet and mobile connection, and inability to evacuate and create humanitarian corridors, we are witnessing human rights violations. The occupiers are preventing the delivery of humanitarian goods. Activists are intimidated and interrogated. In Luhansk oblast, entrepreneurs are forced to re-register their businesses according to the rules of the occupying power.
We are grateful to International Renaissance Foundation, Charles Stuart Mott Foundation, DLA Piper Foundation and Legal Empowerment Fund (program Fund for Global Human Rights) for supporting this activity. We are convinced that by working together we will be able to strengthen each other and help as many people as possible who need it.
Glory to Ukraine! Slava Ukraini!
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