IDPs of the Khmilnyk community (Vinnytsia oblast) have united in an initiative group: they integrate themselves and help others integrate
Publication date: July 7, 2023
Displaced persons who were forced by the war to move to the city of Khmilnyk in the Vinnytsia oblast, united in an initiative group to solve both personal and social problems together. The activists are mentored by the NGO “Pravo” team, which has been working with internally displaced persons since the beginning of the full-scale invasion and helping them to integrate into the community.
Since February 2024, Pravo has implemented many noteworthy initiatives aimed specifically at the assistance and integration of IDPs. We have written about these projects and the humanitarian hub “Murashnyk” (Anthill) created by the organization more than once in our publications*. At the same time, one of the valuable results of such support is that the resettled people, having united in an initiative group, themselves began to implement their ideas aimed at the integration of IDPs.
– In our opinion, this is a good example of integration, when people who are IDPs themselves begin to help others to integrate. The initiative group now has about 10 people. The core of the group is activists from the Kharkiv and Kherson oblasts. Recently, they have been joined by participants from other oblasts, in particular from Donetsk and Zaporizhzhia oblasts. The group is dominated by women, sometimes their teenage children, and their friends join them, says Vitalii Dorokh, the head of the NGO “Pravo”.
The leader of the initiative group is Yuliia Muzychuk, who moved from Kharkiv at the very beginning of the full-scale war. She admits that she was led to “Anthill” by the desire to do something useful.
Working together on a volunteer basis in the bank of things, talking over a cup of tea during a break, and participating in the events held by the Pravo, gave me the opportunity to get to know both other IDPs and locals better. But the real unifying factor was Liudmyla Topalova from Mykolaiv, whom I invited to Murashnyk just off the street. On her initiative, a crochet club was founded, Sunday bike rides were introduced, the “Anthill” logo was developed, and a photo exhibition “Thank you, Khmilnyk!” was organized. Over time, Liudmyla returned home, and we continue to be inspired by her ideas, – Yuliia shares.
Now we can note several initiatives in which members of the initiative group of IDPs play an active role.
First of all, it is the “Bank of things”, where three IDP women and one local woman are volunteering.
- Although more than a year has passed since the full-scale invasion began, and people’s need for clothing and other household items has decreased, local residents continue to bring such stuff to our “Bank of things”. Even the IDPs themselves began to return the clothes that their children had grown out of during their stay in the community. And since there are too many things, even local residents of vulnerable categories can get help in the “Bank of things”, – explains Taras Nosalskyi, an expert of the Khmilnyk NGO “Pravo”.
Secondly, it involves the involvement of volunteers in the work of the “Anthill” humanitarian hub. They help with minor repair work, holding meetings of various interest clubs for children and adults, etc.
For example, the “Petelka” (Loop) knitting club, the “Masquerade” theater studio, a guitar-playing group for beginners, and a computer literacy club are currently operating in Anthill. Every Sunday, the “Pravo” team organizes bike trips and, if necessary, even bicycle riding lessons.
- Thirdly, members of the initiative group are part of a large initiative group, which includes IDPs, the local public, and representatives of local self-government bodies. This large initiative group participates in the project of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), which is implemented in our community and aims to develop and implement the Action Plan for Social Cohesion. The members of the initiative group took part in the facilitation meeting and, together with other participants, developed an indicative plan, which we sent to the IOM, and it passed the first round of selection, – explains Vitalii Dorokh.
The head of the organization also notes that the measures for this plan were proposed by the IDPs themselves, discussed with other members of the initiative group, and now they are preparing to conduct training within the framework of this project.
- The project itself aims to unite IDPs and local residents during activities to restore social infrastructure facilities. Also, during organizational meetings, resettled people will have the opportunity to expand their circle of communication, – adds Taras Nosalskyi.
Moreover, the initiative group tries its own strength in writing and implementing projects. There are already the first achievements. For example, the activists prepared the project “Khmilnyk on pedals”, which was supported and is currently being implemented with the financial support of UNHCR Ukraine as part of the grant program for support of resettled initiatives implemented by the Crimea_SOS.
- Thanks to participation in this project, the initiative group received 5 bicycles. We develop tourist cycling routes of varying complexity and conduct cycling trips to interesting places in the Khmilnyk community. During the implementation of the project, a group of beginners was also formed, who are now learning to ride a bicycle, – says Taras Nosalskyi.
It is important to add that the project was written by the leader of the initiative group Yuliia Muzychuk, and the main mentor during its writing was the head of Pravo Vitalii Dorokh. Other members of the organization within their competencies also help the initiative group. For example, Taras Nosalskyi advises on the use of Google services and is a mentor for beginner cyclists.
- The idea of Sunday bike rides inspired us and became the basis for the implementation of the “Khmilnyk on pedals” project. Thanks to the various trainings conducted by the Pravo and with the support of Vitalii Dorokh, Taras Nosalskyi, and Olena Chernii, who is also an expert of the Pravo, I dared to write and submit an application for receiving bicycles. And if there were only eight people in the spring, now more than 20 people, most of them IDPs, gather for bike rides every Sunday. And in the middle of the week, another five people, including me, learn how to ride a bicycle and traffic safety rules, says Yuliia Muzychuk.
- In the next few months, the initiative group plans to implement the project “Khmilnyk on pedals” and within the framework of the large initiative group to develop and implement the Action Plan for Social Cohesion. Also, the initiative group has prepared other projects that are currently being considered by donor organizations, – summarizes Vitalii Dorokh.
The material was created with the support of the international charity platform GlobalGiving and the Legal Empowerment Fund (Fund for Global Human Rights program) and the Legal Development Network. The content of the publication is solely the responsibility of the Legal Development Network and does not necessarily reflect the views of the previously mentioned organizations.
P. S. More relevant information on legal and humanitarian issues – is in the special section #StandWithUkraine. It accumulates materials that may be useful to those who suffer, whose rights are violated as a result of the war between russia and Ukraine.
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