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«Murashnyk» of good deeds: new initiatives to help displaced people

Publication date: October 28, 2022

The “Murashnyk” (Anthill) humanitarian hub, founded at the beginning of the full-scale invasion by lawyers and activists of the Khmilnyk public organization “Pravo”, is expanding and implementing new projects. A few more have been added to the five initiatives to help displaced people. Thanks to these initiatives, people receive not only legal assistance but also comprehensive support in adapting to a new life in the conditions of war.   

Each of the initiatives of the “Murashnyk” humanitarian hub is worthy of attention as a result of the great work of its founders and partners, a very creative approach to the matter, and a sincere desire to help compatriots who are forced to seek asylum from the war in Khmilnyk. We have already written about several of them before.

Since then, the activists managed not only to support and continue the started activities but also to implement new ones. Among them, in particular, is the Regional School of Participation. Training on the topic “Integration and socialization of IDPs” took place on the basis of the hub with the support of the Ukrainian-German program of support for local initiatives “Kyiv Dialog”.

  • “5 teams from the Vinnytsia oblast, which included representatives of the public and local authorities, during two three-day training learned to identify problems in the IDPs environment, develop projects, familiarized themselves with the best practices of the integration of displaced persons into the life of host communities, as well as with the basic principles and rules of fundraising”, says Vitaliі Dorokh, head of NGO “Pravo”.
Photo: Vitaliі Dorokh, head of NGO “Pravo”. Photo: NGO “Pravo”.
Training at the Regional School of Participation. Photo: NGO “Pravo”.
Training at the Regional School of Participation. Photo: NGO “Pravo”.
Training at the Regional School of Participation. Photo: NGO “Pravo”.

Currently, the “Housing Bank”, “Bank of things”, and the English Club continue to function in “Murashnyk”. They also provide legal and psychological assistance and conduct activities for children and youth. The Hub establishes partnership relations with the mobile team of the international humanitarian aid organization “InterSOS”, with the representative office of the UNICEF fund. These organizations are already conducting and plan to conduct more events for displaced persons at the “Murashnyk” base.

Legal assistance at “Murashnyk” is provided free of charge. In the photo on the left: expert of the NGO “Pravo” Olena Chernii. Photo: NGO “Pravo”.
Meeting with the InterSOS mobile team. Photo: NGO “Pravo”.

The hub also hosts meetings of the Public Dialogue Club, which is worth telling more about.

The Public Dialogue Club: accumulated experience helps to overcome new challenges

  • “Back in 2014, as part of the project “Public capital for Ukrainian local self-government”, which was implemented by the NGO “Pylyp Orlyk Institute of Democracy” together with the Szczecin Regional Center of the Foundation for the Development of Local Democracy (FRDL) within the framework of the Polish cooperation program for the development of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland, our organization created a Public Dialogue Club in Khmilnyk”, clarifies Vitaliі Dorokh.

At that time, the main motive for the creation of the Club was the need to involve the potential of the community in the process of reforming local self-government. The authors of the idea were convinced that the process of reforming and uniting communities may contain many pitfalls and challenges for territorial communities. Therefore, it was important to involve members of the territorial community in the reform process in order to minimize possible risks. Then the team held many meetings of the Club. This gave positive results: it was possible to develop a common vision for the future composition of the Khmilnyk community, involve active members of the community in these processes, and also resolve many pressing issues regarding the future association.

  • “Now we have decided to revive the format of the Public Dialogue Club, within the framework of which we will discuss and look for ways to solve the problems and needs of internally displaced persons who are in our community. The Club format is about periodic monitoring, detection, discussion (using interactive methods), and developing solutions to solve the problems existing among the IDPs and problems in the community as a whole. In total, we plan to hold 16 meetings of the Club over the course of 8 months”, – the lawyer adds.
Meeting of the Public Dialogue Club. Фото: Photo: NGO “Pravo”.

The main purpose of such meetings is to establish communication, discuss problematic issues, and form friendly relations between IDPs and members of the community who permanently live there.

“Murashnyk” is a big house for everyone

What is important about the activity of “Murashnyk” is that it holds events for different target groups, for people of different ages, from children to the elderly. In particular, many activities for children and youth take place within the framework of the “VilnoHub” (Free Hub) project, which is implemented by the “Dream and Act” program, as well as within the Scholarship program for civil society leaders of the Eastern Partnership countries, the scholarship holder of which is a member of the organization Rymma Koval.

Creative challenge “Create yourself a gift”. Photo: NGO “Pravo”.
Self-defense training. Photo: NGO “Pravo”.
“Murashnyk” also organizes many events for children and youth.
Photo: NGO “Pravo”.
Photo: NGO “Pravo”.

To the question, thanks to how many people the “Anthill” works so briskly, and where the energy and resources came from, Vitalii Dorokh answers:

  • In fact, we have sufficient human and expert resources to carry out these activities. Olena Chernii, Taras Koval, and Lada Karaban take care of the legal direction. By the way, Lada is an IDP herself, she recently joined our team. Tetiana Shevchuk takes care of psychological support, and Taras Nosalskyi with Olena Korovianska work with children and youth (she is also an IDP and has joined our team recently). Olha Shevchuk and Victoria Bevz are operators of the “Housing Bank” call center. We have one local resident – Lidia Hrychaniuk, as well as three internally displaced persons – Yuliya Muzychuk, Nataliia Samborska, and Larysa Yudina working at the “Bank of things”. As for resources, we are trying to involve donor organizations, as well as local ones, in particular, this concerns the operation of the “Bank of things”.
Replenishment in the “Bank of things”. Photo: NGO “Pravo”.

As a result of the work of such an energetic and coordinated team, more and more people will learn about “Murashnyk”. In particular, more and more displaced people are using the “Bank of things”. And thanks to partners, “Murashnyk” plans to significantly expand the circle of those who will receive other services in the humanitarian hub.

  • “Yes, there are many plans and, as always, everything comes down to resources. Unfortunately, we do not have enough of them to expand our activities. The plans include renovating the storage room for the “Bank of things “, and creating a work area for those who need to work with computers. We have a problem with the furniture. For events that are attended by a significant number of people, there is a lack of elementary things – chairs and tables”, the head of the organization shares.

And he adds that “Pravo” is also active outside of “Murashnyk”.

  • “We have many IDPs in the city who live compactly, for example, in kindergartens. They have their own problems, and we cannot always satisfy them. This is also the need for hygiene products, food products, and animal feed. It is urgent the question of providing such places with generators, because we understand that in winter there may be problems with electricity, and people who live in kindergartens may face serious challenges,” assume Vitalii Dorokh.

All this, of course, requires significant, in particular, financial resources, which the organization is constantly trying to find.

*Meetings of the Public Dialogue Club will take place within the framework of the project “Khmilnyk community is friendly for all”, which is implemented by the NGO “Pravo” in partnership with the Khmilnyk City Council, the Legal Development Network and the humanitarian hub “Murashnyk”, with the financial support of the International Renaissance Foundation.

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