Medical and welfare assistance
Humanitarian aid offers funding for medical and welfare offices in the Kharkiv, Zaporizhzhya and Donetsk Oblasts that are run by Caritas Poland. The staff carry out their daily work in the offices and once a week visit people who are unable to go to a doctor. The offices offer free-of-charge medical services, treatments, including ultrasonography checks, cardiogram, pressure and blood sugar tests, pharmaceutical drugs and hygienic items. Every month, a few thousand displaced persons and the poorest members of the local communities are treated in the offices. The elderly, disabled or chronically ill people, large families and single mothers have priority in treatment. Patients value the high quality of services, and competent and friendly staff who give them all the attention they need.
It is of equal importance to offer social and psychological assistance and to help internally displaced persons integrate with the local community. In collaboration with Caritas Poland, family support centres were set up in seven Ukrainian cities. They receive persons who were forced by war to leave their homes, lost their jobs and struggle with the trauma of losing their loved ones. The centres offer complex assistance in dealing with difficult life situations. Each family is assigned an assistant who helps them contact relevant welfare services and refers them to psychological therapy or workshops if they need this kind of support. The centres offer activities to integrate displaced persons with the local community. Hobby clubs and open-air events are organized on a regular basis to help break with stereotypes and integrate the Ukrainian society.
The ARTE psychological support and integration centre for displaced persons is a special place on the map of Kharkiv. Thanks to MFA funding, the HumanDoc Foundation created an open and friendly space where people can receive professional assistance. Psychologists offer free-of-charge counselling and consultations, run group and individual therapy sessions based on art therapy techniques which were not widely used in Ukraine. In its everyday activities, the centre uses art, film, photography and music as therapy tools. The psychologists and volunteers who work at the centre visit temporary camps for displaced persons, orphanages, and hospital pediatrics wards. The centre also helps children with intellectual disabilities and children who have problems with fitting in at school.
Training sessions and internships for Ukrainian psychologists and psychiatrists from eastern Ukraine run by the Military Medical Institute make psychological aid more accessible. Training covers diagnosis and basic issues in disorder therapy which are connected with war trauma. Ukrainian doctors use this knowledge in their everyday work, bringing help to displaced persons who suffer from various psychological problems. Trauma can hide behind different masks.
Polish aid funds measures to help people who were victims of hostilities to find a source of income and to exist on their own. A project run together with the United Nations Development Programme supports displaced persons and members of local communities from the Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts who want to launch or relaunch a business. The flagship element of this project is a grant competition which provides support for more than 130 micro and small enterprises and creates 450 new jobs. Apart from financial support, the beneficiaries also receive legal and accounting advice and assistance in marketing activities. Measures are also taken to promote entrepreneurial spirit among conflict-stricken communities. A media campaign Big Stories about Small Businesses was launched to create spots which inspire displaced persons and their host communities to run their own business activities.
The ADRA Foundation operating in the Dnipropetrovsk Oblast uses MFA funds to carry out a project that aims to train displaced persons to enable them to gain new vocational skills for which there is a demand on the local labour market. They take part in vocational training that lets them apply for local job openings. They can also cooperate with an HR expert who counsels them in job search techniques. Many of the people that take part in the project struggle with emotional burnout as a result of stress, low self-assessment and the lack of faith in their own potential. To help them overcome these problems, the project offers psychological counseling.
In 2017, Poland sponsored 12 development and humanitarian aid projects for internally displaced persons and for the poorest host communities with funding amounting to PLN 9,364,338.
Watch the movies – UNDP Big Stories about Small Businesses: