Vitaliya Masliy lived in Slovyansk city in Donetska oblast. This beautiful and graceful, yet strong and brave woman was forced to leave her home with her husband and young son during military operations. Masliy’s family faced considerable hardship as a result of the conflict when the supply of water and heat to their flat was cut off. “This war has brought me disaster, uncertainty in the future, fear of what will come tomorrow, and fear for future of my family,” says Masliy, who is confined to a wheelchair and struggled to find alternative housing that could accommodate her.
Together with many other internally displaced persons (IDPs) with special needs, Vitaliya finally found shelter at the Donbas Interregional Centre for Professional Rehabilitation of People with Special Needs. The Centre, located in Kramatorsk city, was renovated thanks to the support of the joint EU/UNDP Community Based Approach to Local Development (CBA) project in cooperation with the oblast, rayon, and municipal authorities and community organisations. As a result of the project, every floor in the building was outfitted with the necessities of life. A new elevator was installed, a hot water supply system was established, and bathrooms were renovated and equipped. The EU, in conjunction with the UNDP, contributed 660,000 UAH of non-repayable finance assistance to make this happen.
Today Masliy and her family, along with other wheelchair-bound IDPs, officially cut the ribbon to signal the completion of her new temporary home in the Centre. The Kramatorsk Centre’s official opening coincides with the completion of repairs on another building in Slovyansk city. The third floor of the ‘Slovyansk’ sanatorium’s orthopaedic building was also completely renovated and equipped with wall hand rails, special elevators, and ramps to help people with limited mobility get around the building. The total cost of this project was more than 960,000 UAH, and the EU/UNDP CBA project contributed non-repayable financing of 770,000 UAH. In total, around 400 IDPs with physical disabilities will find temporary shelter in these two reconstructed buildings.
“Today I became a strong and confident woman. I have a profession that people need. I thank the EU\UNDP CBA project for its support. I want to have peace in this country, I want to work for the benefit of all its citizens,” Masliy said, commenting on her life in the Donetsk Centre. During her professional training, Masliy got social and psychological support and became more confident in her ability to build a successful career and help support her young family. Recently, Masliy represented the Donetsk region in the 2015 Ukrainian national “Beauty Without Limitations” competition and was the winner in the “Charm” category.
Representing the oblast government, Mykhailo Slyvka, the deputy head of the Donetsk administration, and Tamara Belyankina, oblast council representative, participated in the official opening ceremonies of the reconstructed Kramatorsk Centre.
“We have been cooperating with the joint EU\UNDP CBA project for seven years. The project was among the first to respond to the difficult current situation in the region and has helped disabled people and those who stayed alone. Through these joint efforts, we started working toward solutions to the urgent problems facing our region and providing people with shelter and warm houses,” said Slyvka.
The third phase of the CBA project was launched in Donetsk region in 2014 when the EU/UNDP will implement 32 micro projects in eight rayons across Ukraine. As an example, in the cities of Dymytrov and Dobropillya, a new urban development initiative aims to improve service provision to the local housing sector.
The EU/UNDP CBA project has also supported building repairs for the accommodation of IDPs in Luhansk oblast. In April and May, the Centre for Social and Psychological Rehabilitation for Children in Lysychansk, and the “Mriya” camp in Kreminna rayon were officially opened. Thanks to the well-coordinated efforts of all parties, including the CBA, local authorities, and community organisations, the two buildings were fully renovated and outfitted for the needs of IDPs.
More than 70 children from affected rayons have found shelter in the newly-repaired Lysychansk building. Due to a variety of family circumstances, many of these children are homeless and the Centre is now their only option. All the windows in the children’s centre were replaced, a new door was installed, the roof was repaired, the porch was rebuilt, and the building was insulated. The Centre was created with the purpose of being a warm and comfortable place for children, and for those who participated in the implementation of the initiative, the most valuable outcome has been the response of the children to these improvements:
“I came here 6 or 7 months ago because of the armed conflict,” shares 14 year-old Dima from Pervomaisk, in Luhanska oblast. “It is impossible to compare the condition of the Centre before renovation and after. Now it is much better and more comfortable. The other children and I like this place. I am planning to finish school and to go study at a militsiya academy. I want to be a policeman and to help people.”
The head of the children’s Centre, Tetiana Klimova, along with all of her staff, cares a lot about the children. She knows all their stories and tries to help them: “They all have so many problems and troubles, but studying and making friends here makes their lives a little bit better. We all worry and care about them!”
In the ‘Mriya’ (‘Dream’) camp in Kreminna city in Luhansk region, around 80 IDPs will find homes. These include large families, and those who decided to remain living in Kreminna despite the conflict but were staying in sub-standard living conditions (in one case, 18 people lived together in a one-room flat). Thanks to the repairs completed on the two-storey building, all the IDPs housed at the Mriya camp will now have the opportunity to enjoy better living conditions. The building’s windows and doors were replaced and all rooms, bathrooms, water supply, sewerage, and heating systems were rebuilt. The total cost of this micro project is more than 1.5 million UAH.
The UNDP, together with the European Union, has allocated a total budget of more than one million dollars in support of 23 different construction projects in seven Ukrainian regions (Dnipropetrovsk, Kharkiv, Poltava, Zaporizzhya, Odesa, Donetsk and Luhansk) to create new homes for people in need. The Joint EU/UNDP Community Based Approach to Local Development (CBA) project, in partnership with local authorities, helps local communities to renovate temporary lodgings and social care centres for the most vulnerable, including mothers with children, the elderly, and people with disabilities. When all the reconstruction initiatives are complete, more than 3000 internally displaced persons will have found shelter at one of these locations.