Categories: NewsPublished On: 08.04.2024Views: 192

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Maryna Rozhko, the Project Manager, is going to share details

LEAP stands for Lifesaving Evacuation, Assistance and Protection. This is a project funded by the Government of Canada and ADRA Canada. It has been in place since June 2022 and will last until June 30, 2024. The project has two components, or two phases. Component A lasted from June 1, 2022 to March 31, 2023. Component B started on April 1, 2023, and will last until June 30, 2024. This project covers four main areas: transportation, psychological support, shelter support, and multi-purpose cash assistance for the affected population.

Let me start with the first area – transportation assistance. First of all, it is evacuation, but not only. Yes, we are evacuating people from the frontline areas. These are mainly Kherson, Donetsk, Zaporizhzhia and Luhansk Regions (although only one town in Luhansk is still under Ukrainian control). We are mostly evacuating most people from Kherson Region. We are able to evacuate both able-bodied people and people with limited mobility, as we have two ambulance cars specially equipped for people with disabilities. In total, our fleet now includes 11 vehicles. These are nine buses and two ambulance vehicles.

We provide all types of transportation assistance, but only within the territory of Ukraine. We have the following national evacuation routes: Kherson – Lviv, Kherson – Mykolaiv – Odesa, Kherson – Kyiv, Odesa – Palanka. When cities are exposed to heavy shellfire, people usually leave them and go either to the central regions of Ukraine, where it is more or less safe, or to the western regions, such as Lviv and Chernivtsi, or abroad. We also help people to get to the border, for example, with Moldova (Odesa-Palanka route). Another example is Kherson-Lviv route, where people easily can cross the border in Lviv Region. The evacuation covers Kherson, Odesa, Kharkiv, Mykolaiv Regions, as well as parts of Zaporizhzhia, Donetsk, and Luhansk Region. We are not currently operating in Sumy Region because we do not have enough beneficiaries – we need at least 10 people per one bus. We have buses with 20-23 seats, one ambulance with one seat and one bed, and another ambulance with one bed and three seats.

In addition to evacuations, another type of transportation assistance is social buses that help people to reach the critical infrastructure, such as pharmacies, grocery stores, hospitals, etc. We operate such buses in three communities in Kramatorsk District of Donetsk Region: in Lyman, Cherkasy and Sviatohirsk communities. Another type of transportation assistance is helping returnees to get to their original place of residence from the evacuation. That is, if there are no active hostilities in some areas of Ukraine, we are helping people to return home from the evacuation. This can be, for example, Sumy Region, which is considered more or less safe right now. We can meet people willing to return to their homes at the border with other countries. For example, our buses sometimes wait for beneficiaries at Shehyni checkpoint (on the border with Poland). We also help people with limited mobility to return. It is important to emphasize that we are the only organization, the only project in Ukraine that provides assistance to returnees. No one else in Ukraine is doing. As part of our project, we work with many partners in the southern and southeast parts of Ukraine. Today ADRA Ukraine is almost the only organization that is engaged in evacuations from the Kherson Region as part of the LEAP project. Previously, we also had evacuation component in the GFFO project supported by German Federal Foreign Office, ADRA Germany, and Aktion Deutschland Hilft, but this project ended and has been replaced with the interim project – PEACE.

Another area as part of the LEAP project is national psychological assistance. We have a staff of 17 people. These are 14 psychologists, including the PSS coordinator and supervisor. There are also three psychotherapists and a psychiatrist. However, we do not provide psychiatric care. That is, we do not write prescriptions or give medications. We provide psychological and psychotherapeutic assistance. Psychological assistance is provided in several forms: offline and online, group and individual sessions. and also trainings. We facilitate trainings, for example, on topics such as suicide prevention in communities, domestic violence prevention, gender-based violence prevention, and so on. We conduct these trainings both for our partners and for the staff and volunteers of the charitable organization. Also, within this area, we provide individual psychological assistance free-of-charge for volunteers and ADRA Ukraine staff – up to three free sessions. This means that any ADRA Ukraine employee can ask our team to help them. It is clear that the organization’s employees face many challenges. These include constant stress, burnout, fatigue, etc. Also, our psychologists provide psychological advice every Thursday at a counseling meeting held for all ADRA Ukraine employees.

In addition, every Thursday, one of our psychologists holds group sessions with our call center operators on a first-come, first-served basis. After all, operators receive a lot of calls, they are the first to listen to beneficiaries, and they often face negativity. That’s why we hold sessions every time on relevant topics of interest to operators. For example, how to behave correctly with an aggressive beneficiary who angrily demands something on the hotline. Or how to listen to a person who has suffered grief or loss and is telling their personal story.

It’s important to say that the psychologists of our project work all over Ukraine, providing assistance online and offline., but the psychologists’ offices are located in Kyiv and Dnipro.

The next area is supporting shelters and dormitories where beneficiaries stay. Our project offers funding for four shelters. Three of them are permanent shelters, and the fourth is a transit center where people stay for 2-3 weeks and rotate quickly. The first shelter is a dormitory in the city of Dnipro run by the I Am Mariupol Foundation. It is intended only for IDPs from Mariupol and their families. It’s not easy to get into this dormitory, the selection system was approved by the Cabinet of Ministers. People who want to get a place at this shelter dormitory have to apply to the “I am Mariupol” centers and pass the eligibility assessment based on vulnerability criteria. The next shelter is also in Dnipro – it’s called “Hostyna” and is run by the Assistance and Development Charity Fund. People also may stay there permanently. Another shelter in Chernivtsi is called “City of Goodness”. It is intended only for women and children, including orphans who were taken from Mykolaiv and Kherson orphanages. Before the full-scale invasion began, it was a shelter for domestic violence survivors. Since the beginning of the war, women who survived the violence can also stay there. It is also important that the City of Goodness, in my opinion, is one of the largest and best shelters in Ukraine. They have a bomb shelter, special child-friendly interior design, and people feel very comfortable in there. There is also a hospice for children with disabilities, where about 20 people live. Unfortunately, we do not have capacity to support this hospice, but it is important to mention it. They even have a glass roof so that children who cannot even move can at least see the sky. The fourth shelter is a transit center in Lviv, created by the Voznytsky Charitable Foundation, where people stay, as I said, for 2-3 weeks. These are mostly people evacuated from the most dangerous areas. Many people evacuated from Kherson Region to Lviv are temporarily staying at this transit center.

Let me also tell you a bit about the services offered by our partner shelters thanks to our funding. We finance the salary costs of the staff who run the shelters. This includes directors, technical staff, daycare attendants who look after children, psychologists who counsel shelter residents, and HR specialists (for example, in the Lviv shelter, such a specialist looks for jobs for evacuees in Lviv). We also pay for utilities and food for the beneficiaries. If the shelter has a dining room, we bring food and prepare meals there. If there are no cooking facilities, we bring ready-made meals. The funds are also used to provide the shelters with hygiene products and household chemicals, bedding, etc. We also cover logistics costs.

The fourth area of the LEAP project is the provision of multi-purpose cash assistance to vulnerable populations. We provide this assistance in Dnipro, Kharkiv, Kherson, Mykolaiv, and other regions, as well as in the government-controlled areas of Zaporizhzhia, Donetsk, and Luhansk Regions. At the beginning of the project, we also covered Kyiv Region after its de-occupation. People who meet the vulnerability criteria receive a one-time cash assistance in amount of UAH 10,800. The amount is calculated at UAH 3,600 per month, but is paid for three months in one transfer.

In many cases, one beneficiary can receive assistance in several areas of our project. For example, we evacuate people from Kherson to Lviv and then accommodate them in a transit shelter. Then they are contacted by our cash assistance coordinator and, if they meet the vulnerability criteria, they are provided with more cash assistance. A psychologist also works with the beneficiaries in Lviv. That is, one beneficiary can receive assistance in four areas within the LEAP project.

Since the beginning of the LEAP project, 24,022 beneficiaries have received transportation assistance, 14,959 – psychological assistance, 2,152 – assistance through shelters funding, and 14,463 beneficiaries have received multipurpose cash assistance thanks to ADRA Ukraine and the support of partners.

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