Kyiv, August 7, 2015. The volunteer project, Families Helping Families, began in April this year and began its mission of supporting the families of Ukrainian troops. Every family whose member died in combat or is currently fighting in eastern Ukraine may receive aid by filling in a form on the website of the project.
Moreover, any family from Ukraine or abroad who is willing and able to help may choose ‘a charge’ from the volunteers’ database. “We are actively engaging sponsors. Together they provide material and moral support: solving domestic problems, organizing common vacations and simply communicating with people who care. All the volunteers are carefully selected and only those who are really willing to help are included in the project,” said project founder Oleksandr Romanko at a press briefing at Ukraine Crisis Media Center.
The initiative closely cooperated with the Ukrainian diaspora, in particular with the organization EuroMaidan-Canada. According to Romanko, since the beginning of the military conflict in eastern Ukraine, Canadian expats have provided material aid to ATO families to the sum of about one million dollars.
Another area the organization works is organizing holidays for Ukrainian troops’ children abroad. There have already been trips to England, Sweden and Italy. ”On no account shall we support immaturity, i.e. the childish attitude when a mother hopes all her problems will get solved by some donor. Educating and nurturing children is the task of a woman who lost her husband to war. The sponsor’s task is to support the family and provide it with the opportunity to see the world in a different light,” said project coordinator Anna Voshchykina. She also mentioned that the option of one-time financial aid is available. As of today, about thirty families received financial aid equal to three hundred dollars.
In the future, the organization plans to organize a widows’ club to give the wives of those who have lost their lives in the conflict the possibility to comfort and support one another. Educational exchange programs will be established with the participation of Canadian universities as well. In addition, the organization is implementing a project for providing computers to families, village schools and orphanages.
According to Oksana Syvak who is one of the project’s organizers and chairman of the board of the organization Е+, the initiative first and foremost is intended for the families of ATO troops. Nevertheless, they are also ready to provide help to everyone in need, IDPs and volunteers in particular.