Activists: Over a year “House of Free People” held 900 joint events for IDPs and is currently looking for room to expand


House of the Free People held events for internally displaced persons from Crimea and Eastern Ukraine. However, now they face a challenge of finding new premises to continue supporting the IDPs in Kyiv.

Kyiv, August 23, 2016. A year ago, NGOs that take care of internally displaced persons (IDPs) from Crimea and eastern Ukraine united in a joint project called “House of Free People.” Over this time, they held 900 joint events, provided legal and social services to 12,000 people, and gave 32,000 various consultations. This was stated by Tamila Tasheva, founder and coordinator of the civil initiative “Crimea SOS”, at a briefing held at Ukraine Crisis Media Center within the framework of UCMC project “Spokesman of Peaceful Life”, which is supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Federal Republic of Germany. “We had a lot of work to do and would have failed to do it if all organizations had operated separately. It is also a good platform for international organizations to communicate and see what projects can be implemented in Ukraine,” she said.

According to Maryna Lebid, co-coordinator of Employment Center for Free People, the “House of Free People” has become a platform for communication and exchange of knowledge and proficiencies necessary for strategic planning. “We want to work as a coalition – to enable IDPs to find their independent position, self-help, to become stronger, and make the country stronger,” she explained. However, the organization was faced with the loss of premises; in September, the grant that covered the rent cost expires. “In order to get some premises belonging to communal property, we have to participate in a competition, but under the existing conditions, the rent cost becomes known only after the competition if you win,” added Tamila Tasheva.

Larysa Artiugina, head of the NGO “Novy Donbas”, noted that it is this hub where very different people find a common language that can “glue Ukraine together”. According to Oleksandra Dvoretska, coordinator of the charity foundation “Vostok SOS”, the “House of Free People” is an opportunity to receive quality firsthand information of the issues and to talk with government structures. “Every day people come to us and tell us where the government does not work properly, where the law is not settled, where there are problems on the grounds, in what offices there are queues, which have a day off, where officials do not perform their duties well enough,” said Mrs. Dvoretska. According to her, the state should appreciate this quality and free monitoring of its services.