NGO Social Meridian launches social housing project for internally displaced



Civic sector is often the driving force in resolving the problems of internally displaced persons, NGO Social Meridian present their activities in housing, education and information sectors.

“Internally displaced cannot wait until the state changes its legal basis, they need assistance today,” said Natalia Klimova, head of Social Meridian NGO at a press-briefing at Ukraine Crisis Media Center (UCMC) in the framework of UCMC’s project “Spokesperson of peaceful life” supported by the Foreign Affairs Ministry of the German Federal Republic.

First social housing projects for internally displaced in 2017
Housing comes as one of the daunting issues that internally displaced are facing. Social Meridian representative said that construction projects that will provide housing to the internally displaced persons and socially vulnerable social groups have already been developed. The project foresees setup of construction companies as well as of facilities for production of materials for construction using funding of EU and U.S. donors. These facilities will employ internally displaced, disabled and socially vulnerable persons. Premises have already been designated for the facilities in question. It is planned that they will not work for profit or be state-owned. Social Meridian plans to implement this project in several Ukrainian regions thanks to the grant support from international partners.

“About 25 thousand square meters of social housing for internally displaced is to be built by the end of 2017,” said Natalia Klimova, head of Social Meridian NGO. Only small part of the housing will be provided for free. Majority of internally displaced persons will be able to get loans on beneficial terms to purchase the accommodation.

Distance online-based learning for children from the “grey zone” and occupied territories
School teacher and partner of Social Meridian NGO Lyubov Kartashova spoke about the recently created online-based social-and-educational network used for distance learning. Teachers register their profiles and post their teaching materials as well as homework tasks and calendar of lessons. The platform has already been launched for schools of Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

It is expected that the website will address the needs of children from the occupied areas and the “grey zone” who often cannot physically get to their schools. There is also an online library updated by teachers. Andriy Kononenko, co-author of the project added: “The system is crafted to each level of the IT literacy”. Each teacher has his/her own profile, can task and evaluate the students.

Setup of information resources for internally displaced
The organization also plans to launch a web site with information on all available services for internally displaced and vulnerable social groups in 2017. It will also contain a step-by-step description of the procedure how to apply and get state-provided social benefits as well as information on charity organizations and assistance they provide.

Social Meridian is also preparing a weekly newspaper that will inform on humanitarian assistance and the ways to get it. First issues are to be launched in March 2017.