Solution 14:31 11 Nov 2022

"Brave to Rebuild": how volunteers are helping to rebuild Kyiv region after russia's invasion

Shovels, hammers, boards, screws, plastering, bricks, bags of construction waste, and a lot of enthusiasm to help and rebuild! For more than four months, the "Brave to Rebuild" initiative has been operating in Ukraine, uniting caring people to help those whose homes have been destroyed.

What is the problem?

On March 31, as a result of the successful defense of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, the russian occupiers were forced to withdraw their troops from the north of Ukraine, including from the cities of Bucha, Irpin, Gostomel, Kyiv northern borders, as well as from the Chernihiv and Sumy regions. The very next day, russia's traces of mass murders and executions of the civilian population were found in these settlements. The tragedy in Bucha, Irpin, and Gostomel showed the whole world what the russian federation really is and what "values" it brings to the world – hundreds of killed and tortured peaceful Ukrainians.

Наслідки російських обстрілів ЖК

Consequences of russia's shelling of the residential complex "Irpinski Lypky". Photo: @olehryvko

As of July, the KSE Institute reported that a total of 861 private houses, 122 apartment buildings and 875 commercial buildings were destroyed and damaged in Bucha. In Irpin, the total number of destroyed buildings reached about 3,200 units, the city's mayor said in August of this year. The situation was approximately the same in Gostomel, neighboring villages, and regions. People were left either without housing at all or with damaged houses, most of which were uninhabitable. Winter was approaching, and already in the spring, it was clear that it would be difficult for the inhabitants of the destroyed cities and towns. People needed help furnishing and repairing houses, clearing rubble, and cleaning apartments.

What is the solution?

Observing the situation in the de-occupied cities and towns at the beginning of April, Ukrainians Vitaly Selyk and Alyona Krytsuk dared to create their own initiative aimed at helping the residents of the affected settlements. Under the arrangement of the Charitable Organization "Charitable Fund "Yangoly.ua" and the Public Organization "Kyiv Urban Planning Council," at the end of May, they managed to gather a team of caring people who were ready to go to clear debris, repair buildings, and clean up territories.

"The first time we went to Bucha was at the end of May. About ten people gathered through friends, acquaintances of our acquaintances, neighbors, and so on. We did not advertise; we decided to try to assemble a team on our own. We started cooperating with Bucha local authorities because the idea of ​​going door-to-door and simply offering help did not turn out to be successful," Oleksandra Lutsak, the initiative's volunteers coordinator shares.

Volunteer work. Photo: @kyraa97

This is how the "Brave to Revuild" initiative began to work. Currently, the project works in the cities of Bucha, Irpin, and Gostomel, in the villages of Blystavytsa, Synyak, Ozera, Horenka, and Moshchun.

"We saw that people had no electricity, there was great destruction, and we understood that we had to act. At the beginning of May, we got professional tools, gathered the first team of volunteers, and started working," Alyona Krytsuk, one of the initiators and founder of the project, says.

How does it work? 

The activity of "Brave to Rebuild" volunteers has three stages. The first is the dismantling of debris. During this work, participants collect damaged slabs, bricks, and construction debris, clear areas for further reconstruction, and prepare the house for winter. The second is temporary conservation — a process of closing holes in the walls of buildings, windows, and doors blown away by the blast wave. This includes covering the roofs of houses destroyed or knocked out. The last, third stage is the so-called "great reconstruction." Volunteers with some construction skills and a little experience in this business work here. They can fill holes, insert new windows, rebuild the roof, and repair damaged walls. In the end, the buildings undergo incomplete but necessary repairs, thanks to which the inhabitants of the settlements can spend the winter there.

Volunteer work. Photo: @kyraa97

Cooperation with local authorities has brought results. Local councils now compile and provide initiative representatives with lists of damaged premises that require intervention. Communication with the residents is carried out, as a result of which the volunteers easily get access to the facilities.

On the first trip, it was possible to gather ten volunteers, and later the coordinators started working through social networks, in particular, sending the form through the platform "Pidmoga.gov.ua." Currently, the number of volunteers working on weekends can reach a hundred people a day.

"At first, we worked only on weekends. We went for a full-time work day. We came there at around 11 a.m. Now, in the fall, we work until 4-5 in the evening; in the summer, we stayed a little longer. As of today, the work is also carried out on weekdays, but fewer people gather because they have their main work. We also organize transportation to the places of appointment with the local authorities of Bucha and Irpin; if it is the volunteer's own car, we try to reimburse fuel costs," says Oleksandra Lutsak.

Procurement of materials for work is done with the help of grants, projects and donations, as well as through cooperation and advertising.

Volunteers team. Photo: @olehryvkoA necessary and useful cause gathers around itself brave and hardworking volunteers who work here on a permanent basis and are ready to help as much as it is needed. In particular, volunteer Diana Honcharova says that she found out about the initiative on social networks; she first visited the community center in August at the "Irpinski Lypky" housing complex.

волонтерка Діана Гончарова

Diana at work. Source: Diana's personal archive 

"I was amazed at the time we were driving to Irpin, I thought: "Damn, such a beautiful city, in the middle of the forest, and it suffered so much." I really wanted to be useful to the state, to support with what I could, to support people who suffered from military actions. At the moment, I disassemble rubble, carry bricks, collect rubble in bags, throw it off houses, wash something, and break something. I do everything I know how and can. I especially like working with a shovel," Diana laughs.

Will it definitely work?

As of mid-October, thanks to the work of volunteers in the "Brave to Rebuild" initiative, assistance was provided to 180 families from settlements that suffered from the occupation and shelling by the russian federation. Debris was removed from 91 private houses, as well as from the Irpin Stadium. 116 apartments were cleared, 3 modular houses were built and furnished. One entire five-story building was cleared of the consequences of the fire, 11 roofs were repaired, and they helped prepare the school in Irpin for the academic year. In general, the initiative covered the settlements of Bucha, Irpin, Gostomel, the villages of Blystavytsa, Synyak, Ozera, Horenka, Moschun, Mostyshche, and others.

Volunteer work. Photo: @olehryvko

"We will continue to work and help as long as necessary," says Oleksandra Lutsak, "as long as there are materials, as long as there are people willing, we will travel, prepare homes for winter, just help those who need it."

And volunteer Maryna Leontyeva adds:

"I found out about "Brave" from my daughter, who saw that a girl from her parallel group was already volunteering in Irpin. At the end of July, I went to my first communal work. It is not difficult to help people; you feel your involvement in a community that does such a significant, good thing. It's nice to work with other volunteers, meet new people and talk to homeowners, although it can be tough. Each collective work is a result that you immediately feel and see. I will continue because there is a need for it. There is strength, desire, and time."

Maryna at work. Source: Maryna's personal archive

More useful solutions!

Become "Change Drivers"

To support its activities, the "Brave to Rebuild" team decided to participate in the "Change Driver" initiative — an annual award for projects that work on changes for the better in Ukraine and help others. According to Alyona Krytsuk, the registration link was accidentally sent to her on the Internet, then she filled out the forms, telling about her activities and already existing work results. After that, a vote was held among Ukrainians, who independently chose the best initiatives for victory. Among the winners is the "Brave to Rebuild" project.

The prize was 10,000 hryvnias, which will help the volunteers continue their activities and rebuild even more houses damaged by the war.

"The funds received will also be used for tools and protective elements for volunteers so that we can help more affected people in Kyiv region and Kharkiv region, and the work of volunteers was safer," says Alyona Krytsuk, one of the initiators of the project.

How to help?

If you have the opportunity and desire to help the "Brave to Rebuild," you can use these details:

Privat Bank: 4149 6293 1114 0743

PayPal: [email protected]

If you want to join the community and participate in collective work, you can join the community on Telegram.

Якщо у вас є можливість та бажання допомогти "Сміливим відновлювати", ви можете скористатися цими реквізитами: 

Privat Bank: 4149 6293 1114 0743

PayPal: [email protected]

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