Solution 12:53 31 May 2023

Solutions journalism works: Rubryka's 10 best articles in May

Solutions of mutual support of women, education for the future, assistance to displaced persons, and protection of animals — Rubryka has collected the stories of May, which show that, under any circumstances, Ukrainians give each other a helping hand.

May was a month of unprecedented attacks on Ukraine and its capital, Kyiv. Even under these circumstances, when almost every night becomes sleepless, Ukrainians continue to implement solutions that support them here and now and bring victory closer.

"Feeling free: all-Ukrainian network of hubs supporting women"

лекції для жінок

Women in Ukraine have faced many challenges amid the war: gender-based violence, unemployment, financial problems, limited access to medicine, and psychological and emotional instability. The solution to this problem is complex. Hubs for women, where they can receive various kinds of support, are one of the solution's components. Rubryka looked into the work of one of such hubs, Vilna, where females can study, rest, work, and, if necessary, receive professional help.

"Age of happiness"

Вік щастя

The psychological crisis of older people is a rather well-known topic of discussion. Compared to the busy life of the young and middle aged, entering your 60s or 70s is perceived by many as a sentence. The Age of Happiness Foundation for the Support of Seniors reject this view of old age. The head of the foundation, Natalya Bondarenko, believes that a person over 50 should not find themself on the sidelines of life. Her organization, which relocated from the Donetsk region to the Kirovohrad region, helps people over 50 to lead an active lifestyle, feel needed, modern, and, most importantly — happy. Rubryka takes a look at how an NGO in Kropyvnytskyi supports older people and creates a space for like-minded people.

"House of tails"

притулок для тварин з інвалідністю

The problem of abandoned animals in Ukraine was acute even before the war, and after February 24, 2022, it only deepened. According to animal rights activists, thousands of companion animals have ended up on the streets, and the number in shelters has  increased by as much as double in areas near the front. It is becoming increasingly difficult for existing institutions to care for all abandoned animals, as there are simply not enough hands and resources. When it comes to wounded and injured animals, the issue becomes critical.

Caring people become the only hope for salvation for the animals who cannot take care of their own safety. At the beginning of the full-scale war, Anastasia Tykha took out more than 20 injured and disabled animals from Irpin. Today, the House of Tails shelter-hospice for injured and wounded animals, founded by her, has become a new home for almost 70 dogs and cats. Rubryka tells how the shelter helps abandoned animals, saves them from injuries and diseases, puts them back on their feet, and gives them hope for a fulfilling life.

Caring people become the only hope for salvation for the animals who cannot take care of their own safety. At the beginning of the full-scale war, Anastasia Tykha took out more than 20 injured and disabled animals from Irpin. Today, the House of Tails shelter-hospice for injured and wounded animals, founded by her, has become a new home for almost 70 dogs and cats. Rubryka tells how the shelter helps abandoned animals, saves them from injuries and diseases, puts them back on their feet, and gives them hope for a fulfilling life.

"Women's power of Ukraine"

Жіноча Сила України

Today, thousands of mothers of defenders of Ukraine are in complex emotional states: on the one hand, they are proud of their children, but at the same time, they worry and fear every day for their son or daughter who is at the front. When stress and emotions are overwhelming, sometimes it is not easy to advise yourself. It is difficult to cope with all this alone, despite all the accumulated life wisdom, and there is often no one to share these experiences with.

The non-governmental organization Women's Power of Ukraine, helps mothers of service members cope with the challenges of the war. Since the first days of the full-scale war, this organization has been implementing the Psychosocial support service for families of military personnel project. Psychologists from the NGO Women's Power of Ukraine told Rubryka about what it means to be a mother of a military service member, what questions and problems bother mothers of those who stood up to defend their Motherland, and why it is important not to remain alone in the face of challenges.

"Ukrainian ants"

Українські мурахи

Due to the full-scale invasion of Russia into Ukraine, millions of Ukrainian citizens were forced to urgently leave their homes in search of safer places. Now people continue to evacuate from hot spots near the front line. All these people need shelter.

Oleksandr Kalinchenko, Roman Andreev, and their friends and partners rent an entire hotel and individual rooms in Transcarpathia at their own expense to provide accommodation, food, and minimal comfort to the displaced people.

"What happens when an anthill is destroyed? All the ants gather, start working and quickly rebuild everything. Similar things happen all over Ukraine — volunteers organize evacuation from hot spots and deliver food there. People are transported across the border, and the volunteers go to the front line and bring trinkets to the military. Such a movement throughout the country resembles a big anthill. In Transcarpathia, our hotel is like a shelter and a base that concentrates the entire team's work," says Oleksandr Kalinchenko, founder of the non-governmental organization Ukrainian Ants. Rubryka explains how the initiative works.

"School of Eco-Activism"

Школа Екоактивізму

The issue of environmental restoration will become one of the most pronounced issues to face in post-war Ukraine. According to the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Natural Resources of Ukraine, environmental damage due to the war has already exceeded $38 billion. These figures are only a preliminary estimate because ecologists cannot access occupied and front-line territories. The war is still ongoing, but now is the time to start thinking about and planning how to improve Ukraine's environment after the end of hostilities.

During the war, the two communities in the Kirovohrad region initiated the opening of eco-activism schools. Rubryka spoke with Anna Pavlenko, head of the School of Eco-Activism, about their curriculum and why it is necessary to teach eco-consciousness.

Kyiv Resilience Center

Центр стресостійкості

Communal workers, police officers, doctors, transport industry representatives, and numerous other specialists who ensure the life of the capital have chronic fatigue and other signs of professional burnout. They need support to overcome stressful situations and be in a resourceful state.

The first stress resilence center in Ukraine opened in Kyiv. First of all, it aims to provide an opportunity for critical infrastructure workers to acquire psychological self-help skills. Then they might scale this knowledge in their teams and families. The center will also conduct individual and family counseling for municipal professionals experiencing loss, burnout, as well as for military families.

Not everyone needs a psychologist, but everyone should know how to help themselves and others is the slogan of the new institution. Rubryka looked into the center's work.

Mobile support groups for displaced people

мобільна група підтримки переселенців

As of mid-March 2023, at least five million internally displaced persons (IDPs) have been registered in Ukraine, with up to another two million unregistered. Iryna Vereshchuk, Ukraine's deputy prime minister said in April 2023 that the state faces difficulty providing all-around support in social benefits, legal issues, and psychological care in cases of displaced people, of whom 60% are women, 25% are children, and another 25% are pensioners. 

The Right to Protection charitable foundation help people affected by the war by sending teams consisting of  a psychologist, a social worker, and a lawyer to hubs for displaced people to provide free consultations on the spot. The program is implemented with the financial support of the USAID Bureau of Humanitarian Assistance (BHA) and operates within the framework of the Ukraine Response Consortium project. Rubryka told about the solution here.

Ukrainian in Oxford

Інна Сопрончук

Inna Sopronchuk originally comes from Kherson, Ukraine's southern city

With the beginning of the full-scale Russian invasion, many citizens of Ukraine, who before the war exclusively spoke Russian, began to switch to Ukrainian. The interest in the language and the desire to break ties with the aggressor have grown in Ukraine and abroad. If earlier, many in the Ukrainian diaspora attended Ukrainian courses, now those hosting Ukrainians in their homes — doctors, volunteers, students, and scientists.

Inna Sopronchuk, from Kherson, in Ukraine's south, has taught Ukrainian as a foreign language for seven years. In 2022, she launched a language course for full-time students at the University of Oxford and her own school, "Speak Ukrainian." Rubryka spoke to Sopronchuk about how the most famous university in Great Britain introduced a Ukrainian course, and why foreigners are signing up to attend it.

"School of Superheroes"

дитячі малюнки

The walls of the hospital are decorated with the pictures drawn by the School of Superheroes students

Wearing a mask is a must in these classes. The teacher does not take it off, even when working alone with the student, because the most important thing during lessons at the School of Superheroes is the safety and health of its visitors.

School of Superheroes is a network of free schools in medical institutions attended by inpatients. The state institution was founded in 2022 by the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine thanks to the support of the Office of the President and the First Lady. The heart of the educational centers is its curator Nataliia Moseichuk, and the pulse is Yevhenia Smirnova, the founder and now the director of the state institution School of Superheroes. They currently work in Kyiv, Zhytomyr, Lviv, Kharkiv, and Dnipro and are opening in Mykolaiv, Kyiv, and Khmelnytskyi regions.

Rubryka's correspondent visited the Dnipro subdivision and learned how teachers prepare to work with children struggling with diseases, how important learning is for young patients, and what motivates teachers to hold on despite everything.


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