18:21 Apr. 6, 2016
By the end of June, 2015, there were more than 1.35 million internally displaced persons in Ukraine
UNHCR provided UAH 5 million (nearly USD 200,000) to support internally displaced people (IDPs) in the frame of the "Station Region" Project in Kharkiv region in 2016. Thanks to the Project, IDPs will receive access to funding for community based initiatives, new vocational trainings, social counseling, internet services at the community centers run by partner NGO "Station Kharkiv", press office of UNHCR reports.
"Many displaced persons in Ukraine continue to struggle to make ends meet. UNHCR and Station Kharkov support them to make a living and be a resource for and integrate in their local communities. We do so by facilitating employment, by providing information, assistance and by making available funds for joint initiatives of internally displaced and other Ukrainians seeking to improve their neighbourhoods", said Mr. Aslak Solomsmoen, Head of UNHCR Kharkiv field office.
Last year, four new multipurpose community centers for IDPs were opened in Kharkiv region (in Izium, Barvinkove, Kupiansk-Vuzlovyi and Balakliia) in the framework of the earlier project. The centers offer information, legal and psychological assistance to the displaced people. Additionally, mobile groups were providing psychological and legal assistance in remote places of the Kharkiv region.
The project builds on last year's achievement expands with new programs provided by the Kharkiv Station centers. Starting from 2016, these centers will also offer small grants (up to UAH 15,000 or nearly USD 600) for community-based initiatives to forge social cohesion; employment consultations; vocational training programmes and organization of job fairs; social counseling and individual case management. Additionally, Station Kharkiv will organize workshops for IDPs and trainings for volunteers. Displaced people will receive access to Internet in the community centers.
A separate component of the project focuses on Roma residing in the Kharkiv region and prevention of statelessness. Social counselor will work closely with Roma communities and where necessary provide support with the identify and civil registration documents.
"This is the second joint project of "Station Kharkiv" and the UN Refugee Agency which became a logical continuation of the 2015 project. During the implementation of the last year's project, we saw a need for further support to IDPs. Thus, new project includes highly needed new services. For instance, we will focus on teaching new skills that can generate an income in the short term perspective (copy writer, web designer, agriculture training, etc.). A new composition of mobile groups will include social counselors. One of the new services is assistance to the Roma community. Small grants will help to engage IDPs and local community to joint activities because only mixed groups will be eligible for community based initiatives funding", said Ms. Alica Venevtseva, Coordinator of the "Station Region" Project.
"We are proud to be the UNHCR implementing partner in 2016 and we are convinced that our partnership is extremely important for those who are struggling in our region", added Ms. Venevtseva.
"We hope that the 5 community centers supported across Kharkiv region aim to be innovative hubs of engaged citizenship and community resilience", underlined Mr. Aslak Solomsmoen.
Photo courtesy - UNHCR site