Local Volunteers lead Aid Efforts for Internally Displaced Persons in Kharkiv, Ukraine
By Eugene Imas, Eastern Europe Analyst
The Ukrainian government has struggled with capacity issues to accommodate the needs of the 1.4 million registered IDPs who have fled the conflict in eastern Ukraine. Only 23.7 percent of IDPs are of working age and the government provides approximately 50 USD per person in assistance. As a result, local volunteer organizations have become central in providing IDPs with the aid they need. In Kharkiv, through organizations like Kharkiv Station and Camp Daisy, approximately 185,600 IDPs are able to access vital aid and services.
“I barely hear about IDPs anymore. It is still very difficult to find housing in Kharkiv, they are all occupied by IDPs, but the issue is not as visible as it was earlier.” Male, 33 years old, Accountant
Kharkiv Station: Established on 01 June 2014, the center is administered by volunteers, with many of them IDPs themselves. The center provides various services including humanitarian aid, legal assistance, psychological consultations, work and housing placement, and even evacuation transportation services.
“The government doesn’t have enough money to adequately provide for IDPs. However, there are quite a few volunteer organizations that collect donations to provide humanitarian aid for IDPs.” Male, 25 years old, Computer Programmer
Camp Daisy: Located near Kharkiv, this former children’s summer camp provides housing for up to 270 IDPs at a time. Owned by a local entrepreneur, and operated by volunteers, Camp Daisy provides nourishment and transportation into the city for those that can find employment.
“[Camp Daisy] has a good reputation, it’s an old and unprofitable kids camp that has become a temporary home for thousands that have gone through its doors.” Male, 25 years old, Computer Programmer
The rise of civic activism in the face of crisis is an encouraging sign that Ukraine is moving towards building the strong civil society necessary to consolidate its young democracy.