- Hello, are dancers still needed?
- Yes. How old are you?
- I’m 25.
- Do you have work experience?
- That’s okay, we’re teaching. Are you from Kyiv?
- No, I came from Donetsk. Just wanted to know whether that’s okay…
- No, we have a problem with that, sorry.
- What you’re saying is you don’t hire people from Donetsk?
- No, I’m very sorry.
Internally displaced persons from Donbas, don’t disturb us! Part 1
Volunteers Are Helping
For many IDPs the Frolivska 9/11 became not just a place where they can get food and warm cloths. In the absence of a clear action plan on the part of officials, people come here to get some advice, find people of the same mind, and help those, who also have escaped from the war.
However, even those who find themselves in similar circumstances do not always get along. Notes on the volunteers’ computers remind about that. Both have much the same meaning: “No service to those people who fight, abuse, and swear”.
People applying to the Help Center do not have so much in common, although mainly all of them are representatives of the least protected social groups: pensioners, single mothers, persons with disabilities and severe chronic diseases.
Oksana, IDP from Kostyantynivka, with her sons. She has three kids. The youngest one is severely ill and has already had two apparent deaths. Photo: Dmytro Larin
The problem is that the people in Frolivska Street deal only with registered IDPs, that is with those who have obtained the state registration certificate and for whom the state help of 400-800 Hryvnyas is a considerable support.
Those people who work do not want to waste their time on registration – the sum of money is not worth it.
“The only stimulus which will make IDPs register is a guarantee of getting some accommodation. All IDP suffer because of its absence”, Lesya Litvinova, one of the founders of the volunteer center, says.
The Act On Guaranteeing IDPs’ Rights and Freedoms adopted in 2014 contains the provision that the state is to provide IDPs with some accommodation for half a year on condition they will pay utilities bills.
However, the Act does not work. Officials do not know how to implement the Act and who is to control the process.
“If you come to Kyiv city council and find the person who is responsible for the work with IDPs, they will say, “No accommodation”. And they won’t tell you where to go because they don’t know themselves where to”, Oleksandra Dvoretska, “Vostok-SOS” legal issues coordinator, says.
According to the coordinator, the database of accommodation for IDPs does not exist. Earlier Ministry of Regional Construction launched vpo.gov.ua site which was to collect information on accommodation available. However, the telephone numbers registered on the site do not work.
“We tried to get accommodation addresses from regional administrations. But, as an example, in the Volynska region, only one place was available out of 400 presented to us”, says Dvoretska.
IDPs may be offered places in villages in less popular regions, but they will have to find houses by themselves.
“If you are in Kyiv, you can’t find where there is accommodation available throughout Ukraine. If a person liked to find accommodation in Bila Tserkva, this person should go there and find out by himself of herself”, says Dvoretska.
It is difficult to find accommodation for those who do not expect any state help either. There are cases when landlords do not want to rent flats to IDPs.
From time to time, one may find ads in popular Facebook-community “Real estate agents are evil” the authors of which are glad to provide accommodation for people with dogs, and with cats, but not for IDPs – “IDPs, don’t disturb, please!” Landlords explain, “We have heard how people from this region behave themselves”.
IDPs themselves have got used to refuses and say “We are realtors’ horror: We are a family from Donetsk, with two kids and a dog” or “We are from Mariupol. We don’t drink baby’s blood and don’t destroy furniture”.
Oleksandra Hayvoronska, pravda.com.ua
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