Olena Kravchenko and Raisa Kravchenko spoke at Europe in Action to End Segregation conference in Brussels.
- Olena is chair of the board of the VGO Coalition, our member in Ukraine. You can read her speech here.
- Raisa represents the VGO Coalition; she is also chair of the Djerela NGO in Kyiv. Her speech is below.
- Olena and Raisa share a surname, but they are not related.
It is of great importance that you are helping. The economy of Ukraine has been ruined, and we have been informed by the government that our NGO will not have any support from the government anymore. Out of 25 regions of Ukraine, only 1 region (Sumy) still provides financial support. It is only international support that we can rely on to support people with intellectual disabilities.
As we heard this morning, in every country families are building a support for their children with disabilities. This is what I did for my son, who is now 38. Imagine that all this is destroyed in one second.
On 24 February, I heard the explosion at 5:30 in the morning. I did not understand what was happening. In two hours I had a call: “Please take your son home, our group home is closed, all services are closed.” Everything is closed now. In some cities, municipal centres start their services again, but not the NGOs.
The VGO Coalition is helping to support around 14,000 families of children, and mainly adults, with disabilities. This is why we are asking for your support.
No less important is the advocacy on national and international level. To tell the national authorities about the importance of deinstitutionalisation, prevention of new institutionalisation in the plan of Ukraine recovery. The Ukraine recovery plan has more than 800 projects, but not a single one is dedicated or mentions community-based services, independent living or deinstitutionalisation.
A couple of week ago, there was a special hearing of the UN CRPD Committee on Ukraine. Inclusion Europe participated to the consultation to point out the problem of institutionalisation in Ukraine.
Many people, family members, mothers died. Many are overwhelmed by their care duties. There is big risk of many new people ending up in institutions. And the authorities have simplified the procedures to take new people in institutions.
In many situations, families of people with disabilities have no extra money so people with disabilities are sent in crowded services, with a small number of staff, and little money for food. This is why the services of the NGOs are so important. They make it possible to prevent people from going into institutions. The war makes caring for a family member with disabilities very hard, as it leaves people without any support. Family carers are tired and burned out.
The war ruined our economy. Bombing happens every day – In my peaceful place 100km from Kyiv, I hear sirens every day. On the day of independence (24 August), I heard them 7 times. And I don’t live in Mariupol, but in calm place.
Ukraine has no money for recovery, it will rely on international funds. International donors will share responsibility for how the money is spent.
We don’t want to see any new people go into institutions. They should be able to live with their families, or have homes of their own.
Do not use the recovery money for institutions, but for support to independent living.
Tetiana Lomakina, Adviser–Commissioner of the President of Ukraine for a Barrier-free Environment
- Olena Kravchenko: We are very grateful supported us from the first days
- How the money collected for Ukraine helps people with intellectual disabilities and their families.
- CRPD Committee: Report on Ukraine + submissions by Inclusion Europe and VGO Coalition
- If you are being overlooked in normal times, it is unlikely that anyone will take you into account during a crisis
- 100 days: Ukrainians with intellectual disabilities and their families surviving the war
- “NGOs are at the forefront providing support to refugees with disabilities,” organisations in Moldova, Poland, Romania, Czechia tell us
- One month of the Russian war on Ukraine in the words of families of people with intellectual disabilities
Our work brings the voice of people with intellectual disabilities and their families where decisions about their future are made.
This has always been incredibly important. It is even more so with the Covid pandemic drastic impact on their rights and lives.
Being visible and vocal on issues directly affecting millions of people requires your support.
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