39

Humanitarian aid centre based at the university

Since the beginning of the aggression of the russian federation against Ukraine, the university staff has responded to the needs of the population that was in an active combat zone. The volunteers from among the university staff and students formed the humanitarian cargoes to the cities and towns of Donbas, Kharkiv and Sumy regions. And those who were forced to leave these regions were met and settled in Poltava in dormitories of the university. A significant part of the forced migrants has been under our care for a long time. We provide them with everything they need, in whatever way we can. It was decided to open the humanitarian aid center at the university sports complex Olimp in order to systematize the rendering assistance to the forced migrants, to consider their needs (from medicines to clothing) as much as possible and to reduce the time it takes to meet them. It is organized by the staff of the Department of Physical Training and the university sports club, as well as by student volunteers. Nataliia Symonenko and Oksana Nesterenko are in charge of this work. The centre is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and it is very crowded the whole day. It is not only residents of the dormitories who ask for assistance, but also the forced migrants living in flats, schools and kindergartens near the university. These people are of different ages, with different needs and with different emotional and psychological conditions. “We try to help and support everyone. Thus, we also act as social psychologists,” says Nataliia Symonenko. “Thank you to everyone who helps us,” she says, “but especially to the ‘Poltava Battalion of the Indifferent’ led by archbishop Fedor and its representative, eco-activist and volunteer Iryna Konoz who is currently at the centre. We wouldn’t be able to do such comprehensive work without their support”.