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Project "Refugees (IDPs) Camp for IDPs in Lviv region"

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Malcolm Phillips (Fairfax, USA)


Date: May 2014 - May 2016 (closed)

Project annotation

The project is directed on creating and support camp for IDPs in Lviv region in the following spheres: creating camp, paying for facilities, food and other expenses for living of 200 IDPs, support in modernization of camp heating.

The issue, which is going to be solved within the bounds of the project realization

Ukraine is now in its hard times and suffers pro-russian rebels in the East of our country. But there are people in the Eastern Ukraine who did not want to live under the rule of pro-russian rebels. These people came to Lviv to rescue their lives and they are IDPs.

In May 2014 we have established the camp for IDPs from Eastern Ukraine in Lviv region (Ukraine) on the basis of abandoned military base. For the moment camp provides shelter for IDPs from Lugansk and Donetsk region. There are 200 people including 28 children in the camp at present time.
From May to July we provided shelter for first wave of IDPs from Crimea. Starting from July and till now we provide shelter to IDPs from the East of Ukraine.

Even if the war will stop these people won’t be able to return home:

- they provided support to Ukrainian Army so they are in the blacklists of pro-russian rebels now;

- they are IDPs due to religious opinions (pro-russian rebels persecute everyone but orthodox of Moscow patriarchy)

These people lost everything they had: homes, flats, clothes, money for living. They have to start all from the very beginning. So these people who protected Ukraine and European values at the East of Ukraine need your help.

Aim and task of the project

Creating and support camp for IDPs and paying their expenses:


- Creating the camp for IDPs

- Helping the camp for IDPs in paying facilities

- Helping the camp for IDPs in paying food

- other expenses for keeping the camp

- modernization of heating of the camp

The expected project outcomes

Short-term impacts

200-300 of IDPs will be able to have free shelter and food so they could save some money.

Longer-term impacts

Modernization of heating system will allow not only help IDPs but also provide the health camp for hundreds of orphans during winter period after we create it on the basis of existing camp.


This project allowed us to pay for daily and utility expenses for camp of IDPs, so that we could provide shelter for IDPs and purchase solid fuel boiler (which will decrease our bills for heating and hot water greatly).

Boiler was purchased on January 3rd 2015. All installation works were finished on January 19th 2015 and it was started on January 20th 2015.

Economy on heating expenses allowed us to modernize heating system in camp (changing radiators and tubes)

From the very beginning of camp existing (May 2014) we aimed to provide shelter for IDPs and adapt them to new conditions for long term. Some of them could start new life within 2-3 weeks and some required 3-5 month to start living outside the camp.

We provide shelter and food for IDPs. All money they earned and had before they could save to start new life in new place.

We tried to provide maximum comfort we could afford. First of all we provided shelter and work for them. However finding work places was a hard task due to several reasons:

- difference of minimal wage in Eastern and Western Ukraine is more than 1300 hryvnias (about 70 Euro)

- many IDPs think that state has to provide them everything they need because they left their home and work.

Most of them are in panic, they search for shelter and peace and go to place where they have at least some stability and work.

Conditions in our camp are far from perfect, but still comfortable enough. We offer a room for each family and they do not have to share it with 2 or 3 other families as in other camps for IDPs in Ukraine. Mothers and children, old people, and several men (mostly old or those who has already been harmed). Most of IDPs are women and children: 90-120 (half of them are children).

During November 1-st 2014 and Janury 15-th 2015 we had 328 IDPs in our camp. Some of them used our camp as a transit one for a couple of days before going abroad, some of them rented a flat and the rest are still in the camp. 

- 328 consisted of, 163 children, 122 women, the rest are men

Usually IDPs do not leave their room for the first few days. They missed being safe and sleeping in bed instead of railway station.

Some of them suffered illnesses due to stress, most of children had cold and some of children we had to take to the hospital. One of men needed psychiatrist help, he kept hiding from bombing and terrorists.

We also take care of children in our camp so that parents had time to do paper work, take care of other duties of have some rest. Volunteers play with children, paint together and have other activities. We also show them cartoons. All children go to local school of city. We still have problem with under school children, as city have only one kindergarten and it is already full. Our children could go to those in Lviv but we can’t solve this problem yet.

Everything we have for the moment is a result of volunteers work who realized this important humanitarian mission.

“I met woman and her son at the railway station and took them to camp for IDPs. We had to visit my place, have some tea and food so that she could calm down. Her husband and father were still in Slavyansk. Happily they were still alive and we could calm her down a bit” – says our volunteer Irina.

We have everything necessary in our camp – water, electricity, beds and eating room. Food and amenities are provided by local businessmen and volunteers and most of people who work for us do it for free.

We have homesteading in the camp which allows us to spend for food 60% less. In September-November we received 15 tons of fruits and vegetables from businessmen of Lviv an Nikolayev regions.

Situation in the conflict zone in Eastern Ukraine after New Year gets more and more complicated. All experts agree that it will increase starting from March and number of IDPs will increase too. We have another object that requires repair and can provide shelter 35-50 IDPs. We aim to repair it till June 2015.

We solve the problem with large utility bills for heating and hot water. However we still have problem with other utilities which are rising quarterly in Ukraine and especially for electricity. We plan to change for LED-bulbs which will allow to decrease electricity expenses for 40%-42%.

Due to increasing number of IDPs we require partly compensation for purchasing food. For the last 3 months some products doubled its price. State doesn’t respond us concerning it and NGOs that provide food are now working in the conflict zone. That is why IDPs who are in Western Ukraine spend most of their income for food and rent. For the moment we see only one way to solve it and it is humanitarian aid for Western Ukraine.

Excerpts from newspapers about our camp

Protestants and pro-Ukraine residents in the war-torn areas of eastern Ukraine are being persecuted by pro-russian rebels and forced to flee, says a man from the Luhansk area.

“The pro-russian rebels say all Protestant churches are American spies, so there is religious oppression,” said Yurii Radchenko, 46, from the town of Zymohiria. Radchenko, a Protestant, said he was shot at twice in separate incidents but emerged unscathed.

“All the religious communities have been threatened except the Russian Orthodox. My property was taken and we have nothing,” he said. Others, including a recent report from the United Nations Human Rights Office, confirm that looting is being done by rebels and their supporters.

“That is the problem. I have lost everything in eastern Ukraine,” said Radchenko. “Those who remain undergo threats, oppression and are beaten up. That is the tragedy. If the pro-russian rebels learn that people are pro-Ukraine they suffer a lot. It is like cleansing. Either you leave or you suffer.”

Radchenko and other Internally Displaced Persons spoke to a reporter recently through an interpreter at a former military compound in the town, east of Lviv. About 200 men, women and children are being sheltered and fed there by Protestant Church, said a Canadian, Roman Yereniuk, who is helping to fund the effort.

“Many Protestants are not tolerated by the Russian Orthodox Church in Ukraine,” he said. “The other two Orthodox churches have good ecumenical relations with the Protestants. Many have escaped from the east to the west.”

Some 375,000 IDPs have fled from the violence in the east and are living largely off their savings and the largesse of friends and family across Ukraine, the United Nations Human Rights Office reported Oct. 8. The report confirms that persecution is taking place.

Some of them near Lviv arrived four months ago, others more recently, said one of their leaders, Elena Pavlenko. All had similar stories of fearing for their lives as a result of either direct threats or concerns about being caught in the crossfire between Ukrainian and pro-russian rebels.

In a recent article in Ukraine’s The Day newspaper, Mykola Siry, a senior researcher at the Koretsky Institute of State and Law, said “we are talking about systemic torture of people in Luhansk and Donetsk oblasts, intentional murders. It is a form of intimidation of the whole population.”

In the Middle East, ISIS is attacking and killing civilian populations because of their beliefs, and the international community is taking military action. But violence is also happening to civilians in eastern Ukraine, where the West is avoiding engagement.

For Pavlenko, fears arose when the pro-russian rebels placed missile launchers beside her house. The noise was deafening, she said, and they feared being bombed by their own side. Her husband arranges the IDPs humanitarian aid, and they have a small child. The rebels, a mix of local men resenting the centralized control of Kyiv and foreigners she said are from Russia, are shelling the airport about eight kilometers away in a bid to force out the Ukrainian forces in control.

Ukrainian forces and pro-Russian rebels fighters recently marked one month since the signing of a Kremlin-backed truce with one the most heated battles of the six-month war in Donetsk. Ukraine said 75 soldiers and civilians have been killed since the Sept. 5 cease-fire. President Petro Poroshenko is hoping the shaky truce, signed as part of a peace plan, will hold together for parliamentary elections Oct. 26.

Pavlenko said many soldiers have died in the fighting, noting a “massive burial site” near the airport. About 400 civilians have also died from Luhansk, to her knowledge. Most people have fled, she said, and those who remain stay inside. Thousands of IDPs have also gone to Russia.

Protestants make up about 2.4 per cent of the Ukrainian population, but Ukraine has been called the “Bible belt” of Eastern Europe and a hub of evangelical church life and missions. Most people are Ukrainian Orthodox (40 per cent), Russian Orthodox (30 per cent), or Ukrainian Greek Catholic (14 per cent). Roman Catholics account for 1.7 per cent of the population, Moslems 0.6 per cent and Jews, 0.2.

While the loss of Crimea in March appeared to reduce tensions between the Orthodox churches – one pro-Moscow prelate even denounced Putin as a “bandit” – bitter divisions remain.

Mr. Radchenko, who worked for a non-profit organization that helped drug addicts and former prison inmates, said pastors have been tortured. He gave the example of one who was injured and taken to a hospital, where pro-russian rebels were also being treated. When they heard him proselytize they informed their leaders, who hauled the man from the hospital, beat him up, and left him for dead in a forest. Parishoners found him and he is recovering, Radchenko said.

That’s when he asked friends to find a place for him and his family – wife, four children and mother in law. His wife and kids arrived here four months ago, but he stayed home until mid-September.

Another man who fled from the east, Vasiliy Klimov, 40, who has four daughters and a wife, said things got quickly out of hand at his home of Krasnodon.

“When the war began, local people who formed the bandit groups took weapons, from I don’t know where, and captured the police station, and it surrendered and joined them. Next these pro-russian rebels blew up the customs building on the border with Russia.”

Klimov said it was frightening to go into town because the armed rebels without uniforms were openly stopping cars and people. “It was scary to say something that would provoke them. Some friends heard people scream from the cars, they heard someone shoot. That’s why we packed up and left for Crimea in June.”

But the family left Crimea Sept. 22 because “there is uncertainty in the air and some people expect the war also in Crimea,” on the Black Sea peninsula. It has Russia’s only warm-water port (which it had been leasing) and is home to its Black Sea fleet. “Crimea is wanted back by local authorities,” Klimov said, “and local Tatars (who are Moslem and more than 10 per cent of the population) are against the annexation of Crimea.”

Annexation happened after the March 16 referendum showed 97 per cent support for joining Russia. Even if the voting was rigged, some people say most Crimeans wanted change; others say a majority liked the status-quo. Some Ukrainian people from the Soviet era believe that under Russia their old ways would be better protected.

Like many here, Pavlenko believes the war is rooted partly in Russian President Vladimir Putin’s desire for a land route to Crimea.


"Will definitely be working with you now. You also have another box coming your way in the next 3-4 weeks"
Renee l. Carpenter

Volunteer, Mokyang Presbyterian Church, USA

All Testimonials
"Great organisation with great people! See you in March! I miss all there in Ukraine! Slava Ukraini!!"
Malcolme Phillips

Pastor, Mokyang Presbyterian Church, USA