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Adaptation of ATO veterans to be addressed by NGOs and volunteers

24 May 2017

Recently Dnipro hosted a round table on the topic of social adaptation of the ATO veterans involving 12 organizations that would be dealing with the development of sustainable models of adaptation under support of the International Renaissance Foundation.

In Ukraine at present there are about 300 thousand participants of the military operations, a bulk of which have returned to civilian life. Now the Ukrainian society is faced with a challenge: to help veterans to adapt to civilian life and to come together in order to help people who have similar ‘post-war’ difficulties. The International Renaissance Foundation in recent years has been reacting promptly to such challenges: in 2014-2015 the Foundation supported over 30 non-governmental organizations that were helping displaced persons from the East of Ukraine and Crimea. Starting from 2015 the Foundation supported 35 organizations that deal with social adaptation of the ATO veterans.

According to Stanislav Lyachynsky, Director of the International Renaissance Foundation’s Program Initiative “Civic Initiatives of New Ukraine”, before 2017 the Foundation dedicated its efforts to supporting civic initiatives focusing at the psychological and legal assistance as well as new models of employment for the ATO veterans. One of such projects is the social business incubator “New Countdown” in Kyiv, Kharkiv, Odessa and Lviv. Now there is a need to support projects designed to solve new challenges.

“Today there is a need in bringing together those with similar life experiences and providing quality services for the ATO veterans in the newly created territorial communities. The projects aiming to create sustainable models of social adaptation of the ATO members, which the Foundation supports in 2017, are focusing at the development of a more comprehensive approach to assistance to veterans that will take into account these needs”, - said Stanislav Lyachynsky.

The participants of the round table concluded that solving the problem of social adaptation of the ATO veterans would require concerted actions in the triangle “veterans – society – government”. Previously it took some time to understand the nature and extent of the problem. Today it is clear that the process of adaptation of veterans in different regions is taking place in different ways, depending on the capacity, cohesion and activity of the ATO veterans’ organizations.

 “The social adaption of the ATO veterans is a complex issue. It should not consist of individual projects. By creating a platform, an amalgam of civic projects we can achieve results. Legal aid or funding only are not enough. It is necessary to form cycles. For example, together with the employment centers it is necessary to create retraining centers. For the authorities of Dnipro this is a priority number one, that we already have an idea of creating “veterans’ houses”, where you can find partners for projects”, said Maxim Musika, advisor to Dnipro city mayor.

According to Head of “The Legal Hundred” Lesya Vasilenko, the next step should be the development of the nationwide targeted program for social rehabilitation and adaptation of the ATO participants, including using the experience of local authorities that have already managed to implement such programs. Non-governmental organization can join the efforts to create such a program, but in parts where you want to make specific calculations the state government bodies should join, especially those responsible for the ATO members register maintenance.

“The public and the veteran community should more actively cooperate with the state government bodies. The concept of the nationwide targeted program of the social rehabilitation and adaptation of the ATO members may encourage unity among different veterans’ communities. However, to achieve such unity each of these groups must first realize their unique needs, to meet which the state must find adequate instruments”,   - said Lesya Vasylenko.

According to Head of the Pridneprovsky regional representative office of the International Renaissance Foundation Vladyslav Romanov, non-governmental organizations of the ATO veterans from Mykolayiv, Vinnitsya, Kharkiv regions demonstrate success stories to solve the problems of veterans through the creation of businesses, assistance in housing construction, social protection of veterans and their families. At the same time some veterans’ organizations from other regions still continues to be looking for the best models of activities. 12 projectssupportedbytheFoundationwithintheframeworkofthecompetition PromotingsustainablemodelsofsocialadaptationoftheATOmemberscreateakindofanindicativeplatformforknowledgesharingandnewefficientpracticesamongveteransorganizations”, - summed up Vladislav Romanov.

For additional comments on the “Civic Initiative of the New Ukraine” projects of the International Renaissance Foundation you can contact the program director StanislavLyachynsky by e-mail pr@irf.kiev.ua.

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