The Russian invasion of Ukraine has caused one of the greatest humanitarian crises in the last decades in Europe. In such conditions, vulnerable groups such as LGBTQI+ people get hit the hardest. Thanks to the generosity of our donors and partners, NGO Women Association Sphere has been able to continue our work to offer non-violent […]
The Russian invasion of Ukraine has caused one of the greatest humanitarian crises in the last decades in Europe. In such conditions, vulnerable groups such as LGBTQI+ people get hit the hardest. Thanks to the generosity of our donors and partners, NGO Women Association Sphere has been able to continue our work to offer non-violent resistance to the Russian military aggression in Ukraine and ensure proper support for the local LGBTQI+ community.
Our work currently includes three main pillars: informational support, mental support and financial support.
Our informational support consists of constant and close contact with our community members. We run chats on different platforms and keep our social media active and responsive. We organise weekly live sessions on Instagram with other activists and organisations to keep the community informed about their work and opportunities. We also offer our community links to resources and databases we gathered on relocation to western regions of Ukraine and the EU, basic safety rules and travel advice. We want to keep our community safe and protected.
The second pillar is mental support. Sphere currently runs chats of psychological support based on the ‘equal-to-equal’ approach, where we have over 150 members of the community gathered. On top of that, Sphere also holds weekly mental support groups to help the community adapt to new realities, socialise and enjoy judgement-free space for expression.
The last pillar is direct financial support. Sphere has been running the programme since 18 March, and during the first month of the programme (until 18/04), we received 515 requests for aid. Out of those, we were able to support 347 members of the community. On average, we received 17 requests per day. In total, the organisation has provided aid for about $25 400 to cover the needs of the community.
The most essential categories of needs were food, medical treatment (examinations, medication, psychotherapeutic care) and accommodation (rent, utilities). Since our organisation has been working in Kharkiv for almost 14 years, our focus has always been on the eastern regions of Ukraine, so the largest number of applications came from there. However, we also provided support to people who remained in the war zone and those who were forced to relocate to other parts of the country.
”Our partnership with COC Nederland has been long-lasting and fruitful. For over 3 years, the fund supported us with different grants to implement our activities. The communication between us has always been effective and respectful, and the cooperation we have built over the years is something to be proud of. During the war, COC has been very flexible and supportive, and their support allowed us to promptly respond to the community’s needs. We are very grateful to the fund and hope to continue our cooperation in the future.”
In terms of assistance from other donors, Sphere currently requires institutional support to continue the organisation’s development and foster resistance to future challenges. We are developing concepts of long-term projects to bring back the engagement of the LGBTQI+ community, help socialise the internally-displaced members and integrate them into the local communities. We remain committed to working for and helping LGBTQI+ people during the war and after it.