Three New Public Spaces Were Established in Donbas
This month, three public spaces in Donetsk and Luhansk regions were established within the project “I Can” in frames of the direct aid programme of the Australian Embassy in Ukraine. Such hubs are designed to inspire local communities, create more opportunities for young people and children, promote an integration of IDPs through educative activities, public entertainment events, cultural initiatives and professional training.
This project is carried out by Ukraine NGO Forum. Local NGOs are responsible for the creation and development of hubs in each of three cities: “Vostok SOS” in Severodonetsk (Luhansk region), NGO “Altanka” in Lyman (Donetsk region), and NGO “SAC Active community” in Starobilsk (Luhansk region) . Each public space has its history, audience specifics and different ambitions, but they are united under the motto “I can”, by the desire to change their cities, act for the benefit of the local community and aspiring to overcome social challenges together.
Several hundred people are involved in the hubs’ activities. They participate in the initiated festivals, English lessons, environmental events, family clubs, workshops, meetings with opinion leaders, art classes, educational events, flash mobs, film screenings, psychosocial support providing, experience exchanges with other organisations etc.
Establishment of three hubs in Donbas was supported by the Embassy of Australia that provided financial support through direct assistance program (Direct Aid Program – DAP). DAP is the program of small grants funded by Australia aid budget and it covers different areas such as education, health, water supply and sanitary issues, environment, empowerment of women and gender equality, support for people with disabilities, food security and human rights. DAP projects involve a wide range of partners and activists. In the years 2016-2017 Australian Embassy supports six DAP projects in the Donetsk, Luhansk, Dnipropetrovsk, Kyiv and Ivano-Frankivsk regions.
The initiators of hubs establishment in Donbas believe that these public spaces will create more activists and they will be able to give them more opportunities to implement their ideas. Now there are more than 200 active NGOs and initiatives in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions. Ukraine NGO Forum with financial support from the British Embassy and the initiative of the NGO “Donbass SOS” recently sustained opening of one more hub especially for the development of public activism in Kramatorsk. New public space acts as a place for meetings, training, counselling and consulting. It is expected that in the future this hub will provide opportunities for the institutional development and facilitate active interaction between NGOs, government, international donors, local communities, businesses, media and public.