Country of Free People is a public organization working to facilitate the engagement and integration of people’s initiatives at different levels to improve Ukrainian society and build a peaceful environment. It was founded on 26 September 2014 in Kramatorsk (Donetsk region).
Its peacebuilding efforts include collecting aid and donations for IDPs and people affected by military action; assisting IDPs and integrating them into the community; develop and introduce new methods of work with youth and the disabled; promote and develop volunteering; give aid and support to IDPs and people affected by military action.
The main activities of the organization take place in two Ukrainian cities: Kramatorsk and Lviv.
In Kramatorsk, to reach its goals, the organization established the ‘Kramatorsk Center for Aiding IDPs’ which helps IDPs through providing humanitarian aid, temporary housing, employment support, legal consultation, psychological and social assistance to people in conflict zones.
In Lviv, the main goal is to provide peacebuilding events aiming to integrate the Ukrainian society and rehabilitate the people affected by the conflict. The main target groups are children and families of IDPs and ATO fighters.
- The provision of food and non-food items (clothes, stationary, hygiene items, toys, games etc) to the affected population. During the period Mai 2014 – November 2015 about 60 000 IDPs and 13000 habitants of the front-line areas received different food parcels.
- The evacuation of civilians during the escalation of the military conflict. During the periods Mai- July 2014 and October 2014 – February 2015 about 4500 evacuated people.
- Rendering assistance in the resettlement of displaced persons, including in the collective center for women and children in Kramatorsk (which is totally at charge of the NGO). Since the beginning of the conflict the organization provided shelter to 510 IDPs in their collective center. 57 IDPs still live there.
- It also organizes cultural, educational, sport events for children to integrate and rehabilitate them into the community and teach them the method of nonviolent communication. More than 2500 children took place in these events.
- Legal Aid, psychological and social assistance to the affected population. There is a hot line for IDPs. About 400 IDPs have received individual psychological consultation and 7 trainings have been conducted thus far.
- Organization of the 7-day rehabilitation camps for children affected by the war with the participation of the art therapists and pedagogues in Kramatorsk.
- Organization of excursions, hiking , cultural exchanges and camps for the affected children within the country. ‘Caravan of friendship’ is a cultural peacebuilding project. Children affected by the war are invited to free camps in Kramatorsk, Odessa, Karpaty etc with a focus on rehabilitation. In order to reduce social tension the children from the conflict zones, children of IDPs and ATO fighters are gathered together. The project is supported by voluntary organisations from USA and Germany.
- Promoting and development of volunteering. A team of 20 volunteers in Kramatorsk and 10 volunteers in Lviv are working constantly engaging more volunteers for different projects especially among youth if necessary. Volunteer schools have been established. About 50 people have participated in these trainings.