Volunteering without limits: how people with disabilities help during a full-scale war

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Disability is not an obstacle to volunteering, even during a full-scale war. This is proven by the heroes who, despite extremely difficult conditions, do everything possible to help other people. In peacetime, they actively defended the rights of people with disabilities and fought for a barrier-free environment. Already at the beginning of the full-scale invasion, their work turned into volunteer movements. Some help with evacuation or humanitarian work, others raise funds.

We have collected a selection of quotes from people with disabilities, who show by their own example that volunteering has no limits, and everyone can contribute to the victory of Ukraine.

Dmytro Shchebetiuk
Founder of the Dostupno.UA NGO.

Informs people with disabilities about the possibilities of evacuation, receiving financial help, humanitarian aid, as well as employment abroad.

“Everyone is in their place. And it’s great when people do everything they can in their realm. This is how we are bringing the victory of Ukraine closer on all fronts.”

Valentyn Shabunin
Founder of the non-governmental organization Automotive Club of People with Disabilities, Porshen Volyn, mechanic at the Porshen car workshop in Lutsk.

Repairs cars for the Armed Forces and sends them to the front. Adapts cars for soldiers with disabilities.

“Our boys are going to the victory. There will be a victory. We believe in it and will do everything for it.”

Yurii Ponkin
Head of the Movement without Borders NGO, deputy of the Terniv District Council in Kryvyi Rih.

Evacuates people with disabilities from Kryvyi Rih and provides them with humanitarian aid, helps to furnish accommodation in the city. Also organizes the collection of necessary equipment and funds for the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

“I work calmly, I help people and the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Of course, this peace is not absolute. But no matter how it beats inside, you remain a rock on the outside, because other people and circumstances depend on your condition. Therefore… Keep calm and help Ukraine!”

Uluana and Vitalii Pcholkin
Public activists, leaders of the Active Rehabilitation Group NGO.

They evacuate people with spinal cord injuries, help them and their families with humanitarian aid, organize trainings for volunteers on accompanying people with such back injuries who use wheelchairs, as well as give lectures on the features of inclusive accommodation for internally displaced people (IDPs).

“As a society, as a state, we must do everything so that people who suffered injuries during or before the war do not feel abandoned in Ukraine.” (Uliana Pcholkina).

Alla Murizidi
Director of Charity Organization Ukrainian Association Of People With Disabilities

With the support of German organizations, the organization provides humanitarian aid to people with disabilities in Zaporizhzhia. In particular, hygienic and medical products (medicines, tonometers, carts, glucometers) and food products. Assists centers accepting IDPs in Zaporizhzhia. Evacuates people with disabilities from the city and surrounding settlements.

“We are all very much looking forward to the victory. We want to come back home and continue our business — making Zaporizhzhia accessible and inclusive.”

Tatiana Herasimova
Case manager of the Fight For Right NGO

The organization helps people with disabilities to evacuate from the most dangerous places in Donechchyna, in particular from Druzhkivka, Kramatorsk, Kostyantynivka and other nearby towns.

“Everything we do is important. On the front lines, in humanitarian efforts, on the world’s cover pages or in Facebook posts. May all this bring us closer to victory.”

Julia Myroniuk
Public activist

She advocates for the rights of people with disabilities, advises on issues of inclusivity, gives lectures on the housing policy of the state, in particular, regarding IDPs during the post-war reconstruction period and compliance with the requirements of the State Building Regulations.

“Further restoration of the destroyed territories should be based on barrier-free principles. After all, everyone has the right to safety and comfort, which are basic needs.”

Oleg Naumenko
Wheelchair fencer, member of the volunteer organization Volunteers Military Mykolaiv

Together with other Paralympic athletes in Mykolaiv, he manufactures chargers on solar panels and periscopes for the Armed Forces using 3D printers. He also fundraises for the necessary parts for the charges.

“People are united by a single principle: we want to help the Armed Forces of Ukraine, and we help as much as we can.”

The material is prepared by

The author of the project:

Bogdan Logvynenko

Author:

Mariana Senkiv

Editor-in-chief:

Anna Yabluchna

Editor:

Олена Задворна

Photo editor:

Yurii Stefanyak

Content manager:

Kateryna Minkina

Translator:

Hanna Uraieva

Translation editor:

Yuliia Tymoshenko