These days marked the tragic anniversary of one year after the Russian invasion in Ukraine. As you could read in this newsletter throughout the year, EBU has undertaken a number of actions since the beginning of the war, thanks to the generous support provided by some of you!
While we all recognise that all our best efforts can only be a drop in the ocean, our help brought some relief to blind and partially sighted people from Ukraine. The following are key actions we could achieve with your help;
Through the Finish Abilis Foundation, three grassroot DPOs in Ukraine received support allowing them to provide shelter and emergency aid for internally displaced Ukrainians from the blindness community. Also, an organisation led by blind and partially sighted lawyers, could maintain their services despite the war.
Our Romanian member could host, at their premisses, a family of which two members were blind without waiting for the slow governmental support.
UTOS, our own Ukrainian member, was enabled to continue to run their educational and rehabilitation centres, including in the various regions of the country.
With the help of the National Assembly of Persons with Disabilities from Ukraine, people who acquired sight loss due to the war could receive advice and support how to cope with this. Also, an educational centre could be partially repaired.
Please read their powerful testimonial. They provide a much better overview of what they achieved with our support than I could summarise in this article, but you can also hear even more about our collective efforts to support our Ukrainian friends in a recent interview I made with Peter White on the BBC Radio In Touch programme.
As you can see, our collective efforts can make a real difference. In that sense, I am renewing our call to make contributions to our Solidarity Fund, dedicated section to helping Ukraine. Please get back in touch with me should you need further information.
Lars Bosselmann, EBU Executive Director.
Assistance for People with Visual Impairments in and from Ukraine
More than 80 persons with visual impairments from the most war-affected communities of Chernihiv, Zaporizhzhia, Kherson, Sumy, Donetsk, and Kyiv regions have received financial support from the European Blind Union. The assistance was provided in accordance with Ukraine’s legislation, on the basis of official letters from public organizations of people with disabilities (with visual impairments) to the NAPD Secretariat and in response to individual appeals from the people.
Also, the repair works in the Center for internally displaced persons (Ukrainian Society of the Blind) in Dnipro city were supported. This Center was damaged by a rocket hit on November 26, 2022. Currently, about one hundred people are living there on a permanent basis.
“Owing to the received financial aid, we have been able to partially repair the premises so that the people could continue living there,” says Serhii Kit, director of the enterprise belonging to the Ukrainian Society of the Blind.
The support was provided to enable further operation of the Informative and Consultative “Hub for Blind», supported by the All-Ukrainian League of the Organizations of Persons with Visual Disabilities ‘THE MODERN LOOK.’ During the month of the Hub’s operation, more than one hundred people who lost their eyesight in the wartime and their family members have applied for help.
“We are thankful for the support to the European Blind Union. The number of the Hub’s hotline phone calls is increasing every day. Our group of consultants fully consists of people with visual impairments, and it is gradually transforming into a multidisciplinary online-team providing assistance and consulting on a big variety of issues. The scope of the issues varies from the questions on where to obtain rehabilitation and a walking cane to how one’s home can be adjusted, how to learn to differentiate the clothes by colors, how to cook food, how to learn living independently, and other issues.”
Lesia Perepechenko, Public Union “All-Ukrainian League of Organizations of Persons with Visual Disabilities ‘MODERN LOOK’
The National Assembly of People with Disabilities expresses its gratitude to the European Blind Union for the provided targeted financial support to people with visual impairments.