«We were ready to kiss those brigades», – Donbas residents about the Humanitarian Center volunteers
Three years ago, on May, 21, 2015, the Rinat Akhmetov Humanitarian Center launched an unprecedented project in the east of Ukraine named "Mobile Teams Of Humanitarian Aid Issuance ". The MTHAI became the only saviors for the most vulnerable categories of citizens: elderly persons, disabled people, families with many children and single parents, who had no opportunity to leave the area caught in the web of armed conflict for over a year. The bottom line of the project is that mobile volunteers bring food to people living in small villages and towns where it is difficult to access.
Now, after three years, the initial "here and now" principle can be complemented by the "no other way" principle. Over 12 million food packages on both sides of the front line show that help was needed then and is needed now as well. Residents of 85 villages of the "gray zone", where the mobile teams of the Humanitarian Center deliver assistance to and which are the worst affected by the hostilities, can tell a lot of stories about how they had to survive and what was the role mobile teams of the Humanitarian Center in it.
"In 2015 and 2016 we were living on the edge of a volcano — we were never sure if we see a new day. Attacks were carried out mostly at night, we were staying in cellars, in daytime we were scared to go outside, let alone to go to the shop. We had nothing but preserves which were eaten up very quickly. When a neighbor shouted from behind a gate, that cars of the Akhmetov Humanitarian Center arrived here with food, we didn't believe her at first, we thought that maybe they were just driving by, — recalls Nina Yaremicheva,a pensioner living in the Yasinovatsky district. — It turned out that the food was meant for us. We were so happy to have food! And we were thinking of how to stretch it out. The nearest open shop was 5 kilometers far from us. How is it possible to go there if they shoot? So, we were eating out of stores slowly, and in a month or so volunteers from the Humanitarian Center came here again. We almost cried, we really were ready to kiss those teams. Our life got a little easier, of course, because we had something to eat and we were not forgotten...
It's hard to say that fighting in the east of Ukraine stopped. Shelling and other acts of war are continuing, the news report about civilian casualties more frequently. That is why thousands of people, who are unable to find work, to buy food and medications, to live in peace, still need assistance of the Rinat Akhmetov Humanitarian Center.
According to UN, Ukraine is a single country in Europe whose residents urgently need the humanitarian aid, first of all food products. The main task of the Humanitarian Center is to prevent the humanitarian disaster in Donbas.
"By focusing on people and achieving the lofty goals like the humanitarian disaster prevention the Rinat Akhmetov Foundation established completely new mechanisms and systems of work, developed a unique experience, which it is ready to share. The experience of the Foundation was commended by such major organizations as the UN and the Red Cross, — said Roman Rubchenko, Director of the Foundation.
During three years of activity the Mobile Teams Of Humanitarian Aid Issuance conducted 582 visits and issued 443 703 food packages. We cannot judge if this is too much or too little. Even one saved human life is worth going again and again to the place, where there are no roads and normal life, where a visit of the Mobile Teams Of Humanitarian Aid Issuance is a happy event and a food package is an opportunity to survive and wait for the peace.