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The mission that has become history: an exhibition of the Humanitarian Center was opened in Mariupol


On January 22 in the historical Museum of Ilyich Mariupol Metallurgical Plant an exhibition, dedicated to the activities of the largest humanitarian mission in Ukraine – Rinat Akhmetov Humanitarian Center, was opened. This is the first of six permanent exhibitions to be presented in the museums of the SCM Group enterprises. The exhibition tells about the people who, having forgotten about themselves, not sparing themselves, have been helping Donbas civilians, who found themselves in the zone of military conflict, for more than three years. It is about the most difficult and tragic days that the volunteers have managed to survive. It is about the unique role of the Humanitarian Center in the history of Ukraine.

“The Humanitarian Center was established on August 6, 2014 on behalf of Rinat Akhmetov. He united the resources of all businesses of SCM Group, Rinat Akhmetov Foundation and FC “Shakhtar”. The mission of the Center has indeed become historical. After all, during its work, more than a million people were saved! This is a unique data of a national scale,” Oleksandr Vyshniakov, director of Rinat Akhmetov Humanitarian Center, said at the opening ceremony of the exhibition. “I would especially like to note the special role of volunteers, without them this noble mission could not be carried out. For more than three years, employees of SCM Group enterprises have been dedicatedly helping those in need. In Mariupol only, they collected and packed about one and a half million survival kits, delivered by humanitarian convoys. Today I want to thank these people for their open hearts and for their invaluable contribution to this noble work.”

The first humanitarian aid convoy arrived in Mariupol on August 22, 2014 - 60 trucks with food and daily necessities. And already at 8 am on August 23 more than 150 volunteers of Ilyich Iron and Steel Works together with their colleagues from Azovstal were engaged in unloading humanitarian aid and creating product packages intended for 200,000 internally displaced persons from Donetsk and Luhansk regions. From 8 in the morning till 10 in the evening, for days on end, the employees of the SCM Group's enterprises took over the uninterrupted watch without days off to help the civilians of Donbas.

Their volunteer activity did not stop even on the most difficult and tragic day for Mariupol - January 24, 2015, when Vostochnyi district was attacked by MRLS ‘Grad’ shelling. Then 31 civilians died, more than 100 were injured, the infrastructure of the city was destroyed, and mobile communications were absent. Nevertheless, volunteers from the Humanitarian Center did not stop their work and did not give in to panic - they continued to collect product packages. Everyone understood: if the car with the aid was not sent now, within the shortest possible time, tomorrow the checkpoints might prevent to deliver the assistance to those who needed it and hoped for it.

 “I am very proud to note that the activities of the Humanitarian Center in Mariupol have been organized at a high level since the very first days of the outbreak of hostilities in the east of Ukraine,” Taras Shevchenko, General Director of Ilyich Mariupol Metallurgical Plant, said during the opening ceremony of the exhibition. “And an important role in this was played by the employees of our plant. It was them who formed the backbone of the volunteers who, in any weather, on any day of the week, gave all their strength to form the packages in time to deliver them further to all our compatriots who needed help. Today the Ilyich Plant workers continue their volunteer mission with firm conviction that they are doing a necessary and important work, they help and give hope to Donbas residents.

Help, support and compassion are the qualities that our employees were always distinguished with. It was so in all times. And this will remain unchanged. In support of my words, I want to recall at least one fact that our people were among the first to arrive in Vostochnyi district in the first hours after the shelling. They helped the residents to warm their houses, put things in order on the streets. And then they were engaged in glazing of apartments, repair of private houses and institutions of the district. The  Ilyich Plant workers left it only when the usual way of life was restored, the houses were repaired, and the children returned to schools and kindergartens.

The exhibition devoted to the history of the Humanitarian Center is not only a tribute to all volunteers, it is also an excellent example for the younger generation - an example of honour, a sense of duty, compassion and love for the people and our motherland.”

The exposition presents photo and video materials, articles and documents covering the activities of the Humanitarian Center and the dedicated work of volunteers. You can also read the entries in the guest books here - the memories of the mission; you can see the layout of the standard “survival kit” and a ticket for its receipt. Now it's museum relics.

And the Humanitarian Center, which has issued about 12 million product packages for the past three and a half years, continues to provide assistance to the Donbas civilians and to fulfil its main task - to save lives.