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Transport blockade can leave Donbas children without vacation


After the introduction of new permit rules to Donbas, there is a problem for ordinary people to transport their children, participants of Rinat Akhmetov Humanitarian Center's program, across the contact line, so that they have rest and get healthier in the summer camp on the shores of the Sea of Azov.

As known, in June Rinat Akhmetov Humanitarian Center announced about the start of the program "Peaceful summer for Donbas children".  According to this program it is planned to send 500 children, residing in Donetsk and Luhansk regions, to Fakel summer camp in Berdiansk. The vacation vouchers are free.  There are two shifts, 14 days each.  Sea, sun, entertainment and psychological support for children - what could be better!

Practically during a week 677 children from 8 to 14 years old were registered on Humanitarian Center's website, 256 of them are internally displaced children, and 421 are children living in ATO area. Parents were filing applications, the Humanitarian Center was processing documents, boys and girls were happily waiting for the upcoming holiday. Until the 16th of June, when the Security Service of Ukraine promulgated a new edition of "Temporary order for contact line crossing".

According to paragraph 1.6 of the renewed order, "crossing the line of contact on public passenger transport is prohibited" except for occasional transportations, such as departure of refugees.  The coordination centre stated that the contact line can be crossed in "a passenger transport or using the services of private transporters, taxi".

After the adopted changes the parents of children, who are living in ATO area and registered in summer vacation program, started massively calling the Humanitarian Center's hotline.

"We are getting calls from disturbed parents. The demand for summer vacations for children is very high. People are really willing to take the advantage of the Humanitarian Center's proposal, as they are in a difficult financial situation and cannot provide their children with health improving vacation, –  Iryna Sobol, Program Coordinator of "Peaceful summer for Donbas children!", said. – Before the adoption of new permit regime rules, parents were willing to take their children to the camp by shuttle buses themselves. But it’s too expensive for them to hire a private transporter, that's why the parents started to express their fears now and some of them even refuse to participate in the project. But children really need this vacation!"

Rinat Akhmetov Humanitarian Center is monitoring the situation and hopes that all the issues regarding contact line crossing will be regulated soon. And it means that children will be able to rest and get healthier.

"All parents want their children to be healthy and happy. And we hope that the program will be a joyful two-week vacation for children and give them peaceful summer and hope for peace" – Rimma Fil, the Coordinator of Rinat Akhmetov Humanitarian Center, says.