The third Re:Open Zakarpattia Forum of ideas and solutions has recently taken place in the region. This year’s event, organized by the NGO "Institute for Central European Strategy" with the support of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), was dedicated to the role of Zakarpattia as a reliable rear of Ukraine in the war with Russia, a bridgehead for European and Euro-Atlantic integration and future reconstruction of the country.
The Charitable Organization "Medical Aid Committee in Zakarpattya" actively participated in the organization and discussions of the Forum. The Director of the Committee Nataliya Kabatsiy moderated the panel "How Ukraine can build a military rehabilitation system: Zakarpattia as a historical health resort of Europe" and was a speaker on the implementation of effective practices of IDPs integration within the panel moderated by Kateryna Irkha, the communicator of the CO "MACZ".
– I don’t really like to talk about integration, because for me it’s always a story about people. That’s why I think it’s better to solidarize rather than integrate. The work of the Committee with IDPs began back in 2014, when Crimea was annexed. We knew the outcome of the Russian referendum in advance, so further challenges were obvious. And we had to respond to them as a group, so we asked the community if they were ready. That’s how we came up with the initiative to hold the event "Crimea is Ukraine", where we called on conscious people to accept Crimean IDPs who, for obvious reasons, left their homes and came to Zakarpattia. At the same time, a list of those who were ready to temporarily provide housing and support appeared. Thus, we saw the potential of society for consolidation and joint actions. Therefore, I emphasize again that people are the core of all these processes. Of course, Donbas was next, a larger flow of people, but we were ready and had experience", – Nataliya Kabatsiy noted during the discussion.
Russia’s full-scale military invasion of Ukraine on February 24 predictably led to a large flow of people fleeing to Zakarpattia to escape the danger caused by the war. However, the experience gained in previous years allowed us to respond quickly to new challenges. While in the first days of the invasion the team of the CO "MACZ" was buying mattresses and blankets in all possible locations in Ukraine and abroad, communication was carried out with foreign partners who also promptly joined the work. The Committee received the first humanitarian aid on February 26.
As of today, realizing that a mattress is not a salvation, the organization has initiated the opening and support of several shelters in the region. These facilities are now home to IDPs, mostly women and children. Of course, as part of its ongoing daily work, the Committee has implemented many different necessary and much in-demand initiatives for people in need. You can read a little bit about it via the active links. And we continue to work.
We invite you to watch and listen to the current discussions in the recording of the Re:Open Zakarpattia Forum broadcast.