Humanitarian/Medical News

New Branches for Dzherelo in Lviv

Dzherelo Children’s Rehab Centre in Lviv is growing new branches. No longer will all programs be provided from the one centre on Chervonoyi Kalyny Avenue. Dzherelo is expanding and developing its programming for children with special needs by getting ready to establish a sixth satellite branch!

For over 25 years, Dzherelo Children’s Rehabilitation Centre has been operating as an independent facility in Lviv, focusing on the consultation, rehabilitation treatment, education and counselling of both children with special needs and their families. For too long, many of these children had been hidden from mainstream society, locked up in homes and prevented from attending school. So, while Ukraine’s education system is slowly adapting to inclusive education close to special needs students’ homes, Dzherelo is also making strides in this direction. The new Dzherelo satellite branches are located in residential neighbourhoods outside the Lviv city centre, offering services closer to the homes where the children live. These new satellite projects are necessary to reduce the stressful, costly and lengthy travel time and ultimately improve families’ quality of life.

The Dzherelo team is constantly working on updating and improving their programs. Since 2018, they have opened five satellite branches of Dzherelo in different areas of Lviv city. The satellites and expansion of programs are only possible with the City Council’s financial help, other government levels, and community fundraising. Together, with each partner’s contribution, it becomes possible to renovate, furnish, and install the facilities’ special equipment. Only then can the staff, trained at Dzherelo, begin taking in and integrating the children planning to attend.

With five branch satellites operating, the next challenge is expanding the Dzherelo Centre’s programs by opening branch No.6 in Vynnyky (a suburb of Lviv).  The facility will have a total area of nearly 300 square meters and offer daycare programs for ten younger children plus ten youths with special needs living nearby. The availability of services close to home is paramount for the children and their families health and welfare.

Lviv City Council had made a specific funding decision to allocate an appropriate building for use by Dzherelo. The local city administration provided such a building, and in due course, other government levels were also committed to funding the costs involved in building improvements and specific adaptations.  

Dzherelo satellite branch No.6 now requires about $23,000 (500 thousand hryvnias) to furnish the premises with specially adapted furniture, a projector, a computer, some mobile and ceiling lifts. 

To ensure this funding and the completion of this expansion project, Canadian donors have volunteered to supply the required portion of the costs, as indicated by the Lviv Regional (Oblast) Council’s budget proposal.  Druzi Dzherela, through the Canada-Ukraine Foundation (CUF), is committed to providing the promised community contribution funds.

You can donate to this worthwhile project through Druzi Dzherela in Toronto with the Canada-Ukraine Foundation’s help. Your generosity will ensure the successful and timely completion of Dzherelo satellite branch No.6 for the benefit of Lviv’s special children!

For more information about Dzherelo, please view their website at

To donate, contact the Canada-Ukraine Foundation at 


The Foundation Congratulates Roman Yereniuk

The Canada-Ukraine Foundation is proud to congratulate Roman Yereniuk on being recognized as an Honour 150 recipient in honour of the 150th anniversary of the Province of Manitoba.

Honour 150 recognizes 150 people from across the Province who give back to the community and enrich the places in which we live, work, play, and come together in unity. Nominated by members of their own communities in 2020, these 150 individuals represent the diversity of the province.

CUF Past President Victor Hetmanczuk said: “Roman’s work on the Liubov-Love Fund dovetails wonderfully with the humanitarian mission of the Canada-Ukraine Foundation. We are profoundly grateful for his efforts in organising the volunteers of the Fund for these many years and applaud this recognition as he sets an example for all Canadians to emulate.”

Read Roman’s full writeup here.



The Canada-Ukraine Foundation (“CUF”) went through a changing of “the Diplomatic Guard” at its recent Board of Directors meeting on January 30th, 2021.

Canada’s former Ambassador to Ukraine Derek Fraser – one of CUF’s longest serving Board members – where he served for over 13 ½  years – retired from active service, and was replaced by Roman Waschuk, Canada’s most recent former Ambassador.

The Board of CUF heartily thanked Ambassador Fraser for his service to Canada and to CUF, and warmly welcomed Ambassador Waschuk to the Board.

Derek Fraser served as Canada’s Ambassador to Ukraine from 1998 to 2001, during the latter part of the Kuchma Presidency and Victor Yuschenko’s Prime Ministership. He also served as Canada’s Ambassador to Greece and Budapest during the years of the Fall of the Soviet Union, and had previously served in Saigon, Bonn, Moscow, and Brussels – all major postings during critical times. He returned to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs after his Kyiv posting, and was considered as one of the Deans of the Diplomatic Corps. He retired from the service to move to Victoria, B.C., became Adjunct Professor at the Centre for Global Studies at the University of Victoria, and shortly thereafter in 2007 joined the CUF Board.

In thanking Derek for his years of service to CUF, the Chair of the Board, Bohdan Onyschuk, said: “The Ambassador gave us great advice for almost 14 years on civil society, politics, who was who in Ukraine, and what directions we should go. But Derek also went well beyond that expected of a Board member, when in 2012 he agreed to take on the role of Head of Mission and Chief Observer of the Long-Term Observer (LTO) Mission that CUF fielded for the 2012 Parliamentary Elections -the most critical Ukraine election during President Yanukovych’s term in office as President from 2010 to 2014. CUF fielded the first LTO to a Ukrainian election by any NGO (other than that of the OSCE) from July 5, 2012 to the October 28 elections. His reports on the gerrymandering of electoral boundaries, vote buying, pressure on journalists and attack on the TVI news channel and its owner, were all important findings that lead to only one conclusion on that election.”

Derek Fraser will continue to serve on the CUF/International Foundation Fundraising Committee for the new National Holodomor Museum being built in Kyiv, for which CUF is the North American and European fundraising partner of the International Foundation for the Museum in Kyiv.

The CUF Board then turned to welcoming former Ambassador Roman Waschuk to its Board.

Ambassador Waschuk is very well known for his achievements in diplomatic circles, particularly for his double tour of duty during trying times as Canada’s Ambassador to Ukraine from 2014 to 2019,  and the Russian invasion of Crimea and the Donbass.

He previously served as Ambassador to Serbia, with concurrent accreditation to Macedonia and Montenegro in the Balkans. Before that he had served as second secretary for politics in Moscow, as minister-counsellor in Berlin, and senior advisor in Kyiv in counsellor positions going back to 1994-98. In Ottawa, between postings, he held positions of deputy director of the EU Division, deputy director of the Policy Planning Division, director of the Global Partnership for Biological and Chemical Weapons Non-proliferation, and director of the Stabilization and Reconstruction Program Division.

Derek Fraser commented on Roman Waschuk’s achievements, saying: “Roman was identified as one of the brightest people dealing with Eastern Europe after only one month of service as a very young man in the Canadian embassy in Moscow in the 1980’s.” As Director of Relations in Eastern Europe and in subsequent postings Derek followed Roman Waschuk’s career closely. He opined that he was “very confident Roman will be able to provide a lot of diplomatic background relating to CUF”.

Roman Waschuk will be a terrific replacement to Derek Fraser and will serve alongside CUF’s other Canadian Ambassador to Ukraine, Andrew Robinson, who served in Kyiv during the Orange Revolution. Ambassador Waschuk’s knowledge of the current situation on the ground in Ukraine, in economics, politics, civil society and rule of law will be invaluable to CUF in its strategic planning and delivery of projects in Ukraine for its development as a strong democratic post-Soviet nation. He will also join the CUF/International Foundation Fundraising Committee for the new National Holodomor Museum project in Kyiv.

The CEO of CUF, Orest Sklierenko, said: “Ambassador Fraser – we are truly grateful for your years of service to the people of Canada, the people of Ukraine and as a board member of the Canada-Ukraine Foundation. Your advice has helped CUF deliver on its mandate of providing assistance projects to Ukraine for over 13.5 years. Ambassador Waschuk, we are equally grateful to you for your service and we look forward to learning from your experiences, insights, and knowledge. Today’s transition between the former ambassadors on CUF’s Board of Directors demonstrates the importance of institutional memory and thoughtful succession planning. The continued commitment from both Ambassador Waschuk and Ambassador Robinson underlines the importance of the role CUF will continue to play in providing assistance to Ukraine in the areas of Healthcare, Education and Civil Society for many years to come.”


A Message from the President and CEO of CUF

Dear Friends and Supporters of the Canada Ukraine Foundation,

As we approach the holiday season, it is my pleasure to give a brief update from the Canada Ukraine Foundation. It is my hope this update will remind you of the important role CUF plays in the Ukrainian Canadian community and overall supporting much needed projects and programs in Ukraine, give you a glimpse into how CUF is evolving, and motivate you to consider supporting CUF’s continued work by making a donation today.

New faces on the CUF Board and Leadership Team

A year ago, CUF’s board evolved and brought in several new faces, and I am delighted have assumed the role of President partway through this year, at the AGM in June.

I have had the pleasure to work with many of you in the past. Some of our paths may have crossed as far back as my time with the Ukrainian Students’ Club at U of T more than 20 years ago now, or in various performing and leadership roles at the Ukrainian Bandurist Chorus of North America for over 3 decades. More recently, perhaps we collaborated during my time leading the committee in support of Ukrainian Schools at UCC Toronto and helping coordinate this key stakeholder group for UCC National over the past 5 years. I have also had the privilege of serving on the Board of Directors of the Shevchenko Foundation over the past 5 years, contributing to the governance and nominating committee’s accomplishments, as well as supporting important projects including: MITACS, The Tryzub Awards, and the REACH program.

I am excited about my new role with the Canada Ukraine Foundation (CUF) and am honoured to help lead the organization over the next several years as President. One of my early tasks in this role is to lead the creation of a new strategic plan to ensure CUF programs and projects are relevant in today’s world, aligned to the needs of their recipients, and properly and appropriately coordinated as we play a lead role in the overall diaspora efforts in helping Ukraine.

As I assume this role, it is my hope to bring my experiences from my professional career and my community involvement to build on the foundation of excellence that exists in the foundation. Although there are new faces joining the board and assuming some of the leadership roles, we are blessed to have the support of not one, but three(!) former presidents of CUF on the board… a laudable example of dedication and care, as well as respect for the importance of institutional memory and succession planning. We are grateful to those who have come before us and those continue to be involved for helping make CUF what it is today. What this means it the executive will be steering the ship with the help of a strong and diverse board. I will also endeavour to support and enable the programming committees as they build, launch, and execute the identified priority programs to the best of my ability. Today’s CUF leadership is merely helping hand the Foundation over from those who made it what it is today, to the generations who follow us and will make it even better than our wildest dreams.

The Pandemic

As you know, in March, everything ground to a halt. The board called a snap meeting and decided to postpone all CUF-related travel until at least labour day. That was subsequently extended to end 2020 and beyond.

We need to recognize that many among us experienced a significant increase in workload in both professional and home schedules despite being home-bound through much of the ongoing pandemic. However, we have found a way to get it done… in many instances in with the support of our partners, parents, children, and grandchildren. And it is those youngest members of our community who have had to be the most resilient through this, those who unfortunately will be paying for this the longest, and at the end of the day, the reason we do what we do here at the Foundation. This is not “our foundation”. We are merely biding our time here as caretakers of this foundation for the future generations who will make it greater than any of us would have ever imagined.

Times of crises bring out the best in people and the worst in people. At times of crises we see some leaders shine while others crumble or fade into obscurity. We see evil thrive while good must galvanize to resist it. The need for the good work accomplished by our projects is greater than ever, and the external environment in which we must operate is more complex than ever. Although slowing and delaying some CUF programs and projects, the pandemic did present opportunities for launching and partnering on new projects which emerged from needs stemming from the pandemic. These projects are highlighted in other stories/posts you can find here: and on our social media channels.

CUF Evolution

The pandemic also offered an opportunity to evolve CUF, do some housekeeping, and take advantage of being homebound. We focused on refreshing the strategic plan and I’d like to commend the board for their commitment over an extensive process, four planning sessions, three working sessions, 8 guest speakers and over 400 total man-hours spent between early July and October. A summary of the outputs of this process, CUF’s strategic direction over the next 3-5 years, will be included in a separate post/story. In short, internally we will focus on capacity building and the requisite fundraising, improving communications and board engagement & succession planning. We have also identified external opportunities to expand collaboration, streamline the project funding process and leverage technological support across all our projects and programs. Finally, we have also started work on evolving our technological capabilities, our communications with stakeholders, and our financial systems and processes, so in short, lots of work underway… stay tuned!

As a part of our evolution, it is our intention to have more regular communications with our ever-growing pool of stakeholders. As such, you will see a CUF newsletter coming several times a year, with regular social media posts profiling key projects and programs, partner organizations and board members, as well as key events, commemorations, anniversaries, and milestones.

We thank you for your support over 25 years and look forward to your continued support over the next 25. Please visit to make a donation today.

On behalf of the leadership team of the Canada Ukraine Foundation, please accept our most sincere wishes for a safe, happy, and healthy holiday season, and a blessed, prosperous, and joyous 2021.

Христос Рождається!

Merry Christmas!

Orest Sklierenko

Humanitarian/Medical News

Health Advisory Committee Update

The Canada-Ukraine Foundation’s (CUF) Health Advisory Team (HAT) aims to be the partner of choice for Ukrainian healthcare institutions, NGOs, and various levels of government health ministries to build capability and capacity within Ukrainian healthcare systems and communities. Through CUF supported and sponsored programs and projects, we promote health by enabling organizations, healthcare practitioners and healthcare promotion advocates to improve the healthcare in the communities that they serve.

The Health Advisory Team was responsible for supporting and implementing a number of critical health initiatives in 2019-2020. Through its collaborations, partnerships and initiatives it was able to bring such programs as the Sunnybrook Ukraine Surgical Educational initiative formalized in September 2019, to hospitals in Lviv, Ukraine.

This three-year initiative partners the Sunnybrook Health Science Centre (through the support of the Sunnybrook Foundation and its donors, in particular, the Temerty Foundation and Ihnatowycz Foundations), Canada-Ukraine Foundation, and three hospitals in Lviv to provide education and training to medical specialists in Ukraine. Dr. Oleh Antonyshyn leads a team of surgeons, anesthesiologists and nurses in providing education and training to medical specialists in Ukraine in the fields of microsurgery, craniofacial reconstruction and upper extremity reconstruction.

The program is delivered through advisory missions, live surgery demonstrations, and focused symposia, workshops and educational observerships. The first mission was conducted in October 2019 with a team of six specialists The Canadian team together, with their Ukrainian colleagues completed a total of 25 surgical procedures on patients ranging from 9 to 65 years of age. As part of the program, 138 participants, from various disciplines and from all parts of Ukraine participated in a nationwide symposium covering topics in craniofacial surgery and microsurgery organized by the Canadian team. In addition to the training provided, 460kg of medical equipment and supplies valued at $250,000 CAD was left at the hospitals for their use.

The novel coronavirus pandemic disrupted plans to launch the second mission but work is on-going to develop the initiative and implement new programs.

The pandemic restrictions brought to light other needs that CUF was able to address and support. At the start of the quarantine almost 50,000 children were sent home from orphanages “Internaty” to their biological families who were ill-equipped to welcome their children home. CUF in cooperation with Help Us Help and supported by Ukrainian Canadian Congress and MEEST and in partnership with the Ombudsman for Children with the President of Ukraine provided food and hygiene kits to 250 families in the Zhytomyr Oblast whose children were sent home due to the pandemic.

The ultimate goal of the project was to help facilitate deinstitutionalization reforms in the country that will ensure every child grows up with their family or in a similar family-like setting.

Around the globe, the pandemic is first and foremost on everyone’s mind, but the ongoing war with Russia in Eastern Ukraine isn’t far from our thoughts. The war has left thousands of Ukrainian Veterans with physical and mental trauma that the country’s health system is trying to treat. Through a generous donation by the Dnipro Cultural Centre Oshawa Fund, CUF was able to support the psychological treatment of 50 female veterans and soldiers at The Center of Psychological Counseling & Traumatherapy “Open Doors”. At the start of the project, the mental health specialists at The Open Doors Center in Kyiv provided in-person treatment to the patients, but with the pandemic, they were able to adapt to the restrictions and provide on-line services as well as treatment in the military hospital for those hospitalized. 

Holodomor National Awareness Tour News

Holodomor National Awareness Tour Update

The 2020 COVID-19 pandemic has brought many changes to how organizations operate, and the Holodomor National Awareness Tour has seen its share of the change.  Being a hands-on entity where visiting schools and hosting community events is a vital component of our work, we had to adapt to a larger on-line presence during these unprecedented times while the Holodomor Mobile Classroom awaits the clearance to be on the road once again.

Even though our monthly social media themed posts have a strong following, we needed to create something larger.  One question often heard from students, teachers and the public is – “Why haven’t we heard about the Holodomor?”  This is where our global campaign to have the word “Holodomor” added to dictionaries started.  We created the “DeepTruth” ( campaign which used DeepFake technology to reveal the truth of former Soviet Leader Joseph’s Stalin role in the Holodomor, the goal being to have the word “Holodomor” added to English language dictionaries.  We launched a petition on ( to have the word added into major-English language dictionaries and now have over 36,000 signatures from over 120 countries and counting.  We have reached out to several major English language dictionaries requesting them to add “Holodomor” into their dictionaries.


Not being able to visit schools to engage students with our interactive lessons on board the Holodomor Mobile Classroom, we restructured our lessons so that they can be accessible to students on-line and still give students an introduction to the Holodomor.  We are finalizing one of our lessons and hope to have it available to students and teachers in the new year.  This element of on-line learning has added a further outreach to Holodomor awareness and education.

We look forward to once again being able to travel across Canada engaging students, teachers and Canadians about the Holodomor.  From everyone at the Holodomor National Awareness Tour we wish you all the best for the holidays, a Merry Christmas and a healthy 2021.

Community/Education News

Education Committee Update

It was another adventure for teachers in Canada working with their colleagues in Ukraine through Skype and ZOOM during the summer of 2020.  With their counterparts in Ukraine, the Canadian teachers continued their creation and update of professional development programs for teachers in Ukraine during the summer. 

Ukrainian-Canadian teachers, members of the Institute for Professional Development of Teachers with the Ukrainian World Congress, worked with partnered teachers in Ukraine to develop handbooks and other materials.      

In previous years, the Canadian teachers came to Ukraine to hold summer courses certified and added to a Ukrainian teacher’s qualifications. In 2019, as in prior years, the Canada-Ukraine Foundation made it financially possible for the Canadians to come to Ukraine. The Ukraine Boards of Education made it possible for all the local participants to be billeted and accommodated.  The CUF courses were held in Lviv and Mukachevo.

Participation included 20 schools from the Lviv district, five schools from the Lviv region, and 17 schools from the Mukachevo-Transcarpathian school district. Each school sent a team of educators that included the principal, vice-principal in charge of student guidance, an elementary teacher, a science teacher, a language and literature teacher, a foreign language teacher, a mathematics teacher, and a school psychologist. In addition to the school-based teams, educational specialists from the Center of Educational Studies in Lviv and the Mukachevo Council of Education, Youth and Sport attended the courses.

The Institute of Professional Development, based in Toronto, Canada, has been collaborating with the Department of Humanitarian Affairs and the Department of Education of the Lviv City Council for 26 years. In 2019, the Institute collaborated for the first time with the Mukachevo City Council in the Transcarpathian Oblast.

Canadian team members were:

Summer Institute Director:  Nadia Luciw –  Toronto

Principal’s course:  Bohdan Kolos –  Toronto

Vice-Principal’s course:  Christina Yurchuk – Toronto

Elementary panel:  Oksana Wynnyckyj-Yusypovych – Lviv / Toronto

Ukrainian Language and Literature: Sophia Berezowsky –  Toronto

School psychologists:  Melania Kovaluk – Ottawa

Science: Borislav Bilash II – New Jersey / Winnipeg

Foreign languages:  Iryna Perehinets – Toronto

Mathematics:   Christine Zeltway –  Toronto

The collaborative work goal was to prepare a new generation of teachers with a student-centred approach to teaching that fosters critical thinking and interactive, life-long creative learning.

During the first week of the Summer Institute in 2019, from July 1-5, 220 teachers and administrators from 25 schools from the Lviv region collaborated with their Canadian and Ukrainian colleagues and participated in workshops led by the Canadian and Ukrainian instructors.

In the second week of the Summer Institute, from July 8-12, 17 school-based teams, including 178 administrators, school psychologists and teachers from Mukachevo, participated in courses conducted by Canadian and Ukrainian educators. These courses focused on innovative learning materials that allowed the teams to develop school-based action plans that ensure the New Ukrainian School curriculum’s successful implementation.

Civil Society News

Civil Society Committee Update


The CUF Civil Society Committee was formed as one of three programming committees to provide a framework for review and support of projects and programs that promote social justice and sustainable development in a free and democratic Ukraine. According to UNDP Ukraine, “A Civil society is a domain/area of social/civil relations beyond the household/family, state and business, where people get together to satisfy and/or promote joint interests and to defend common values.”

Our mission is to support, enable and empower individuals and organizations in Ukraine to implement just, transparent, inclusive and democratic national policies, in efforts to contribute to sustainable development and enhance a learning culture for a civil society.

During the pandemic our committee met through zoom to develop our charter and plan our activities for the next three years. We actively participated in CUF’s Strategic Planning process to ensure that our committee’s activities were aligned with CUF’s overarching strategy. As part of our contribution to the Strategic Planning process, we invited a guest speaker from Ukraine, Natalia Nemyliwska, a Canadian-Ukrainian who has been living in Ukraine since 2004. Natalia is the Director of the Economic Prosperity and Investment Committee at the Ukrainian World Congress and headed the NATO Information and Documentation Centre in Kyiv from 2011-2017. Natalia’s main areas of expertise include security and defence policy and strategic communication. Natalia updated our committee on the current status of civil society in Ukraine and provided insight into how we in the Canadian diaspora could contribute to their efforts.

Our work was impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic but we did not stop our efforts to provide support. In a collaborative effort with the Ukrainian Canadian Congress we were able to raise $25K to support relief initiatives for residents affected by the devastating flooding of the Dnister, Prut and Cheremosh rivers. Partnering with Caritas we were able to provide building materials for the reconstruction and overhaul of flood damaged houses and their preparation for the upcoming winter. Household supplies and sanitary kits (bedding, cleaning supplies, medical masks, gloves and sanitizers were some of the items provided to affected residents.

Flood Relief Project

CUF partnered with HelpAge Canada in support of Seniors in Eastern Ukraine. The Senior’s Relief Project focused on reaching conflict affected older women and men located on the Government Controlled Area side of the contact line within 0-5km from the line of contact to support them with COVID-19 adapted Hygiene kits and advocacy messaging provided through the UNOCHA Protection Cluster (United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs). CUF donated $7,600 towards this initiative.


International Human Rights Day

Today, in observance of Human Rights Day, we recognize that all people deserve to live free from discrimination, and be empowered with the basic inherit rights of dignity, respect and self-worth. 

The Road to Truth will raise awareness through the creation of the National Holodomor Museum in Kyiv which is scheduled to open in 2023.  The Holodomor Museum will educate, inform and activate the public to understand how food in the “breadbasket of Europe” was used by Stalin as a weapon to murder millions of innocent people between 1932-33.

The Road To Truth will raise awareness and funding for the creation of a world-class museum telling the story of how the Holodomor impacts issues of public trust, journalistic integrity, fake-news and an informed world public. I encourage you to take a few minutes to visit the microsite for the National Holodomor Museum.

News Uncategorized

Brief update on main achievements of HelpAge Canada and HelpAge Ukraine project (UKR041)

Posted on August 10th, in  News

From May 2020 to July 2020 HelpAge International in Ukraine implemented the project aimed to reducing the risks of coronavirus infection among older women and men living along the contact line (0- 5) in government-controlled areas (GCA) in Donetsk and Luhansk regions with financial support from HelpAge Canada.

The project covered 20 settlements in the Donbass area, Governmental-controlled area (GCA).

Donetsk region – settlements: Marinka, Krasnogorivka, Taramchuk, Stepne, Novomykhailivka, Novobakhmutivka, Zalizne, Opytne, Vodiane, Pervomaiske.

Lugansk region – settlements: Novotoshkivske, Nyzhnie, Orikhove, Troitske, Komyshuvakha, Zolote, Stanitsa Luhanska, Makarove, Petropavlivka, Valuiske.

 For implement the project HAI recruited one project officer (PO) in each region, one project assistant (PA) and 10 community volunteers (CVs). All these people were employees of HAI in a previous project funded by ECHO, so they are aware of the policies of HAI, humanitarian principles and rules of personal safety and protection of the older people. Before the start of the project implementation the POs conducted a short update training on the rules of working in a pandemic, the using of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and understanding the project’s objectives for volunteers and PAs. Also, when choosing volunteers for the project, we took into account the factor that each of the 20 settlements should be covered by one of our volunteers in order to ensure better access to the beneficiaries and the delivery of non-food items (NFI). The major focus was on provision of COVID-19 adapted hygiene kits, personal protective equipment, COVID-19 prevention through information sharing and guidance on steps needed if one has symptoms and also provide remote psychosocial support via regular check-in mobile phone calls and a HelpAge ‘telephone hotline’ provide accurate and update information on COVID-19.

Additionally, volunteers provided the First Psychological Aid during the visit and provided information about the available services for the older people in specific localities. Since the project is aimed at quick response, it was decided to focus on the beneficiaries of the previous project “ACCESSIII” funded by ECHO. This decision made it possible to save time on additional needs assessment as it relied on its own database of older people. Considering that the ECHO project ended in April and we distributed only sanitizers at that time we have had evidence on high need of hygiene products. Also, according to WHO recommendations, adherence to personal hygiene rules and social distancing are the main factors in curbing the spread of coronavirus infection.

Key achievements

HAI project assistants with the support of volunteers conducted previous database verification. HAI Finance/Log Department selected suppliers in accordance with the HAI procurement procedures and policies. 1000 hygiene kits were purchased (around 16 tons). 1000 stickers with HelpAge Canada and HelpAge International logos were printed for ensure visibility. When forming the set, HAI also guided by the recommendations of the WASH Cluster developed as part of the response to COVID-19. The quantitative composition of the kit is designed for use within three months. Please see Annex 1 for hygiene kits composition. Since the start of the pandemic, we have experienced significant price fluctuations. But since the purchasing power of the population fell, suppliers began to reduce prices for wholesale buyers. Consequently, HAI was able to procure a hygienic kit for three months at the cost of the kit budgeted for one month. Considering that all beneficiaries have chronic diseases and serious health problems, the assistance provided will help significantly reduce the risk of contracting coronavirus infection, improve the quality of life of the beneficiaries and help them adhere to the self-isolation regime.

As at the end of July 2020 the distribution process is coming to an end. A total of 917 sets were distributed. The remaining 51 packs will be delivery to the older people during last week of July 2020. HAI also continued collecting photos and video stories. Unfortunately, during the implementation of the project 32 beneficiaries died, so the hygienic kits will be kept in HAI warehouse and will be delivered to the new beneficiaries as soon as they will be identified in August 2020.

HAI continues providing advocacy through Age and Disability Technical Working Group (ADTWG) on amplifying older people’s voices for ensuring that they are involved in decision-making and that their dignity and autonomy are respected in pandemic. HelpAge chairs the Technical Working group on Age and Disability (ADTWG) formed under the UNOCHA Protection Cluster. The ADTWG aims to strengthen the coordination and capacity of the humanitarian actors to develop and implement age and disability-friendly humanitarian response.

Key numbers

Summary information on beneficiaries included in the 041 project as of 24.07.2020

Photos from the distribution


Hygiene Kits composition.

# Description Remarks
1 Toothbrush 2 pcs
2 Toothpaste 300 ml
3 Soap bars 13 x 75 g soap \(900 g total)
4 Shampoo (hypoallergenic if possible) 750 ml
5 Washing powder for clothes, universal and hypoallergenic 4.5 kg
6 Liquid Bleach 6 of 1-liter containers
7 Dishwashing gel / Washing-up liquid 1,5 liters
8 Toilet Paper 6 rolls
9 Garbage bags (35 Litres) 2 rolls of 30 pcs
10 Rubber gloves for cleaning 3 pairs