56 days of war

By the time this article is published, the war in Ukraine has been ongoing for 56 days. That’s two months of unfathomable violence. Since the outbreak of the war, Thursdays have become the symbolic milestones of grief. At WAVE, we want to use this Thursday to amplify the voices of our members from the Ukraine and share their stories with you. How have they been coping and what can you do to support them?

Today, we want to introduce you to our colleagues from Centre “Women’s Perspectives”. They are based in Lviv, the city which has now become famous for becoming the refuge of millions of internally displaced people. The team of Women’s Perspectives have been established since 1998.

Their mission is to uphold women’s rights and support equal rights and possibilities of women and men in all areas of life. Their main aims are: implementing gender equality policy in Ukraine; combating violence against women and domestic violence; increasing the competitiveness of women on the labour market; promoting women’s participation in decision-making processes in Ukraine.

Before the war, our colleagues were operating two women’s shelters in Lviv. But all this changed drastically. As millions of internally displaced people come to Lviv, there is a big need to provide safe accommodation for women and children. Thus, the team of Women’s Perspectives have just recently opened their fifth shelter. Some women and children only stay in Lviv for a couple of days and then continue their journey further into other countries. Women’s Perspectives supports them with accommodation close to the train stations and helps them with logistical questions and coordinating safe corridors.

At the same time, many internally displaced women are likely to stay in Lviv for a longer period of time, with the hope of being able to return to their homes as soon as possible. For these, our colleagues are providing additional accommodation and supporting them in making a livelihood. Our colleagues estimate that since the outbreak of the war, they have already supported over 4,000 women through their different services.

However, with every additional day of the war, more efforts are needed to support all people affected, in order to not leave anyone behind. The women that have been staying in the Ukraine until now have lived through terrible war trauma. Many have spent days and weeks in bomb shelters and have been exposed to sexualised violence in territories occupied by the Russian troops. The team of Women’s Perspectives is thus increasingly giving psychological counselling and interventions to survivors of sexualised violence.

As Marta Chumalo from Women’s Perspectives puts it: “The most vulnerable people really need most of the support. These are women with sick children or women and children with disabilities.” Please support them with a donation: https://www.betterplace.at/support-womens-human-rights-defenders-in-ukraine/

Find out more information about Women’s Perspectives here: http://www.women.lviv.ua/

Photo by Egor Lyfar on Unsplash