Catalonia's local councils help turn schools into shelters for displaced people in Ukraine
Catalan Development Cooperation Fund donates €30,000 to purchase appliances
Local councils from Catalonia have donated €30,000 through the Catalan Development Cooperation Fund (FCCD) to help German NGO Arbeiter-Samariter-Bund turn schools into shelters for internally displaced people in Ukraine.
The money will help the facilities in Stryi, western Ukraine, and Mykolaiv in the south, purchase washing machines, refrigerators, and microwaves for the people housed there after escaping the war's frontlines.
In Stryi, where the German NGO has helped turn both a daycare center and a primary school into shelters housing over 100, there are some 35,000 internally displaced people - the equivalent of over 10% of the city's population - from the east where the Russian invasion of Ukraine rages on.
"There is a real crisis of internally displaced people," FCCD president Isidre Pineda told the Catalan News Agency (ACN) during a trip to Ukraine to visit the centers. "These are people who have lost everything."
"It's really hard to live this way," Olha Vdovina, who lives in one of the shelters in Stryi, told ACN.
Russian troops, Vdovina explained, kicked her and her family out of their home not long after the war broke out in late February: "They gave us 10 minutes to leave." She says her children have not been the same since then and have trouble speaking.
Another man, Shatokin Maksym, recounted how he left his home in the east behind. His neighbors care for his pets and tell him his home is still standing, but he does not know when he'll be able to return safely. In the meantime, he said, he waits for a call to join the Ukrainian army.
Not far from these shelters, in Lviv, life goes on as usual. People go to work and cafés and are bustling – but come the 11 pm curfew, silence reigns the streets.