Since 2016 we have been running a project called “Support and Integration Centre for the Displaced ARTE” in Ukraine.

We’ve created an open and friendly space in Dmytriv’ska Street 5 in Kharkiv for people, who lost everything. Because of military conflicts, danger to life, no access to basic food products, lack of shelter, many inhabitants of this area had to leave their possessions behind and flee. Most of the displaced went to Kharkiv and some of them have been staying there till now, trying to start fresh. The rest of them, however, decided to hit the road into other regions of Ukraine.

Kharkiv is currently a combination of various nationalities and cultures. It’s only 40 kilometres away from the border with Russia, which means that there are a lot of family bonds connecting these two countries, regardless of the political situation. It magnifies the special character of this place, where political conflict clashes with blood ties.

Our job is to make it easier for the displaced people to make a new beginning in their life and help them organise it in such a way that they are able to restore everything that they were forced to leave behind. In order to minimise the sense of exclusion during our activities, we work on creating local communities and cooperation with the town. Our team of psychologists take care of the mental condition of the residents – they offer free psychological advice and conduct numerous therapy sessions, both individually and in groups. Since psychological support is still a taboo subject here, we have trained our team in the area of innovative methods of working with trauma. This enables us to provide people with psychological support indirectly. This is a very popular solution here, since it eliminates the feeling of shame connected with participation in artetherapy.

Our centre is open 7 days a week. Psychologist on call is always ready to provide people with psychological support. Within the scope of ARTE project, we have opened hotlines, where trauma victims can contact us. Also, anyone interested in participating in our workshops can call us and find out more about them. ARTE is a friendly area, open to the displaced and people who’d like to integrate with them, to single mothers, widows, persons with disabilities, children, teenagers and adults. We are waiting for everyone, who is willing to change something in their life and to work for a better tomorrow, both from psychological and social point of view.

The project is co-financed by the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs under the Polish development aid programme.