Founded immediately after the start of the war by Metinvest Group in coordination with the Rinat Akhmetov Foundation, the Saving Lives humanitarian project has become a powerful platform for helping Ukrainians in its one year of existence. Currently, it has several areas of activity, covers almost 70 territorial communities of the country, and the number of people who have received the aid is constantly approaching half a million.
Big challenges require big actions: when a full-scale war came to Ukraine, Metinvest Group launched a project to protect people from a potential food crisis. During the year, it expanded significantly and transformed into one of the largest humanitarian initiatives in the country.
HOW "SAVING LIVES" CHANGED
Initially, the company, with the support of the Rinat Akhmetov Foundation, created the so-called "strategic stock" of the most essential items, like long-term storage food and hygienic products, in Polish hubs. All that was promptly delivered to Ukrainian cities to avoid the possible shortage of vital things.
The hostilities increased the burden on medical institutions, which urgently required medical supplies and new equipment for treatment of injured people. Therefore, "Saving Lives" has a new area of focus – support for the medical field. And again, goods began to arrive from abroad. They were delivering consumables, surgical supplies, modern equipment, etc.
The total cost of medicines, equipment and consumables, which "Saving Lives" supplied for medical institutions, exceeds €240 thousand.
When the issue related to IDPs accommodation arose, Metinvest's humanitarian project focused on another vector of work – arrangement of accommodation. "Saving Lives" supplied household appliances, bedding, building materials so that the cities and communities could take care of internally displaced Ukrainians.
Finally, the fourth branch of the humanitarian mission was created – psychological and physical rehabilitation: "Unbreakable Mom" and prosthetics projects. "Saving Lives" implements them in cooperation with the partners – "Masha Foundation" and Protez Hub, respectively.
FIGURE OF THE YEAR
424,909 people have received various aid as part of the Saving Lives project.
Of course, such a large-scale activity is impossible without external support – businesses, companies and individuals who share the values of Saving Lives. So far, almost 200 businesses and organisations from Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy, Spain, the USA, the UK, Switzerland, Greece, the UAE and other countries have joined the project. A significant contribution to the expansion of a friendship circle of "Saving Lives" was made by its ambassadors, for example, Dariyo Srna. Thanks to his media publicity, the football director of FC Shakhtar draws people's attention to saving Ukrainians, which increases the flow of funds to the project fund.
During one year of existence of "Saving Lives", donor partners donated gifts and donations for 2,413,339 euros
TO HEAL THE SOUL AND BODY
The traumatic experience of the war caused pain and suffering to Ukrainians. Unfortunately, these are often inevitable losses. However, if there is an opportunity to improve the quality of life, it is worth taking advantage of the opportunity. "Saving Lives" provides a rehabilitation course to help people who have suffered physically and mentally.
A relatively new programme is the prosthetics of military and civilians who have lost limbs. It is implemented under a memorandum of cooperation with Protez Hub, the project to support prosthetics in Ukraine. As part of the interaction, the partners undertake organisational and documentary issues related to the support of injured people. It is envisaged that the programme participants will undergo training for prosthetics, installation of prostheses and further observation in Ukrainian clinics. They will also undergo physical and psychological rehabilitation.
Currently, the assistance is being provided to 33 Ukrainians. Seven of them have already received modern prostheses. The initiative includes employees of Metinvest Group, their family members, military personnel and civilians in the regions where the company operates.
Furthermore, the cooperation between "Saving Lives" and Protez Hub provides for the creation of a Ukrainian-language online educational platform for specialists in the field of prosthetics of limbs and associated rehabilitation. The project team is currently preparing training video lectures.
To defend the homeland again
Denys Denysenko, 28, is one of the participants in the rehabilitation programme. The resident of Kryvyi Rih joined the National Guard of Ukraine in 2018. With the beginning of the full-scale Russian invasion, he was first sent to defend Krivbass, and then to the Kherson direction. In the fall of 2022, while performing a combat mission, the military was blown up by a mine. He lost his left foot due to injury. After treatment, Denys received a German prosthesis under the Saving Lives program and the Prosthetic Assistance Project in Ukraine. "When a permanent foot was installed, I stopped limping, it became easier to keep my balance, my speed increased," the defender said. The guy underwent therapy at a rehabilitation center for the military in Nemyriv. Then there is the next stage of prosthetics in Vinnytsia and another month of rehabilitation. Denys sincerely hopes that the military hospital commission will allow him to defend his homeland again.
The second rehabilitation program of Saving Lives is the Unbreakable Mom project. This project was implemented in cooperation with Masha Foundation. It helps women with children overcome the effects of stress caused by the war.
Restoration sessions for the participants of Unbreakable Mom were held in regions far from hostilities - in the Carpathians, Chernivtsi region. The therapy sessions lasted three weeks. During this time, the participants dealt with specialists: they tried to stabilize their psycho-emotional state, prevent PTSD, develop abilities for adaptation and self-realization, and created new social ties.
Mothers and children had separate schedules of consultations and classes, attended psychological trainings, art therapy master classes, and individual practices. The adults were worked with using EMDR, art therapy, mindfulness, psychodrama, body, narrative and cognitive-behavioral therapy. The children were engaged in neuro-gymnastics, game therapy, and the project specialists also practiced the methods of Serial Drawing and Safe Space, and developed resistance to stress.
"I would like to express my gratitude to the sponsors, organizers and performers of the Unbreakable Mom project. To all the wizards and doctors of our wounded souls I bow low for a psychological rehabilitation, a wonderful accomodation, a rich program and a positive attitude. It is with your help that we, the mothers of young citizens of Ukraine, find resources for the upbringing the future generation. It is with your help that we feel strong and free, those who see their future life path," Victoria KIVA shared her impressions of the project.
More about the first shift of the project is available in a separate article The Diary of Unbreakable Mom.
173 people took part in prosthetics and psychological rehabilitation programs from the Saving Lives project.
Saving Lives also supports cultural and social events. Thanks to the humanitarian project, students from Mariupol State University presented their film at the Beilive Film Festival in Verona, Italy.
TO THE HEROES IN WHITE COATS
No sooner had doctors recovered from the coronavirus wave than they faced an even more difficult challenge. Because of the war, many wounded are hospitalized, as well as people who fell ill due to stress or poor living conditions. To support the heroes in white coats, Saving Lives provides significant assistance to medical institutions in Kryvyi Rih, Dnipropetrovsk, Donetsk, Zaporizhzhia, Kirovohrad, Kherson and Odesa regions.
Doctors are supplied with unique equipment, including anesthesia-respiratory apparatus, surgical and trauma kits, digital radiographs, devices for external fixation of bones, X-ray transparent operating tables, etc. Hundreds of thousands of consumables are also sent to medical institutions, including catheters, intravenous cannulas, syringes, blood transfusion systems, gloves, nylon and silk surgical threads, and hemostatics.
"The strength of Ukraine is in its unity. This is proved every day by millions of ordinary citizens who are trying to support our country. This is proved every day by businesses that donate their resources to humanitarian or defense projects. Since the first day of the war, Metinvest Group has been at the epicenter of assistance to the affected Ukrainians, doctors, the Armed Forces of Ukraine and the Territorial Defense Forces. We are there where every day there is a struggle for human lives: in hospitals, on the front lines, in IDP assistance centers. We continue to be the Pillar of Ukraine, because this is the only way to preserve our existence and win,"— Yuriy RYZHENKOV, CEO of Metinvest Group, said.
The first batch has been supplied by Saving Lives to medical institutions in Zaporizhzhya and Kamianske because these cities have become hubs for displaced people and affected people from regions where active fighting is ongoing. Kryvyi Rih and Donetsk region have also been receiving medical supplies. The humanitarian project has supplied baby food and drinking water to medical institutions in Odessa and Kherson.
CLOSE BASIC NEEDS
Proper nutrition, hygiene, comfortable housing are the basis of the hierarchy of needs, on which everything else in our lives rests. Unfortunately, the war took away homes and jobs from millions of people, and destroyed their normal life. It became more difficult for those who evaded the challenges. Older people, large families, and single parents have no money for the daily consumer goods basket.
To protect Ukrainians from the humanitarian crisis, Saving Lives has established the supply of food and essential items. Actually, this is the activity from which the whole project was born. Just imagine: during the year, 4,077 tons of cargo with the most essential goods were brought to Ukraine.
THE ASSISTENCE GEOGRAPHY
Currently, 4,077 tons of humanitarian goods have been delivered to the regions of Ukraine: 1,861 tons – to Zaporizhzhia, 1,143 tons – to Kryvyi Rih, 549 tons – to Kamianske, 524 tons – to Dnipro.
Usually, non-perishable products were imported: cereals, pasta, oil, sugar, canned meat and fish, sweets, condensed milk, tea and coffee. And Saving Lives supplies hygiene products - soap, shampoos, shower gel, toothpaste, etc. The individual kits of food and household items are formed at Metinvest's enterprises.
Packages with essential items have been delivered to regions where logistics are complicated due to hostilities: to the communities of Donetsk region, in particular Avdiivka, to the de-occupied Kherson region. They have been also provided to Zaporizhzhia, Kamianske and Kryvyi Rih. The families of Metinvest employees, pensioners of the company's enterprises, and privileged categories of citizens received the kits.
It is worth noting that the help from Saving Life was delivered to places where people were in a difficult situation. For example, humanitarian packages were given to residents of a house in Zaporizhzhia that was hit by a Russian rocket. The project also supports critical infrastructure workers, because they are the ones who eliminate the consequences of enemy shelling.
Separately, we highlight the work of Saving Lives on the maintenance and arrangement of shelters. As part of the humanitarian initiative, Shyrokivska, Karpivska, Novolativska, Lozuvatska, Gleivatska and Petrivska territorial communities received household supplies, electric kettles, microwaves and electric ovens, refrigerators for shelters. In addition, clamshells, mattresses, blankets, bed linen and pillows were also delivered here.
In order to equip as many comfortable places of temporary stay in Dnipropetrovsk and Kirovohrad regions as possible, Saving Lives supplied construction materials, linoleum, shower cabins, doors, lamps, etc. And in one of the shelters of Kamianske, with the support of the Italian legal company RiDiamo Onlus – a partner-donor of the humanitarian project Saving Lives – a large playroom for children of all ages was arranged.
Foods are constantly brought to shelters in Zaporizhzhia and Kryvyi Rih in order to organize nutrition. For example, pasta, sweets, cereals, flour, juices, vegetables, etc. Individual sets of goodies are also supplied.
Of course, this will not replace home comfort, but it will help people feel more secured.
Recently, on the initiative of the Usborne organization and its representative Francesca Gusti, books and games in English for Ukrainian children were collected in Italy. Saving Lives helped to deliver this charitable assistance and transfer it to young readers in Zaporizhzhia and Kamianske.
As long as the country suffers from the attack of enemies, the humanitarian project Saving Lives will take care of Ukrainians who find it difficult to cope with the challenges of war on their own. For more information about Saving Lives initiatives refer the official website: https://bit.ly/SavingLivesProject.