Grigory Semenchuk, national delegate of Ukraine at the Emmaus Europe regional board
Can you tell us, in a few words, about your daily life in Ukraine with some concrete examples from Emmaus groups?
Grigory Semenchuk: Currently, the main challenge for our groups is the beginning of the cold season. Therefore, all groups are actively preparing for the cold weather. A big problem at the moment is the instability of the country’s energy system due to Russian bombings. Therefore, currently the main work is focused on energy efficiency and readiness for any challenges. In addition, the groups carry out their daily functions – collecting and sorting clothes, carrying out solidarity actions and supporting the functioning of their social support centres. In addition, Emmaus Oselya is building a new social support centre that will be able to welcome a larger number of visitors.
What are your actions on the ground to help the populations?
Traditionally, Emmaus Oselya provides the following social services in its social support centre: laundry, food, clothing, hairdressing services, and once a week it holds a solidarity action to distribute food in the city. The number of people needing these services is growing. The Nasha Khata community is also actively involved in providing places for IDPs, sharing humanitarian aid. To support all these activities, groups need a huge amount of humanitarian aid, because the number of people in need has increased by 50-70 percent.
Even if the issues and challenges of a post-war aftermath are still uncertain, what do you think are the main challenges for Ukrainian civil society today?
The main challenge for civil society at the moment is resources – due to the economic crisis and war, prices are increasing, there is a shortage of certain goods and necessary materials for the functioning of communities. In addition, the safety factor is important, because no one can guarantee it now anywhere in Ukraine.