It's 11 a.m. and the line is growing long outside the municipal offices in a small rural town in the Dnipro region of eastern Ukraine. These residents, identified because of their particularly challenging circumstances, have been informed that Humanity & Inclusion is distributing essential supplies today.
"The commune of Tsarichanka is home to many displaced families who have not received aid for a long time. We also help older people, large families and people with disabilities," explains Vadim Loktionov, HI's basic needs project manager in the East of Ukraine.
'This kit will last me four months'
Inside the boxes are soaps, shampoos, towels, diapers and medical gloves. Pavlo, 39, is a wheelchair user. He has come to collect his hygiene kit. He asks Vadim to help him carry it to a small grocery shop on the same street. "Thank you very much, you can leave it here. I'll call my wife," he tells Vadim. This "helping hand," is accepted with a warm smile by this 39-year-old living with cerebral palsy:
"I really need these products every day, but my pension is too small. This kit from HI will last me at least 4 months, and with a bit of luck I won't need to buy anything during that time."
These distributions help people save money on hygiene products so they can use their finances to meet other needs. The war has further complicated the daily lives of people already experiencing hardship. Many of them are caregivers, like Liudmila:
"Thank you so much to the HI teams for their help, because without HI, we wouldn't be able to buy all these basic necessities. My daughter is very ill. We wanted to take her to Kyiv for treatment, but then the war started. This aid is essential for us because it means we can put aside what little money we have to buy medicines and food."
Essential support for people who need it most
Nelya approaches the truck discreetly, hesitating to pick up her box. Asking for help was not easy for this 60-year-old cancer patient. But for her, it's a question of survival:
"I'm on my sixth course of chemotherapy and the treatments are very expensive. I really need help," says Nelya, with tears in her eyes.
On this day, in the small town of Tsarichanka, HI’s teams distributed approximately 100 kits.
"When people come to us and we talk with them, the first thing they ask us is, 'when will we be at peace?' It's a very difficult question, and we struggle to answer them – we don't know what to say. We just try to help them cope every day, as best we can," concludes Vadim Loktionov.
With the support of the United States Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance (USAID-BHA), France (CDCS), the European Union (ECHO), and Canada (GAC), HI has been able to distribute more than 12,000 hygiene kits and provide assistance to 15,000 people since 2022. HI has also supported more than 54 collective reception centers, and a further $1,735,000 has been allocated to provide financial support to just over 8,440 people affected by the conflict.