2 June 2016 - On 2 June 2016, a charity event “The Gift of Experience” in support of elderly and disabled internally displaced people (IDP) took place in the town of Brovary in Kyiv region. The event was organized by the UN Refugee Agency together with its implementing partner NGO “CrimeaSOS” in the framework of Community Based Initiatives Project.

On 2 June 2016, a charity event “The Gift of Experience” in support of elderly and disabled internally displaced people (IDP) took place in the town of Brovary in Kyiv region. The event was organized by the UN Refugee Agency together with its implementing partner NGO “CrimeaSOS” in the framework of Community Based Initiatives Project.

The benefit event was initiated by the community based organization “Dopomoha”. Since 90s this organization has being running “Hospice for Elderly” in Luhansk region. When the conflict intensified in eastern Ukraine, volunteers began evacuation of the hospice residents to Kyiv region. Now the center for seniors near Brovary town hosts some 20 displaced people. Many of them have neither relatives nor caregivers.

“The aim of our initiative is to raise awareness about the problems of elderly and to help them to integrate in the new community. We have to remember these people, who have lived a long life and can share their experience with the next generations”, said Pablo Mateu, UNHCR Representative in Ukraine.

According to the Ministry of Social Policy of Ukraine, nearly 60% of IDPs are elderly and disabled. Besides economic and social isolation, these vulnerable groups are affected by health problems. Many of them say that forced displacement had a negative impact on their wellbeing.

“One can see a large number of disabled and elderly on the streets of Vienna, Stockholm and Toronto. But it is not the case for Kyiv. These groups are almost invisible in Ukraine. We want to invite elderly and people with special needs to the benefit concert titled “The Gift of Experience”. We would like to showcase these people have enormous potential for the country and society, they have what to give”, highlights Oleh Horbachov, Coordinator of the CBO “Dopomoha”.

The concert became a highly awaited event for seniors accommodated in the center. “Attention and respect is very important for people of our age. Our life was full with many things, and our experience should be respected by the society”, said 62-year-old Viktor displaced from Alchevsk.

The representatives of Kyiv Regional Administration, embassies, international and local organizations supported the charity concert. The programme included various performances of children and youth bands, representing IDPs and local residents. Ukrainian singer Katia Chily joined the concert to support vulnerable elderlies along with young artists from the national talent shows".

Some 17,000 elderly and disabled IDPs arrived to Kyiv region since the beginning of the conflict. This number includes 471 displaced elderly, accommodated in Brovary and its neighborhoods.

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UNHCR, also known as the UN Refugee Agency, is mandated by the UN to lead and coordinate international action for the world-wide protection of refugees and the resolution of refugee problems. The agency was created in 1950 by the UN General Assembly. It has more than 9,300 staff members in 125 countries assisting 59.5 million people. Persons of concern to UNHCR are not only refugees but asylum seekers, internally displaced persons, refugees returning home and stateless persons. UNHCR established a presence in Ukraine in 1994. In 2014, Ukraine was confronted with the problem of internally displaced persons (IDPs) from Crimea and Eastern Ukraine. UNHCR continues to support government and civic society in their response to the needs by providing legal, material and social assistance. The UN Refugee Agency focuses its activity on strengthening the guarantees of rights and freedoms of IDPs, improving their living conditions and providing long term solutions.