Help for those who help: Bicycles for the social service in Okhtyrka

24.10.2023 - 10:27 - Ukraine
The women working for the Okhtyrka Municipal Center of Social Service are there for their patients even during the war. They do their daily work route by bicycle – but most of their bikes are in poor condition. To enable them to do their important work safely and without unnecessary time loss, arche noVa has equipped the social service with electric bicycles.

"We are glad that none of our patients was injured during the massive shelling of Okhtyrka," says Liudmyla Brovko. She works at the Okhtyrka Municipal Center of Social Service and lost her house in a bombing raid. When the ceiling collapsed on her, she was just able to escape and has been living with her daughter ever since. Despite everything, she has not given up her social commitment. "The patients know us and count on us. Many of them have no one but us. We didn't leave our patients behind and continued the work even during the attacks."

The 51-year-old covers the distance to her patients by bicycle. The distances are often long – and when Liudmyla's bike was stolen, she had to walk.

Her colleague Olena Sheiko also travels many kilometers every day to take care of her patients, do shopping and housework for them. Her old bicycle was in a terrible condition, the handlebar and the pedals were already loosening. With the support of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, arche noVa was able to equip her and the other employees of the social service with electric bicycles – and thus make their work a little easier.

"We are so grateful to arche noVa for this much needed and incredible gift. Now we can reach our patients at the speed of light!" says Olena. When the war began on February 24, 2022, she immediately ended her vacation to be there for her patients. "At that time, there were no medicines and no food. Many old people sat at home and cried because no one was with them.”

The support benefits the more than 260 people who are cared for by the social service. Most of them are elderly people and people with disabilities.

Lonely in the war zone: The Okhtyrka Municipal Center of Social Service helps and comforts

Valentyna Mykolaivna is 85 years old and lives on 75 euros a month. Nine years ago, the former accountant lost her sight. Since then, she needs support in everyday life, which she receives from social worker Alina Kovalenko. She visits Valentyna several times a week and helps her with cleaning and cooking.
Valentyna has sad memories of the outbreak of the war: "Alina had told me about the invasion. And then suddenly the shelling began. The window glass broke out of the frame into the apartment. For a few days I lived in freezing cold.”

Alina and some neighbors helped to repair the windows so that she does not have to live in the cold. She has no access to hot water, but by now she is used to heating it in a pot. For her future, she does not wish for much. She would be happy about a watch with sound output. More important to her, however, is that young people in Ukraine no longer have to endure what she herself experienced as a child during Second World War.

Yes, I would like to help!

Valentyna is one of many elderly women who live alone in the war zones of Ukraine. Your donation to arche noVa enables people like her to live in dignity despite the war – with access to drinking water, food and a warm home.