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National partner profile: Ukraine

Odesa Charity Fund “The Way Home”

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Odesa Charity Fund “The Way Home” provide a number of services and assistance to homeless people, including street children. They run the Centre for Registration and Provision of Social Services for Homeless Citizens, “The Way Home” street paper, and a street soccer league for homeless people, including a street children’s football team “FC Domovenok.” Their specific focus is providing health services, education on HIV/AIDS prevention, and legal consultations.

OCF The Way Home was established in 1996 with the aim to help homeless people after the collapse of the Soviet Union. It quickly became clear that homeless people were particularly vulnerable to HIV/AIDS infections because of high rates of prostitution and substance abuse, and consequently the organisation began running their HIV/AIDS prevention programme in 1998. OCF The Way Home helps more than 11,000 people suffering from substance abuse in the Odessa region, who are given free HIV prevention materials, as well as medical and legal assistance.

In 2000, OCF The Way Home started programmes to help street children, and today they are running an orphanage housing 25 children and two mobile social patrols providing children with food, clothes, medical treatment, and psychological assistance daily. In addition, they run a day centre, where street children can come to wash clothes, take a shower, get medical treatment, legal assistance, and use computers and internet. Their activities include a programme for girls who are victims of domestic violence.

OCF The Way Home is the official partner of the Homeless World Cup. They have participated in the Homeless World Cup since 2004. The Ukranian team won the 2009 Homeless World Cup in Milan. In October 2008, OCF The Way Home set up a football project called "Red Card to Child Neglect,” which led to the formation of the children's street football team “FC Domovenok.” Its aim is to offer social rehabilitation for children and adolescents through football. OCF The Way Home also run the Regional Championship of Ukraine and organize a social and sporting event called "Football Star of the Future." They also arranged for a group of street children to attend a EURO 2012 football match between Ukraine and Sweden.

Player profiles & Stories

Mission statement

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Odesa Charity Fund “The Way Home” believe that the best strategy to change the situation of homelessness in Ukraine is to work in two ways: to provide direct help to homeless citizens and to address legal, social, and economic conditions for their successful re-entry into society.

With the support of the integration programmes, sport becomes a means for creating new opportunities for children and young people who passed through severe trials in life.

Goals for the future

Social Inclusion

To achieve social rehabilitation of people in crisis situations, to motivate and inspire homeless people, and show them a way forward

Health Education

To prevent diseases and promote healthy way of life among people who suffer substance abuse

Additional information

Partner since

2004

Football Activities

OCF The Way Home run national and regional tournaments, training sessions, and the street children’s football team FC Domovenok.

Team selection

The Homeless World Cup team is selected through a series of qualifying games held primarily in Kyiv.

Non-football services

They run the Centre for Registration and Provision of Social Services for Homeless Citizens; publish the street paper “The Way Home”; offer protection for victims of domestic violence, medical and legal advice, a social patrol, and summer camps; and manage shelters and provide accommodation to vulnerable people.

Participants challenges

A lack of access to resources and services; substance abuse; HIV/AIDS; and refugee/internally displaced person status

Organisation challenges

There is a very negative attitude towards homelessness in Ukraine. Increasing numbers of people in conflict zones in southern and eastern Ukraine are being displaced due to the conflicts following the Ukrainian Revolution in 2014.

Country challenges

A persisting problem is the legacy of the “propiska” (registration) system from the Soviet period – if a person loses their place of residence, they are left without any civil, economic, and social rights. A lack of “propiska” which is both a residency permit and a migration tool (often known as an “internal passport”), results in a person having no entitlement to healthcare, education, employment, and other basic services. Often known as “invisible people,” those without “propiska” are practically non-existent for municipal and state authorities (OCF Way Home).

 

The recent conflict in eastern Ukraine left hundreds of thousands of people homeless (Al Jazeera, 2015). The Ukrainian government estimates that between 659,000 and 921,000 people have been internally displaced (UNHCR, 2015).

Homlessness definition

Ukrainian Ministry of Justice defines homelessness as a social status of a person caused by the absence of their dwelling (house, apartment, room, etc.) where one could reside or stay and which could be registered.

Homelessness Statistics

In 2006, 85,000 people in Ukraine were estimated to be homeless (VIIW, 2010). Officially, there are around 12,000 homeless people in Kiev alone, but the numbers are believed to be much higher. In the winter of 2012, more than 100 homeless people died because due to freezing temperatures (IBT, 2012). The current conflict in Ukraine has left around 1 million people homeless (The Telegraph, 2015). The government is putting a special emphasis on reducing the numbers of street children.

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