GOAL, in partnership with Right to Protection (a Kyiv based human rights and humanitarian NGO), is delivering Mental Health and Psychological Support Services (MHPSS) and legal aid services in Kyiv, Chernihiv, Sumy, Poltava and Cherkasy oblasts in Ukraine. These services are being delivered following receipt of €500,000 by GOAL in May 2022, from Irish Aid to provide humanitarian intervention and aid in Ukraine.
From June – August 2022, the GOAL-Right to Protection partnership has provided 830 individual MHPSS sessions and 120 MPHSS group sessions and 540 internally displaced people have benefitted from individual sessions and 1,000 from the group sessions. During the same three-month period, the partnership provided 1,150 individual legal advice sessions and 22 group sessions and 1,150 people have benefitted from the individual sessions and 290 from the group sessions.
The MPHSS team comprises 17 psychologists, all of whom are trained to provide crisis related psychological support. Those attending the sessions are suffering from anxiety, depression and insomnia and express acute sadness about life that has been lost. They also mourn dead relatives and worry about where to live, what to eat, whether they have enough money, how to build a life in shelters and modular towns and what is the new meaning of life. Children are presenting with deep trauma following movement from the home they know and dangers of war.
Speaking about the delivery of the MPHSS sessions over the last three months, Nadia Kovalchuk, Right to Protection VP said “Participants report panic attacks, fear of sirens, fear of falling asleep because there may be an air raid and traumatic reactions to loud noises. People who were not allowed leave occupied territories report fear of torture, fear of showing a pro-Ukrainian position, shame associated with receiving ‘humanitarian help’ from the occupants for survival and fear of winter and humanitarian disaster.”
“These psychological support sessions help people make sense and speak about the horrors of war. And after attending we ask participants by way of surveys, if this psychological support is delivered in a safe and accessible way and how it has benefitted them. Participants are reporting an improvement in their physical well-being, better sleeping patterns, an improvement in family and parental relationships and being able to be more joyful and take care of themselves,” continued Nadia Kovalchuk.
The legal team that devises and delivers the legal aid sessions comprises eight lawyers and provides broad ranging primary legal consultations on topics such as IDP registration, social payments and services and restoration of personal documents. The lawyers also advise on complicated legal issues concerning violation of human rights in view of international humanitarian law and human rights law.
Speaking about the scaling up of these operations in Ukraine, Georgina Jordan, Head of Emergency Response, GOAL said “the UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs estimates that there are now seven million IDPs in Ukraine which confirms the overwhelming need to offer protection, psychological support and legal advice to these displaced and highly vulnerable people, in this entrenched and protracted conflict and crisis. Hence, our partnership with Right to Protection and our intent to continue to expand this programme of support.”
“GOAL is also sourcing & delivering food, furniture, white goods and bedding to IDP shelters, for City Councils in Lviv, Irpin, Fastiv & Chernihiv and we are also sourcing generators for shelters as a tough winter approaches,” continued Georgina Jordan.