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Support for the people with disabilities started: Support in Ukraine


More than four months after the Russian military invasion of Ukraine, there are concerns about the situation of people with disabilities who are still in Ukraine. AAR Japan [Association for Aid and Relief, Japan] has started to provide support to people with disabilities in Ukraine through Djerela, an organization for people with disabilities.

people with disabilities

In Ukraine, more than 30,000 people with intellectual disabilities live in institutions, many of which can no longer operate due to the military invasion as their budgets were suddenly cut or they were prohibited from operating for security reasons. In addition, the sound of shelling and air raid alarms, as well as the evacuation process, have caused confusion among people with intellectual disabilities, leading to severe fatigue for them and their families.

Djerela, which is established in 1996 by the parents of people with intellectual disabilities, has been providing rehabilitation and day-care services, employment supports for people with disabilities in the capital city, Kyiv and its suburbs. Djerela currently supports 180 families.

In response to a request from Djerela, AAR have decided to provide respite service for people with intellectual disabilities and their families. In the respite service, personal assistance and people being supported, such as people with disabilities, spend time apart temporally. It aims to relieve stress on both sides and reduce the risk of problematic behavior and violence.

As the relief project, AAR provides the opportunity for 24 people with intellectual disabilities aged 22-45 to stay a temporary residential facility in Boquslav, located in the southern part of Kyiv. They will be divided into 3 groups of 8 people and stay for 10 days each, so that AAR will support the costs of meals, attendants, counseling, and etc.

Woman, man and dog

A representative from Djerela and her son

A representative from Djerela, who has a son with intellectual disability, said, “Due to the military invasion by Russia, there were rocket attacks in Kyiv, and Russian troops entered Bucha and other areas. Some people with intellectual disabilities could not understand the meaning of the air raid sirens or why they were evacuated to underground shelters. They are now exposed to anxiety and stress without understanding the risk of landmines buried around Bucha. Their families are also exhausted.

A Djerela staff member said, “The current situation is extremely hard for people with intellectual disabilities and autism, and their emotional expressions are becoming increasingly intense. Families are also burning out. I think this respite care is very meaningful for the people with disabilities and their families,” she said emphatically.

AAR will continue its activities to improve the difficult situation for people with disabilities and their families.

We would like to ask for your cooperation in AAR’s emergency humanitarian response in Ukraine.

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We appreciate your understanding and cooperation with our emergency relief efforts in Ukraine.

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*According to the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ overseas safety information (as of the end of July), Ukraine falls under “Level 4: Evacuation Advisory,” but AAR Japan has been collecting security information and has determined that it is safe to enter Ukraine’s central and western regions for a short period. AAR Japan will continue to respond to the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine by taking all possible security measures.

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