As part of L’viv’s Ecumenical Social Week (ESW), the All-Ukrainian social forum called Reforms in Ukraine through Mutual Trust was held from 27 September through 2 October. The ESW program included a series of conferences, round tables, photo exhibits dealing with social issues, concerts, presentations, and countless other events. The events were visited by several hundreds of people including guests from France, Great Britain, and representatives from the World Bank, the L’viv Polytechnic University, and the Ukrainian Catholic University.
“I had the wonderful opportunity to participate in the 4th annual Ecumenical Social Week and in the All-Ukrainian Social Form. The issues they touched on are very dear to me and are important for contemporary Ukrainian society.
I think that NGOs need to be involved in implementing reforms to encourage economic, social, political and cultural progress. What I remember the most was the bazaar which showcased social organizations. They demonstrated the principle of trust, the community, activism, and how to reform society,” explains Oksana Vynnyts’ka, a Caritas Drohobych volunteer, and a well know blind singer.
Caritas Ukraine showcased two Centres for Rehabilitation and Recreation for the Disabled; one located in Drohobych, the others in Stryy and L’viv. They displayed their various and unique hand-crafts: pictures burned into plywood, pottery and vases made of decoupage, and bead work.
When speaking to Lyudmyla Smolen’, coordinator of the Drohobych based Amazing Hands Centre we learn how necessary such exhibitions are: “For disabled young people, exhibits are very important because they see others valuing their work. This makes the young people feel needed and accomplished.
In addition to learning how to make things by hand, the clients also learn life skills; they participate in art-therapy, have counselling sessions with psychologists, go on excursions, and trips, etc.”
Oksana Vynnyts’ka adds: “I would like to draw attention to the fact that the event served as a good example for each of us on how to unite people regardless of their religion or location of residence, and how to unite behind a common goal. To see how important you are and to serve others, to love, understand, and do good—this is the goal of working with special needs individuals and what I would want to see happening with people everywhere!”