A presentation of the Olena Zelenska Foundation project "Room for Childhood" took place in Kyiv, with the participation of the First Lady of Ukraine, Olena Zelenska, and the Foundation’s director Nina Horbachova. At the initiative of the Foundation's founder, construction of fourteen houses for large foster families, who lost their homes due to the war, has begun in 8 regions. The project is exclusively funded by international donors.
The presentation of the project was attended by heads of relevant ministries, civil organizations, partners, as well as representatives from the military administrations of the regions where construction has begun. In particular, the Head of Kharkiv Regional State Administration Oleg Synehubov, the Head of Kyiv Regional State Administration Ruslan Kravchenko, the Head of Zhytomyr Regional State Administration Vitaliy Bunechko, the Head of Cherkasy Regional State Administration Ihor Taburets, and the Head of Volyn Regional State Administration Yurii Pohuliaiko.
Today in Ukraine there are 1,310 large foster families. They raise from 5 to 10 orphans and children deprived of parental care. During the full-scale war, at least 80 of these families lost their homes. They moved to safer regions of Ukraine, but still do not have a permanent home. One of the first new homes will be provided to the family of Alla and Oleksandr Yaroslavtsev from the Zaporizhzhia region. Their home in native Mykhailivka was completely destroyed. The parents and their eleven children are currently renting a place in Boryspil. The plot for the construction of a new house is located in the village of Revne, near Boryspil of the Kyiv region.
"When my Foundation was established a year ago to help Ukrainians overcome the humanitarian, educational, and medical challenges caused by the war, one of the first groups we began helping was large foster families. We provided one in four of these families with essential items ranging from furniture and clothing to laptops. This year, for the first time, we took over a thousand children and their parents on a vacation to the Carpathians. All of this was very important to them. But can you guess what their biggest wish was? A home. We can't give them back their original homes at this time. But we can give children displaced by conflict a new place to call home. This is how the Foundation's 'Room for Childhood' project was born," said the First Lady.
"The stories of all families are touching. They demonstrate courage, the will to live, and the spirit of victory. Even during the war, they continue to adopt children. Foster parents inspire us to continue working. I’m grateful to partners and patrons for their concern for our children. It is very important for us to give them back a home," said Nina Horbachova, the director of the Olena Zelenska Foundation.
New houses for large foster families will be inclusive, energy-efficient, furnished, and equipped with household appliances. The total area of each house will be 285.5m². An underground modular concrete shelter (civil protection structure) with metal blast-resistant doors will be installed in the yard.
The "Room for Childhood" project is exclusively funded by international donors. For the construction of the first 14 houses the Foundation managed to raise 5.5 million US dollars. The project was supported by the governments of the United Arab Emirates and Estonia (Estonian Centre for International Development, ESTDEV), as well as the Australian Minderoo Foundation.
“One of the greatest travesties of this hideous, illegal invasion has been the displacement of your beautiful children, many of whom have lost one or both parents. Every child should be given equal opportunity to reach their potential. A safe and secure place to live is crucial for long term development and the happiness of kids. We stand right beside Ukraine like every Australian, and we will help wherever we can”, said Dr Andrew Forrest AO - Chairman, Minderoo Foundation.
“We are pleased to start a collaboration with the Olena Zelenska Foundation and support its important mission to give a home for the children orphaned by the war. Providing children with a safe and nurturing environment in which to grow up is an ambitious task for any country. For Ukraine, in this time of the war, this is an enormous challenge, and Estonia is ready to help,” said Andrea Kivi, Executive Director, ESTDEV - Estonian Centre for International Development.
Construction partners for the pilot project "Room for Childhood" in Ukraine are the "Ukrainian Sawmill Holding Company" (CLT-Rezult), ROCKWOOL Ukraine company, and the charitable organization Global Empowerment Mission (Gem).
In April 2023, the Olena Zelenska Foundation launched the "Room for Childhood" project – a housing construction project for large foster families. Construction has started in the Kharkiv, Kyiv, Cherkasy, Volyn, Ivano-Frankivsk, Lviv, Zhytomyr, and Zakarpattia regions. Houses built within the project will be transferred to the community's balance. People will be able to live in them for the entire existence of their large foster family.
All houses will be designed with families and children in mind. The wooden house will be single-storied, barrier-free, energy-efficient, will have an insulated facade, and will be equipped with a heat pump and an autonomous power source. Next to the house, a modular concrete shelter will be installed, meeting state standards. Inside the house, there will be five children's bedrooms, a parent's room, rooms for games and learning, as well as the necessary household appliances and furniture.