“There are always people, who need help… and there is always someone who can give it!”

Anastasiia, 21, is a student from Kharkiv who co-founded the project ‘Є СУСІД’ as part of UNICEF’s UPSHIFT programme.

Anastasia Yevtushenko
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UNICEF
04 November 2022

When the war in Ukraine started, it was quite a challenge to both save yourself and help people around you. But that’s when we realized how strong our nation is. Everyone is doing their best, whether it’s a brave volunteer, a doctor, an entrepreneur or anybody else trying hard not to stop creating new ways and opportunities to make life easier and more comfortable for those who are in need, as far as possible in the conditions of war.

Therefore, our team also came up with a service that can connect people who need help with whoever is ready to offer it. It’s called ‘Є СУСІД’, which in English means ‘the neighbour is here’. At the moment, the first implementation of our idea is available in Poltava.

You may ask, why Poltava?

The thing is, Poltava is the closest and relatively calmest city to the places where the war is at its height. That is why a lot of people left their homes and moved there. Most of those people have no work or money anymore, so they need to learn how to survive in the new place with just the bare minimum of essentials. A lot of them needed help with clothing, medicine, food and sometimes accommodation. There is also the elderly or people with disabilities, the injured and others who have special requirements.

Let's say you're willing to share your home with internally displaced people (IDPs) or bring food to an old grandmother who lives far from the supermarket.  But how do you know exactly who is looking for help?

Our service ‘Є СУСІД’ is a chatbot in Telegram, where our team manage applications with requests and offers. Thanks to this service, people can choose the area of ​​Poltava where they feel comfortable providing assistance or where they have a problem. So our users can find and help each other in a convenient way, like decent neighbours do.

The chatbot has a lot of advantages:

  • it's safe because it's online;
  • users can help quickly and easily;
  • users receive only relevant queries;
  • it can unite a large number of people;
  • it’s easy to scale for other cities.

Moreover, we have already attracted partners in Poltava, such as public organizations, volunteer associations and centres of social protection. These partners can help to raise awareness about our project and mission.

We firmly believe that unity and willingness to help can create miracles, make our country a better place and melt people's hearts, because for us, nationality is not just a column in the passport, it is how you see yourself as part of society.

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