Highlighting our partners in Ukraine: Black Sea Women’s Club project “Children Want Peace”

Text: Julie Ostapjukova

The Black Sea Women’s Club in Odessa has been, concurrently with efforts towards environmental protection, steadily assisting the most vulnerable of us – children.

As part of their project “Children Want Peace”, BSWC has been providing children with social rehabilitation, cultural exchanges, and other forms of psychological support to help them cope with either prolonged periods of not seeing their relatives who have been defending the country or, in more severe cases, with the loss of their immediate family due to the Russian war. Once again, WECF is more than happy to highlight the important work of one of our partners.

 While the initial idea was to unite female leaders of public organizations and local bodies, activists, and experts toward ensuring sustainable development and energy efficiency, in the wake of the war, these objectives had to be set aside. BSWC, like many other local NGOs, chose to utilize their connections and friendly relations, in this case with the government of Georgia, to help alleviate some of the adverse effects war has on children.

Launched in 2017, their project ‘Children Want Peace’ has since organized yearly field trips both ways, meaning Ukrainian children visited Georgia, and Georgian children got to experience Ukraine. Needless to say, the latter has no longer been possible since February of this year. Instead, the BSWC made significant efforts to increase the number of trips made to Georgia. So far, two trips for groups of around 20 children to the city of Batumi were made possible, the last one being in August, and the organization is planning to embark on another adventure this late fall/winter.

In order to organize such trips, BSWC predominantly collects their donations locally, as Liliya Grichulevich, one of the project’s coordinators, points out, with some of their employers financing certain aspects themselves. Overall, this initiative typically includes transportation costs, which have been made more complicated and, thus, more costly due to the airspace being closed over the country; accommodation; meals; and educational programs, which are, according to Ms. Grichulevich, filled with activities ranging from cooking and crafting to sightseeing and games. 

WECF is proud to support such initiatives and is hopeful to see more projects like these in the future. While the course of the war is hard to predict, it is certain that the approaching winter will be extremely difficult for the civilian population given the attacks on the country’s energy structure. Needless to say, a two-week field trip abroad where Ukrainian children can make new friends and memories and learn new skills, away from the horrors of Russian aggression, is an endeavor worth supporting. The WECF and the Black Sea Women’s Club will be thankful for any donations to their successful project “Children Want Peace”, information on which you can find by clicking on this link, or click directly on WECF’s Donate button (mentioning BSCW).