Renovated damaged homes in Ukraine. PCPM helps get through the winter

Remont domów w Cyrkunach
Remont domów w Cyrkunach

Tsyrkuny, affected by the Russian occupation, is one of the many ruined places in Ukraine. In this village, inhabited mainly by elderly and disabled people, the coming winter poses a particular threat. The Polish Center for International Aid (PCPM) has already renovated 36 buildings. The goal is to renovate 80 houses that will enable the survival of the most needy in Tsyrkuny. Michal Kulpinski of the PCPM stresses the urgency of action before winter.

The village of Tsyrkuny is located north of Kharkiv, more than 20 km from the Russian border. The village was under Russian occupation from February to September 2022. For many residents, this was the most difficult period, where they feared for their lives every day and had to fight for food.

Prior to the escalation of the conflict in Ukraine, about 6,000 residents lived in Tsyrkuny. Now it is mostly the elderly who are left behind. The village was in artillery range for a long time, and therefore many houses were damaged. Some residents left even before February 2022. After the occupation began, those who remained and who had more strength tried to flee from Russia to the European Union.

Escaping the occupation

One such person is teacher Nadieya.

– I took my dog and small luggage. My friend and I braided white ribbons on our shoulders because only so marked could we go outside. And we set off on our way. This one led through Russia because the occupiers of Ukraine did not let the locals into the free territories – says the teacher. She made her way through Poland to Western Ukraine and returned to Tsyrkuny after liberation.

There are tens of thousands of stories like Nadieja’s, and often Ukrainians flee to the EU through Latvian territories. In that Baltic country, the PCPM Foundation supported the Latvian organization Tavi Draugi for almost a year to help return refugees.

67-year-old Nadieja was “lucky.” Her roof was damaged only by shrapnel. Many other residents of Tsyrkuny are not so lucky and have to live in outbuildings, for example.

Winter is coming. Renovated of 80 houses

The PCPM Foundation, together with a local partner and with financial support from the Taiwanese government, has renovated damaged houses in Tsyrkuny. Importantly, the work is being carried out according to UN guidelines. Which also determines the scope of the work and financial limits for the projects carried out. For people like Nadieya, it’s a chance to at least live in airtight buildings where heat doesn’t escape.

– We don’t have the funds to renovate completely destroyed buildings. Limited reconstruction is already within our reach, assures Michal Kulpinski of the PCPM. At this point, more than 36 buildings have been renovated. In total, the PCPM wants to renovate 80 houses, which allows the most needy in Tsyrkuny to survive the winter. Among others, retired teacher Nadieya will get a sealed roof and windows.

The construction work is carried out by volunteers from Kharkiv, for whom this occupation is a form of social rehabilitation. This is because they are talking about sober alcoholics and drug addicts who could not serve in the army. Thanks to this work, they can feel useful again.

Home renovations are one of the many activities planned throughout Ukraine, and they can be carried out thanks to the Taiwanese government. In total, PCPM has received $4 million for Ukrainian projects.