Ukraine Acted

A greenhouse for resilience

Since 24 February 2022, and the start of the Russian full-scale invasion, the lives of millions of Ukrainians have been turned upside down. This is the case of Ruslan*, a farmer and veterinary doctor by education, who had been working in Poland for several years before choosing to return to his native village near Boromlya, Sumska Oblast, some twenty kilometres from the Russian border. Here, there is no work opportunity and people are struggling to get by. Acted supports the local population by providing livelihood grants, enabling eligible individuals to restart and maintain an economic activity to meet their financial needs.

Ruslan answering Acted’s questions in his garden. Boromlya. 28.05.2024.

With the support of the European Union, Acted and the Estonian Refugee Council are providing 784 emergency livelihoods pilot grants in rural conflict-affected communities in Chernihivska, Kharkivska, Sumska and Zaporizka oblasts, to support 2,247 individuals in meeting minimum subsistence standards and with the aim of gradually reducing the caseload of humanitarian Multi-Purpose Cash provided.

Ruslan welcomes us to his garden, under a beautiful blue sky, with a smile on his face. Half a dozen newborn ducklings follow him around. He leads us straight to the new greenhouse he has just bought with the support of Acted. Inside, tomatoes and cabbages are growing, ready for harvest in a few months’ time. A henhouse and some outdoor plantings surround the greenhouse.

Come into the shade, we'll be better able to talk.

Ruslan

Rulsan’s greenhouse. Boromlya. 28.05.2024.

Ruslan leads us under a tree, to protect us from the spring sun. He explains that he is 64 years old and lives here with his wife. His son has left for the army and his daughter lives elsewhere with her husband. They recently bought the house in which he welcomes us, as the old one was too damaged and too expensive to maintain, despite help to repair the windows from another NGO.

Ruslan learned that Acted could help him thanks to an information meeting organised by the local authorities. He immediately applied for the livelihood grant. Thanks to this grant, he was able to buy this greenhouse as well as seeds and some farming equipment. He then sells his vegetables, mainly to neighbours and friends, and occasionally at the market. This activity earns him enough money to meet his basic needs.

I have no trouble finding customers. I can sell my vegetables every day. It works thanks to word of mouth here.

Ruslan

Nevertheless, Ruslan earns less than he did before the invasion and, even though he eats his harvest, he has had to make a few budget cuts, particularly for clothes and medicines. He cannot repair his house or improve his farm either, as renovation materials are too expensive. Most of the time, when he needs to buy those items, he uses his own savings.

But Ruslan is still smiling, he feels comfortable and safe here, and when we ask him about his future plans, he tells us that he has some good ideas to improve his little farm.

Ruslan answering Acted’s questions in his garden. Boromlya. 28.05.2024.

The best would be to buy a new, bigger greenhouse or raise pigs. Can’t I just ask you for a second grant for that?

Ruslan

The emergency livelihood assistance provided by Acted with the support of the European Union is helping people in difficulty to increase their resilience during this difficult period. It enables individuals to meet their basic needs while returning to a sustainable activity with dignity.

*The name has been changed to protect the identity of the individual

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