Veterans of the conflict in eastern Ukraine, activists of non-governmental organizations, community initiative groups from Kyiv region, and representatives of international organizations have been united today at the friendly football match in Kyiv, organized by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) with the support of the Ministry of Veterans Affairs and the European Union.

The game was conducted in the framework of the EU project “Reintegration Support for Veterans of the Conflict in Eastern Ukraine and Their Families” to foster dialogue and team-building among Kyivites and veterans.

The game which brought together 20 players was conducted in the format of the match for human rights: it was held without referees, the participants chose the captains themselves, composed the first and second teams. The support of women, people with disabilities and less experienced players was encouraged.

“Veterans have already shown by their actions that they are willing to defend their country. With support to overcome the challenges they face, this positive energy can be harnessed to bring good for all of society,” said Ambassador Hugues Mingarelli, Head of the EU Delegation to Ukraine. “That is why the EU believes that providing assistance to veterans and their families is such an important contribution to Ukraine’s safe and secure development.”

Hryhorii Halahan, First Deputy Minister for the Veterans of Ukraine, thanked EU and IOM for their support of the veteran' reintegration.

“Over the past 25 years, the International Organization for Migration has become one of the global leaders in supporting former combatants and the communities to which they return with reintegration programmes implemented in over 30 countries. IOM’s experience shows that active involvement of veterans into community life is a guarantee of consolidation and stabilization of the society, and today we share this experience with Ukraine,” said Dr. Lore Szlapak, IOM Ukraine Officer in Charge.

IOM’s engagement with veterans builds upon its crisis response programming that has assisted over 400,000 internally displaced and conflict-affected persons with humanitarian, livelihoods and social cohesion support in response to the annexation of Crimea and military actions in the east of Ukraine since 2014.

The EU-funded project has been implemented by IOM in three pilot regions – Kyiv, Dnipropetrovsk and Lviv. It lasts from January 2019 until June 2020. The project supports social cohesion activities, such as sports events, master-classes, round tables with representatives of local authorities. Qualified psychological assistance is provided by professionals, who passed trainings on psychosocial support provision to veterans and their families. Another project component is career development and self-employment trainings, followed by grants provision. Up to 400 veterans who pass the competitive selection will be provided with grants of up to EUR 400 for vocational courses, re-qualification or advanced trainings. As many veterans will receive grants of up to EUR 1,000 for business development.

To apply for a re-qualification grant, veterans from Kyiv, Dnipropetrovsk and Lviv regions are invited to visit:
http://bit.ly/ПрофосвітаВетеранам

Link for a business grant application: http://bit.ly/ГрантиВетеранам

According to the Ministry of Veterans of Ukraine, there are about 370,000 veterans of the conflict in eastern Ukraine, many of whom encounter significant challenges attempting to reintegrate into civilian life. As found by a World Bank study, about one-third of the veterans who had a job before the conflict are now unemployed, partially due to negative perceptions of veterans among employers, including challenges with post-traumatic stress disorder, disabilities, and general mistrust.