#UNACOPERTAPERLUCRAINA: CESVI and the Municipality of Bergamo together against the cold emergency in Ukraine


Cold temperatures and continuous blackouts are testing the survival of millions of people in Ukraine. Currently, according to data provided by local authorities, 10 million people are without electricity and heating and temperatures could drop to -20°.

In the city of Bucha CESVI, together with the government authorities and the Municipality of Bergamo, is setting up 11 heating points, heated structures where the civilian population can take refuge during the day to warm up, find comfort and receive blankets, food and hot drinks. The heating points are mostly located near public buildings to be able to use the internet line, the toilets and a place of shelter in the event of missile attacks and are equipped with heating systems that can be switched between electricity, wood and gas according to the availability of the energy sources foreseen by the Government.

Basic necessities will also be provided inside the heating points: milk, energy bars, baby food for children under 3, biscuits, sugar, tea, coffee and blankets. To support this emergency, symbolically represented by a blanket, the crowdfunding campaign #UNACOPERTAFORLUKRAINA was born: it is possible to make a donation on gofundme.org and demonstrate your closeness to the Ukrainian people by posting an image on social networks that represents us with a blanket.

“The city of Bergamo and the city of Bucha, united by a twinning, are the symbol of two tragedies: the first of the Covid-19 pandemic and the second of the violence of the Russian occupation. Just as we have been close to our city to encourage its rebirth, we at CESVI continue to be active in Bucha to support the civilian population who have decided to stay in their city. Today, however, a new component is added to the Ukrainian emergency – declares Maurizio Carrara Honorary President of CESVI. “In fact, another danger is added to the fear of bombs, which is the cold. WHO estimates that up to three million people could leave their homes in search of warmer, safer places. The risks to which they could be exposed, if not assisted, are respiratory infections, pneumonia, flu and measles. Thanks to this intervention, in collaboration with the Municipality of Bergamo, we expect to reach around 20,000 people, especially women, children and the elderly”.

CESVI was the first Italian NGO to bring its humanitarian aid to the city of Bucha for the reconstruction of the city and its social fabric. At the same time, the Municipality of Bergamo, after a mission by Mayor Gori to the city and a meeting with the mayor Anatoliy Fedoruk, activated a twinning in June to contribute, together with CESVI, to the restart of the city. The #UNACOPERTAFORLUKRAINA initiative is the natural continuation to support, at this critical moment of the year, Ukrainian civilians, who have remained frozen.

“Our emergency team has been active in the Bucha district, with an operational base, since May 2022 for the promotion of activities and initiatives aimed above all at the most vulnerable groups, women, children and the elderly” declares Lorena D’Ayala Valva Deputy General Manager of CESVI. “In July we started a day center which carries out informational, recreational and non-formal education activities for minors and families in the city. The renovation of the Arcobaleno nursery school damaged by bombing and by the occupation of Russian soldiers has been completed, while the refurbishment of other kindergartens in the city continues. In parallel with the reconstruction of the structures, the psychosocial reconstruction activities continue with a team of experts for the management, both with children and adults, of the effects of post-traumatic stress linked to the conflict”.

Specifically, the CESVI activities in the Bucha district are:

CREATIVE PLAY ACTIVITIES: the Children Safe Space day center is active with 3 educators who offer recreational and educational activities for an average daily target of 25 girls and boys, in the 4-8 and 8-12 age group. To date, 200 children have participated in the project through ludic-recreational activities and 100 children and young people involved in non-formal education services.

PSYCHOSOCIAL SUPPORT FOR CHILDREN AND ADULTS: the day care center of Bucha also acts as an access point for the identification of families who are in a condition of fragility, whose members need psychosocial support. The latter are approached by a team of experts and directed to specialized psychologists. To date, 50 professionals have been trained in conflict-related post-traumatic stress management and 94 therapy sessions have been carried out (of which 5 in groups) with 3 psychologists, from which approximately 70 people have benefited.

NURSERY PROJECT: after the completion of the «Arcobaleno» nursery school (300 children will thus be able to start attending it again) the project also envisages the rearrangement and restoration of the rest areas of the city’s kindergartens (attended by around 500 children) which they were occupied during the invasion of the area and used as a support base by the Russian military, and therefore needed a replacement of all materials (from beds to sheets through to educational material).

Support the Ukrainian population!

© Photos by Fabrizio Spucches