#FundReise Day 15 – Shelter

21.12.2022 | cb — No comments

After the missile attack on Friday, Kyiv has quickly returned to normality. Sibylle is also resuming her blog activities. She recently visited a shelter for queer people in need run by our partner, KyivPride. Living under one roof with so many different people doesn’t always work out – it needs clear rules.

This is the blog of Sibylle von Tiedemann, co-founder of Munich Kyiv Queer. She no longer wanted to just watch what’s happening in Ukraine and travelled there. She visits our friends and partners, writes this blog and collects donations.

Power: astonishingly much!!!
Temperature: astonishingly good!!!
Donations: 9608,67 out of 18.000 Euros
Special occurrences: Back to normality
All post blogs: Sibylle’s Charity Trip to Ukraine

On Friday, December 16, I experienced the biggest rocket fire since the beginning of the war. It was frightening.

After more than four hours of air alert, the people of Kyiv have returned to normality quite fast. The flower seller came back to her street stall, people visit cafés, technicians repair the destroyed infrastructure.

You have heating or you simply don’t

The water (from tap) came back on Saturday, the heating on Sunday. It works fine in my private accommodation anyway, which is only true for some of Kyiv’s households. Electricity is switched off “on a rolling basis”, often unscheduled; heating is available or not.

And what about the people? I don’t want to say that they feel great, but it’s not catastrophic either. It’s a special country.

The day before the attack, I was invited to visit the shelter that KyivPride has been running since May 2022. Herewith, I submit the missing blog post.

Surprise meeting in Aroma Café

I have a confession to make: I can memorize faces very well, but I am not good with names. This is somehow stupid in a country where you traditionally find a lot of Olhas, Lenas and Nastyas. My cell phone is full of numbers like “Olha Kyiv”; some very old contacts are called “Lena Kiev”, this is the Russian transcription. (After Ukraine’s victory, you all will write Kyiv. I bet you will).

So I didn’t realise for a long time that KyivPride’s shelter is run by an Olha I personally know because she took part in Munich’s “Community Building” workshop in 2018. With Jul. The two form a couple. So to reunite was really great when we met at Aroma Kava nearby a central metro station.

In moments like these, I notice that Munich Kyiv Queer has been in touch with great people for so many years now. With people like Olha and Jul.

After the coffee, the two of them take me to the shelter. To come straight to the point: I am impressed. Very much. By the shelter. The organisation. The work that is done here. The importance for the LGBTIQ* community. It goes far beyond free sleeping.

In the shelter, they also offer jobs

“Why do people seek shelter here?”, I ask Olha and Jul. We are now sitting in the cosy living room. My smartphone is charging (always charge when possible …).

“People flee from occupied areas, the yhave lost their jobs due to the war and therefore have no income. Or they have problems with their parents,” Jul answers. Olha adds that they therefore not only offer accommodation, but also job training.

They train their guests on jobs that can be learned quickly: masseur, barista (Ukrainians are a coffee-crazy people!), hairdresser, waiter. The KyivPride shelter therefore is also a place for personal development. They’ll help you to find a job, offer psychological and legal counselling.

The shelter is exclusively for LGBTIQ* and they check this in advance. Upon moving in, passport details are photographed and a Covid vaccination certificate must be presented. People who come from the occupied areas – where it was and is impossible to get vaccinated – have to present a test and get vaccinated in Kyiv. It is free of charge and a very useful rule because many different people live here in a confined space.

The shelter offers space for 20 to 25 people who can stay for up to one month (previously: two weeks). It is situated in a large old house in the centre. In addition to the dormitory on a gallery, there is a kitchen/living room, a bathroom with toilet, a common room, an office and a small balcony, which is especially appreciated by the smokers. Because, smoking is prohibited in the shelter.

And that is not the only thing prohibited. Little by little, rules have been established. They are needed as many different people have to get along in a very small space and they actually only have three things in common: They belong to the LGBTIQ* community, are in an emergency situation and need accommodation in Kyiv.

The dishwasher was purchased for hygienic reasons. It is supposed to minimise the risks of infection. Since then, chicken has been allowed. Photo: Sibylle von Tiedemann

The rules are always about protecting – protecting the needs of the individuals, the group and the shelter. Readers of this blog who are familiar with living in shared flats and families certainly have an idea what I’m talking about. Silence, a clean room, daily routines are important. Since there is a war going on, everyone has to go to the underground bunker when the sirens start to howl. Without any single exception! These rules have to be acknowledged when moving in.

There is currently no great demand to live in the shelter compared to as it was in the first war months. But the situation can change fast: Kyiv has a massive problem with electricity and heating due to the Russian attacks already now; and the Ukrainian winter has not yet started. The number of people seeking protection can therefore rise again quickly.

Money for medicines, education

“How can Munich Kyiv Queer, how can people from Munich, how can we all help?”, I ask.

“Medication. We need money for medication,” Olha explains, referring to the cold season. And when it comes to the job training sessions, financial support would be great, too. “For materials, for the trainers.”

“Well, I’m sure that people in Munich will support such a great project,” I say confidently.

#FundReise #MunichKyivLove #18000Euro

This is how you can help

Individual help

Munich Kyiv Queer has its own fundraising campaign via to support people in Ukraine with whom we have worked closely over the past ten years. Keyword: #FundReise. They are our friends and partners. We know them personally and we miss them. We can help fast, directly and unbureaucratically.

Help for War Victims

The association “Bridge to Kiev” supports people in need, especially children and large families.

Recipient: Brücke nach Kiew e.V.
Bank: Raiffeisenbank München Süd eG
IBAN: DE74 7016 9466 0000 0199 50
Keyword: #FundTravel

A donation receipt can be issued for donations of 200 euros and more.

Help for LGBTIQ* organisations

To support LGBTIQ* in Ukraine we have helped set up the Alliance Queer Emergency Aid Ukraine, in which around 40 German LGBTIQ* Human Rights organisations are involved. All these groups have access to very different Human Rights organisations in Ukraine and use funds for urgently needed care or evacuation of queer people. Every donation helps and is used 100 percent to benefit queer people in Ukraine. Donate here


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