Kirovohrad region: youth in Pomichnyanska hromada takes active stance both in peace time and war time

Kirovohrad region: youth in Pomichnyanska hromada takes active stance both in peace time and war time

Author: Petro Melnyk

Photo: courtesy of the Department of Education of the City Council

Decentralization set the pace for a majority of significant projects in Pomichna, Kirovohrad region. The Pomichnyanska hromada, an amalgamated territorial community, formed on January 1, 2018 accelerating change in the public sector. The hromada’s youth council formed in November 2018 welcoming proactive and enthusiastic girls and boys.  

Since then, the young community members implemented a number of creative initiatives. Some of them are Open Air Cinema, IAMB news web site, CARBON Regional Youth Forum etc.

In the early days of work, the youth council was in need of a place to meet, hold gatherings, brainstorm, plan future projects, and spend time together.


The Youth Council of the Pomichnyanska community is holding its regular meeting. Photo: Vladyslav Sodel


Taking initiative to create own space


In the first six months, the youth council gathered on weekends in the office of the head of the Department of Education of the City Council. The young people used to joke that they are the only holders of the keys. The Office of Education was located in a municipal building with a hall that was not used for years. The hall was made available for the youth council. It was rundown, yet it did not scare off the young people. The girls and boys developed a renovation plan that would turn it into a modern youth center. And so the work began.     


Hromada backs the idea of the youth council


“As long as there are ideas to support, funding will come. That is what happened in our case,” said the head of the Department of Education of the City Council, head of the NGO “Young Pomichnyanska Hromada” Nina Semashko. “Young activists of the Pomichnyanska hromada implemented their idea through an international assistance program. The donor would fund 85 per cent of the project, and the remaining 15 per cent is funded by the local government. Our young people were quick to shape the project proposal. Active girls and boys gathered to discuss ways to implement the project in the hromada. They decided almost unanimously to create a youth center. They came up with a short fitting name – 4us,” Nina Semashko proceeded.  

The youth council began thorough work on an application for grant funds. They developed the concept of the center, envisioned its design down to the smallest details, and picked furniture, lighting, and computer equipment. The Department of Education of the City Council and other adults counselled them. The city’s mayor Mykola Antoshyk vowed support for the project. The City Council unanimously backed the youth council’s bid pledging 15 per cent of the funding under the co-financing option. The project team renovated the hall with municipal funds, and bought equipment including a projector, screen, laptop, sound system, lighting, and microphones with funding by the international assistance program. Donor funding also covered the costs of flooring, ceiling covering, and furniture. It took them almost a year to complete all paper work, procurement procedures, and renovation works. The youth center was ready to open its doors when the COVID-19 pandemic began. In-person events were halted. Meanwhile, many activists of the youth council entered universities prioritizing student life. As COVID restrictions eased, the youth center restarted work hosting academic competitions, arts programs, media literacy training sessions complying with COVID mandates.           


Among the events that take place in the center, intellectual games are the most popular


Opening doors to entire community


Over time, the youth center turned into a community center where various actors would hold literary events, seminars, workshops, and training sessions. In the center, academicians and historians from all around Ukraine would meet with the community, and the Deaprtment of Education would hold work meetings.  

“Our youth eagerly welcomes guests in the youth center as the community life in the Pomichnyanska hromada is intense and exciting,” Nina Semashko said.


Youth center responds to Russia’s invasion


As Russia started a full-scale invasion of Ukraine, the youth center began to work around the clock. At first, it was converted into a site where volunteers knotted camouflage nets. Later, as a number of internally displaced in the hromada soared, reaching 800 people, the center became a meeting point for those who fled the war.   

The volunteers supplied the Ukrainian troops with hundreds of square meters of camouflage nets. As the war began, community activists who founded the center came back home and took an active role in supplying the army. They are Maksym Todorov, Alina Huldas, and Iryna Belmeha.

Later, a camouflage net point moved to a school.


Classes for temporarily displaced women are conducted by the head of the NGO "Young Helpful Community" Nina Semashko


Sheltering refugees from Mariupol, Bucha, Irpin, and Izyum


“In the youth center, displaced women and children get psychological support. The center became again what it was, a meeting point. Refugees from Mariupol, Chernihiv, Kharkiv, Bucha, Irpin, Hostomel, Izyum, and Mykolayiv share their stories. What a happy and carefree life we lived before the war. We had plans and implemented them. We now all work hard and sincerely believe in victory,” Nina Semashko said.

Initiatives by the hromada’s youth activists leave no doubt that Ukraine will win, community actors say.


war stories war youth


Кіровоградська область


Помічнянська територіальна громада


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