The restoration of the de-occupied Kyiv region was the first activity of B50 volunteers and the first major project of the community, which eventually grew into a separate program.
Currently, B50 Restoration has two projects running: Clean Up!, which continues the tradition of the community’s first good deeds, and Reconstruction, which was a logical extension of the project to dismantle destroyed housing, instead helping to reconstruct the surviving but damaged buildings. Over time, this project developed to include the repair and arrangement of public spaces, primarily bomb shelters in children’s educational institutions.
Reconstruction project in 2023
The first object that B50 volunteers repaired (and then decorated with drawings) was a bomb shelter in the Kozachok kindergarten (Bucha). Thanks to this experience, we realized that we have the skills, strength and inspiration to transform children’s shelters and reconstruct public spaces.
Last year’s achievements of the Reconstruction project in numbers:
renovated children’s bomb shelters
In 2023, B50 volunteers carried out repairs at three locations, namely in:
- Bohdanivka Lyceum (Brovary district);
- Nova Hreblia Gymnasium (Bucha district);
- Kolosochok kindergarten (Borodianka).
At Bohdanivka Lyceum, the B50 volunteers had a number of interesting tasks to perform. Three walls in the bomb shelter were leaking, so we did a lot of external work to fix the root cause of the leak:
- finalized the stormwater system in the building,
- dismantled the old and poured new pavements around the shelter,
- reinforced the doorstep with concrete slabs.
After that, the walls were cleaned, plastered, and painted. We removed the varnish from the old lining, primed and painted it.
After Bohdanivka, B50 activists started reconstructing two facilities at once – in Nova Hreblia and Borodianka.
In the Nova Hreblia Gymnasium shelter, B50 volunteers were tasked with repairing four rooms: three small ones used by kindergarten students and one large one where primary school students are kept safe.
The volunteers dismantled the emergency plaster on the walls, performed plastering, waterproofed the walls, primed and painted the walls and ceiling, repaired the flooring, and improved the lighting system.
The shelter is now bright, spacious and safe!
In the bomb shelter of the Kolosochok kindergarten, B50 volunteers were tasked with repairing three areas of the shelter: a large room where the children actually stay (60 square meters), a corridor (25 square meters) and an entrance group (30 square meters). All rooms were repaired: plastering walls, painting walls and ceilings; refinement of the lighting system (in the large room), insulation of heating pipes (in the large room and corridor).
The reconstruction of the shelters in Nova Hreblia and Borodianka was funded by our partners, TakeOff and Bundlex. Subsequently, the skills and experience we gained allowed us to receive a grant from the ChangeX for a new project – the transformation of the shelter in Zavorychi Gymnasium (Brovary district). Currently, repairs are underway, and we plan to complete them in early 2024.
The Reconstruction project involves volunteers with experience in repair work and beginners who acquire new knowledge and skills in the process. Thus, at B50 you can find something to your liking and learn something new.
The most active volunteers of the Reconstruction project:
- Volodymyr Stetsiura, construction coordinator – 35 trips;
- Olena Petrenko – 12 trips;
- Oleksandr Shcherbinin – 9 trips;
- Oleksandr Prokofiev – 8 trips;
- Svitlana Diachenko – 6 trips.
Clean Up! in 2023
As part of the Clean Up! project, B50 volunteers worked very actively, organizing work trips every weekend (sometimes even three times a week).
Last year’s achievements of the Clean Up! project in numbers:
Most often we worked in Moshchun. This small village that “protected” Kyiv in February-April 2022, has suffered catastrophic destruction – about 80% of the houses here were destroyed. So, there is a lot of work in Moshchun, and B50 volunteers are diligently helping the locals overcome the consequences of the war.
We also helped at the Best Friends animal shelter in Fasova. They dismantled old enclosures destroyed by the war. Later, this assistance grew into a separate project called Fluffy Sunday.
In 2023, B50 activists also worked in Irpin, Zahaltsi, Potashnia, and tested a new format of work – a volunteer camp.
June and March were the busiest months of the year, with B50 activists making 13 trips each.
Oleksandr Tishura, coordinator of volunteer activities of the Clean Up! project, who made 87 trips, shares his impressions of the “volunteer year”.
In 2023, B50 activists continued to clean up the destruction in the Kyiv region on a weekly basis and dismantle the buildings destroyed by the rashists. A lot of work was done this year and, unfortunately, there is still a lot of work to be done. In 2023, there were also large locations that took a lot of time to clean up. Sometimes it is not easy to find motivation for such monotonous work, which also involves hard physical labor. But each location we cleaned inspires us to continue helping people in need. In addition, the B50 community has become a real family for its members: volunteers support each other during their work and communicate outside of volunteer events.
I remember the two-day camping trips. It was a rewarding experience. And most importantly, the final result was achieved: in two days, the locations where the volunteers went were cleared. We hope that such trips will become a good tradition in 2024.
The most active volunteers in 2023 were:
- Oksana Stepura – 84 trips;
- Yuliia Horbasenko – 56 trips;
- Svitlana Rudokvas – 50 trips;
- Denys Khrystenko – 49 trips;
- Anastasia Baranova and Olena Petrenko – 47 trips.
In 2023, employees of the Ukrainian office of Glovo, the Embassy of the Republic of Estonia in Kyiv (on World Cleanup Day), and Gravity joined the project as part of Corporate volunteering.
The volunteers of the Restoration Program became the heroes of photo exhibitions organized by the B50 community: Stronger than bricks in Ukraine and Chronicles of the Unknown
Superheroes Ukrainians in Europe. They were also featured in an exhibition organized by the Kyiv City State Administration on the occasion of the Volunteer Day on the Glass Bridge.
The work of the volunteers in the Clean Up! project was featured in stories by ICTV, Polish journalists, UNIAN, Hromadske, German publications Die Welt and TAZ, and American blogger Davion West, and Reconstruction – ICTV.
2023 was a very “volunteer” and very busy year for the B50 community. There is still a lot of work to be done, so let’s keep working!