Results of the B50 Care program in 2023

The B50 Care program appeared at the end of 2022 after the successful implementation of the Kozachok project – the bomb shelter of this institution was the first one that B50 volunteers successfully transformed into a comfortable, bright children’s space. Based on the experience gained, they decided to launch a separate program of activities aimed at minimizing the impact of the war.

Currently, B50 Care has two projects running: Shelters and Fluffy Sunday.

As part of the Shelters project, we are transforming gloomy bomb shelters into safe and comfortable spaces for students of educational institutions, including basic repairs to the shelters, preparation, painting, and decorating the walls with brightly colored drawings.

As part of the Fluffy Sunday project, we take care of animals – every first Sunday of the month we help in shelters for cats, dogs, horses, donkeys… At the same time, we get a positive charge for the next four weeks: this is how we combine volunteering and pet therapy.

Shelters in 2023

The main project of B50 Care is Shelters, as all Ukrainians – both adults and children – need bomb shelters at the moment. Especially children, because kids are our future, and they need to develop fully, enjoy life and get an education despite the enemy shelling. That is why B50 volunteers within the Reconstruction project help turn shelters in educational institutions into safe spaces, and through the Shelters project fill them with comfort, peace, and beauty that can distract from air raids.

Last year’s achievements of the Shelters project in numbers:

organized volunteer
decorated children’s
volunteers involved in the project
hours worked
by volunteers together
days worked
by volunteers together

In 2023, the Shelters project traveled all over Kyiv region,
namely: Kyiv, Vorzel, Bohdanivka, Hornostaipil, Nova Hreblia, Borodianka.

In some shelters, they worked on their own, in others – after volunteers from Reconstruction project.

Activist artists who already have creative experience and beginners who gain it while volunteering join the Shelters.
Thus, our project brings a double benefit to those who use the bomb shelter and those who transform it, as the latter acquire new knowledge and skills and enjoy the creative process.

In 2023, B50 volunteers were the first to decorate shelter in a Kyiv school. During the blackouts, they often had to work under the light of flashlights and phones. Then they began to transform the shelter in Vorzel. Adler Ukraine employees joined the work at this facility, and as part of their corporate volunteering, they took over the repair and preparation of the walls for decoration.

School No. 147, Kyiv

The bomb shelter is large, and students of grades 1-11 are hiding here. So our volunteers implemented an idea common to all age groups – a map “With Ukraine in our hearts” – and decorated the walls with small drawings on school themes.

School No.10, Vorzel

The bomb shelter is small, has all the necessary communications, light, internet, but before B50 volunteers it was dirty and gloomy. Our artists have settled cute animals on the walls of the shelter, adding light, peace, and childhood to the room)))

In the spring, after the work was completed, Reconstruction volunteers decorated the shelter in Bohdanivka (3 of our projects were implemented there at once: repairs, decorating the shelter, and launching the P.AGE project). We also added paint to the already renovated shelter in Hornostaipil.

Bohdanivка Lyceum,
Brovary district

The shelter for the Lyceum, which was destroyed by the enemy, was set up in a residential building. B50 volunteers decorated it in the style of fantasy geometry and floral graphics and painted incredible Ukrainian flowers on the walls.

Hornostaipil Lyceum,
Vyshhorod district

The shelter did not need any repairs, only interesting drawings and bright colors. The creative concept was based on color abstraction. Now the walls of the shelter are decorated with animals, birds and colorful triangles.

After that, thanks to philanthropists who financed the purchase of building materials and paints, two locations were put into operation at once. The Borodianka shelter was sponsored by Takeoff head office, whose employees conducted internal fundraising and raised funds for the repair and decoration of the shelter. The bomb shelter in Nova Hreblia was transformed thanks to the Ukrainian company Bundlex.

Nova Hreblia Gumnasium,
Bucha district

The overall concept of the shelter’s decoration is travel. Thanks to the B50 volunteers, a fairy tale about travel came to life on the walls of three small rooms, and interesting tourist locations in Ukraine and the world appeared in the large one.

Kindergarten “Kolosochok”, Borodianka

Here, together with volunteers from Reconstruction, we transformed three areas of the shelter: a large room, a corridor and an entrance group. Mountains appeared on the walls everywhere – we not only decorated but also visually expanded the room.

Polina Koruts, coordinator of project Shelters, 31 trips, talks about why participating in the project Shelters is inspiring:

Here we create, add bright colors to the gray, hard everyday life. And the gratitude from the children for the “cheerful and bright shelter” motivates us to continue our work. The experiences are incredible! We did a great job)) And it gives us the strength and desire to keep creating.
For me, our project is like a fight between light and darkness. It may sound a bit pretentious, but it’s true. We live in dark times, sad and painful. But with the help of bright colors we bring back smiles and faith in the best. We are creating our future to spite our enemies!

The most active volunteers of the project:

  • Natalia Hryniuk and Anna Sarnavska – made 17 trips each;
  • Olena Petrenko and Yuliia Horbasenko – made 9 trips each;
  • Iryna Rehesha – 6 trips.
Bohdanivka Lyceum
School No. 10, Vorzel
Nova Hrebelia Gymnasium

The volunteers of the Shelters were featured in an ICTV story, a TAZ article about the transformation of Kozachok, and became the heroes of the B50 Chronicles of the Unknown Superheroes Ukrainians photo exhibition.

The Kozachok pilot project became an example of a successful transformation of a children’s bomb shelter and was included in the guidebook of the Irish NGO Changex, which invited us to participate in its project. As a result, we received funding to transform the shelter in the Zavoryvhi Gymnasium (Brovary district). Currently, volunteers from Reconstruction are working there, and then the decorating phase will begin. The creative concept is based on the theme of nature, and the rooms will be decorated with drawings from the ocean floor and the depths of the forest, which will be pleasant for kids (preschoolers and junior high school students who study at this gymnasium).

Fluffy Sunday in 2023

B50 activists started taking care of animals during the first volunteer clean-ups: they fed local cats and dogs and played with them. In the fall of 2022, they started helping animal shelters (they took part in the repair of premises, organized the collection of food and necessary items).

In November 2022, we first went to Best Friends  (Fasova village, Kyiv region) to dismantle old bombed-out cages and set up new spacious enclosures. This shelter and the help of B50 are described in the Inter story.

The B50 activists quickly became friends with Best Friends and started working regularly in this and other shelters, as they realized that such help was also needed. It is also useful for the volunteers themselves: communication with animals always brings good emotions and a positive charge. So now every first Sunday of the month is a fluffy one for the B50 community.

Last year’s achievements of the Fluffy Sunday project in numbers:

organized volunteer trips
volunteers involved in the project
hours worked
by volunteers together
days worked
by volunteers together

Throughout the year, volunteers helped Best Friends in various ways: removing old enclosures, chopping firewood, cleaning the territory, and bringing goodies.

Also in 2023, Fluffy Sunday volunteers regularly helped the shelters Dvorniashkan Dom and Dvorniashkan Cats: they brought food, treats, old clothes, hygiene and other necessary items, sewed beds, delivered cardboard for the arrangement of cages, and walked dogs.

The B50 volunteers became interested in such activities and sometimes do not mind changing the rubble removal and repair of kids bomb shelters to help animals and communicate with them.

The most active volunteers of Fluffy Sunday:

  • Oleksandr Tishura;
  • Oksana Stepura;
  • Olena Petrenko;
  • Elmira Yakubova;
  • Anna Skalii.

Anastasiia Baranova, project coordinator:

The most difficult thing, in my opinion, is to convey the importance of this project during the war, because many people believe that there are more important things than helping animals now. It is also emotionally difficult for many people to go to the shelter, and I was one of those people before my first trip. That’s why we need to explain why we do it and that animals are much safer in a shelter.
For me, of course, the best result is when people ask me how they can take an animal from the shelter, and then send me a photo of the dog/cat at home and thank me 🙂
As for the achievements in the work: it is cool to see that in the place where six months ago there were damaged cages that we dismantled, there are beautiful, strong cages, and there are happy fluffy animals in them.

In 2023, the volunteers of the B50 Care program managed to accomplish a lot (for example, the launch and successful implementation of a new project – Fluffy Sunday!), but there is still a lot of work to be done. That’s why we don’t stop!