Life in Investohills Shelter That Opened Its Doors in Zaporizhia Almost a Year Ago
Children sheltered in Investohills Support Center, a gratis shelter for IDPs in Zaporizhia, learned to decorate Easter eggs. Journalists of zprz.city watched them doing it.
Investohills Support Center opened its doors in Zaporizhia in late April 2022, almost a year ago.
According to its manager Mykola Horodenskyi, the shelter intended for 180 people accepted about 700 residents of Zaporizhia, Luhansk, Donetsk, and Kherson Oblasts.
Some of its residents managed to find accommodation in Zaporizhia; some left for safer regions of Ukraine or abroad, and some went back to the occupied territory because their property remained there.
They intended to return to Zaporizhia eventually but could not leave the occupied territory once the Vasylivka checkpoint closed on December 15.
Today, there are 57 residents in the Center, including 20 kids. Families with children have been a priority for the center from the beginning.
Its long-time residents have become friends by now, as well as their children. Sometimes a family that has found another place to live in Zaporizhia comes back to the Center just to chat.
They also come when the Center hosts some events. They do it quite often, especially on the occasion of various holidays. Master classes in Easter egg decoration were organized on the eve of Easter.
“Investohills Support Center always upholds national cultural traditions and is happy to organize festive events for adults and children we are sheltering,” Mykola Horodenskyi explains, “Easter is the most important Orthodox holiday that symbolizes the triumph of faith, the victory over sin and death, and the beginning of a new life.” This day is replete with traditions and symbolism.
One can hardly imagine the bright holiday of Easter without the Easter egg as its main symbol. Painting eggs is a way to honor the miracle that announced the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
On the eve of Easter, children learned to decorate Easter eggs by applying traditional symbolic patterns.
Inspired, they drew the sacred symbols diligently because egg painting develops attention, creativity, and imagination. Importantly, it also reminds us of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
The Easter Eggs children event was organized by PosmishkaUA charity and supported by their Save the Children partners.
Facilitators Maryna Shkonda and Taisiia Polietaieva worked with the children.
They told children about the traditional symbolism of Ukrainian Easter eggs and the meaning of various patterns and colors. They also discussed symbols conducive to a rich harvest, good health and longevity, or love.
Children drew their symbols on paper and painted the Easter eggs. While the paint dried, the facilitators invited master class participants (about 20 children) to take part in speed, attention, and endurance competitions.
In the meantime, Olga Manzhura, psychologist of PosmishkaUA charity, presented her master class in making a Flower candle from wax.
The master classes for children and adults were hosted in a spacious, well-decorated room with a bright map of Ukraine on the wall.
“This is a bomb shelter that used to be neglected,” Investohills Support Center’s director Mykola Horodenskyi explains, “We refurbished this space in a week just before the New Year to create some event space.
Children like doing sports here. Thanks to benefactors from the USA, we bought a wall bar and other sports equipment and provided some space for roller skating. A trampoline was installed in the room last year.
Yuliia Kolinko, an artist from Energodar residing in our shelter with her daughter and mother (they are all artists), offered to make a painting on the wall.
We opted for a patriotic map of Ukraine. It is somewhat childish with the pictures, but it is accessible to children.
Everyone liked the idea. I announced a fundraiser for paints. Working together, we implemented this project jointly.
Back home in Energodar, the artists painted their apartment house entrance, and Yuliia painted a wonderful map here.
Her daughter Sabina took part in many competitions here and won a lot of them.
She made a model of a Ukrainian house and presented it to Andriy Volkov. As a sign of gratitude, he paid for a sculpting course and gave her a laptop.”
“I constantly try to be present in these people’s lives,” Uliana said, “I help organize events, such as Constitution Day, Independence Day, and Vyshyvanka Day.
We emphasize our national holidays to develop patriotism and love for Ukraine. We want to distract people from the horrors they saw under the occupation, stress, problems, and other difficulties.
It is important to support them in believing they will return to their homes. And we have to do everything to make sure these people do not give up. So, this is why I am here!”
Photos by Iryna Yehorova and Mykola Horodenskyi