The first mobile rehabilitation unit for people affected by Russian aggression launched in Zhytomyr region
KYIV, January 18, 2024 — A mobile rehabilitation unit providing free psychosocial assistance and physical rehabilitation services to people affected by the full-scale Russian invasion was opened in the city of Ovruch, Zhytomyr region. The unit provides comprehensive rehabilitation to veterans, their families, and civilians.
The project was made possible by the joint efforts of the “Mindy” charity fund, the Coordination Center for Mental Health of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine, the “Barrier-Free” NGO, the Zhytomyr Regional Military Administration, and the Ovruch City Council, as well as members of the “Business Without Barriers” community, Visa and Oschadbank. The project was realized within the All-Ukrainian Mental Health Program “How Are You?”, which is being implemented at the initiative of First Lady Olena Zelenska.
This is the first facility created as part of a social franchise from the “Mindy” fund, a partner of the All-Ukrainian Mental Health Program, which envisages the development of a network of mobile rehabilitation units in small towns and amalgamated communities of Ukraine to make rehabilitation and psychosocial services available throughout the whole country, not only in large regional centers.
“The mobile rehabilitation unit will become an important element of the network that we are developing in the region. The Zhytomyr region is not only a fortress of air assault forces but also the bedrock of many more military units that have been fighting for Ukraine since 2014. Therefore, the need for quality rehabilitation services for defenders as well as war-affected civilians is constantly growing. I am grateful to everyone engaged in efforts to develop the patient rehabilitation network and help our military,” noted the Head of the Zhytomyr Regional Military Administration, Vitalii Bunechko.
“Even before, we have been massively thinking and working in this direction. And now that this unit has been established, we are working to ensure that it receives maximum support from our side and helps people. Thanks to the Head and First Deputy of the Zhytomyr Military Administration, we were able to study this project and implement it. From our side, I guarantee that we are doing and will do everything to ensure that the servicemen, their families, and war-affected individuals receive this assistance. And we will also implement measures to increase the number of hospital beds and expand the opportunities, both in the unit and in this field as a whole,” said the Head of the Ovruch City Council, Ivan Korud.
"The recovery of people and human capital is a strategic task that should involve everyone: the government, businesses, and NGOs. This project, made possible thanks to the synergy within the initiative of First Lady Olena Zelenska, is an example of bringing services closer to communities, even the most remote ones. This is a multifunctional barrier-free space where a person can recover both physically and mentally, which, importantly, happens simultaneously. And for this, you do not need to go to the regional center. Because the service should be where people live, where it is convenient for them to receive it," said Oksana Zbitnieva, Head of the Coordination Center for Mental Health of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine and Head of the “Barrier-Free” NGO.
"Today, Ukraine faces challenges in many directions, including how to recreate a healthy social fabric of society. For challenges of such scale, it is necessary to involve global best practices and the most modern social innovations. The “Mindy” team, together with partners, launched a social franchise as one of the tools that can be genuinely helpful, even in wartime. We are sure that the future of a new, happy, and successful Ukraine is based on such instruments," emphasized Bohdan Minenko, co-founder of the “Mindy” charity fund.
The mobile rehabilitation unit is a modern, technologically advanced, barrier-free space, assembled by Unitfab through modular technology and equipped with high-quality rehabilitation and computer equipment. In Ovruch, the area of the unit is 69 m².
The unit hosts a multidisciplinary team consisting of a case manager, a psychologist, a physical therapist, a speech therapist, and representatives of partner organizations that provide other services.
The specialists help with physical rehabilitation, prosthetics, speech therapy, psychological and legal support, and advice on education, retraining, and employment. In addition, the rehabilitation units are integrated into the local healthcare system and the National Health Service of Ukraine’s medical guarantees program, strengthening the system of secondary long-term rehabilitation after the main treatment period.
To become a patient of the Ovruch rehabilitation unit, one needs to visit the social franchise website and fill out an online questionnaire. After that, representatives of the unit will contact the applicant, choose a convenient time for the visit, and accompany them throughout the entire rehabilitation process.
"Our support for establishing this mobile rehabilitation unit is not a one-time action. This is part of Oschadbank’s new inclusive program, ‘My Barrier-Free’. Among other things, the program involves improving the physical accessibility of our branches for people with disabilities and a new service model for such clients as well as veterans. Our branches will be staffed by specially trained employees who will be able to advise demobilized Ukrainians on a much wider range of issues, not just banking services. Improvements to our digital banking that allow financial services to be provided without visiting branches are also planned and gradually implemented. The ‘My Barrier-Free’ program, including today's rehabilitation unit opening, is Oshchadbank's response to the challenges Ukrainian society is facing during the full-scale war," said the Chairman of the Board of Oshchadbank, Serhii Naumov.
"As a company that strives to be accessible to everyone, everywhere, we want all Ukrainian men and women to be able to unveil their full potential, no matter what they have to face," commented Svitlana Chyrva, Visa Vice President, Country Manager for Ukraine and Moldova. “We are glad to support the opening of a mobile rehabilitation unit in Ovruch because we believe that scaling up the project will help create full-fledged conditions for rehabilitation throughout Ukraine, from remote villages to de-occupied territories where the entire medical infrastructure has been destroyed. So that everyone can recover and return to a full life."
"Rehabilitation helps improve the quality of life and adapt to changes. The main thing that the team that worked with me has helped with, in addition to physical recovery, was overcoming emotional and psychological difficulties. In my opinion, at the stage of returning to a full-fledged social life, it is very important to get various kinds of help and support. It is also very convenient to do it in one place in your locality," shared Andrii Oliichuk, a veteran.
Prototypes of rehabilitation units are already operating in Kyiv and Rivne. Due to low production costs and the speed of installation, this format of rehabilitation space can be scaled within the country. Today, the production capacity of the social franchise is 40 units per year.
The project is part of a social franchise for installing a mobile rehabilitation unit in the city of Ovruch, Zhytomyr region, implemented by the “Mindy” charity fund in cooperation with the Coordination Center for Mental Health of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine and the “Barrier-Free” NGO within the All-Ukrainian Mental Health Program “How Are You?" which is being implemented at the initiative of First Lady Olena Zelenska. The project was made possible due to the support of the members of the “Business Without Barriers” community, Visa and Oschadbank, and with the assistance of the Zhytomyr Regional Military Administration.
Visa (NYSE: V) is a world leader in digital payments, facilitating payments transactions between consumers, merchants, financial institutions and government entities across more than 200 countries and territories. Our mission is to connect the world through the most innovative, convenient, reliable and secure payments network, enabling individuals, businesses and economies to thrive. We believe that economies that include everyone everywhere, uplift everyone everywhere and see access as foundational to the future of money movement. Learn more at Visa.com.ua.
Oshchadbank is the leading Ukrainian universal commercial bank, 100% of whose shares belong to the state. The bank has the largest network of branches and provides services to more than 6.2 million active customers, including individuals, SMEs, and the biggest private and state-owned Ukrainian companies.
About the “Mindy" charity fund
The “Mindy" charity fund was founded in 2022 with the aim of adapting veterans to civilian life. By the end of 2023, Mindy has provided more than 3,000 free sessions of psychosocial assistance and physical rehabilitation. Based on this experience, the team created a new social franchise project that provides much-needed free services in small towns in Ukraine.
About the “Barrier-Free” NGO
Center for coordination of expertise and promotion of barrier-free accessibility as a new social norm. The “Barrier-Free” NGO is an executive partner of the First Lady Olena Zelenska's initiative “Without Barriers”, aimed at creating equal opportunities for all Ukrainians, and the initiative to develop and implement the All-Ukrainian Mental Health Program.