July 18, 2023

First “Oplich HUB” Community Centre Opens Its Doors in Zaporizhzhia With Support of UN Global Compact and Metinvest

On 18 July, Metinvest Group’s Saving Lives humanitarian initiative and the UN Global Compact in Ukraine, with assistance from Zaporizhzhia regional council and other partners, opened the first “Oplich HUB” community centre in Zaporizhzhia.

The aim of the centre is to unite the city’s residents for mutual support and assistance in times of uncertainty. This initiative is a continuation of the Mental Help project of the UN Global Compact in Ukraine, which aims to provide free psychological assistance to Ukrainians in wartime.

Metinvest’s Saving Lives initiative has helped to equip and furnish the premises for the centre at the Steelworkers’ Palace of Culture, and also engaged psychologists and staff.

Oplich HUB“ is a safe, inclusive space where visitors are offered individual psychological counselling, group art therapy for adults and children, yoga, lectures, workshops and legal advice. All services of the centre are free and confidential.

The humanitarian project plans to set up similar centres in other cities where the Group operates, so that as many people as possible can receive psychological support.

Tetiana Petruk, Metinvest’s Chief Sustainability Officer, said: “With the war now in its 17th month, each of us is psychologically exhausted. But we have all learnt to keep this exhaustion to ourselves. This impacts our mental health. We understand that the need for psychological help, especially in interesting and comprehensible formats, is enormous. There are many women who have to provide support to their children, for their loved ones who will return from the war. Their mental health is a priority. And many children may have certain psychological traumas caused by stress, even if they are not on the surface. Understanding all of this, we are providing an opportunity for such groups of the population to receive assistance. ‘Oplich HUB’ is the place you can always turn to and where you will never be rejected.”

The hub employs the best professionals in psychology, art therapy and yoga, who have been trained by international experts from the Israel Trauma Coalition, University of California, Los Angeles, and University of Denver.

Tetiana Sakharuk, Director General of the UN Global Compact in Ukraine, said: “Unity and mutual help at all levels and in all spheres is what will help us as a nation win this war. We are pleased to open an ‘Oplich HUB’ in Zaporizhzhia, standing side-by-side with our partners. Together, we have created a psychological safety hub for Zaporizhzhia residents. Here you will be able to open up and share your fears, as well as feel part of a community and find the strength to face the challenges of our time. The hub’s specialists have been trained in psychological assistance by the world’s best experts. You can trust them and rely on their help.”

At the opening of the hub, representatives of the UN Global Compact in Ukraine, Metinvest and Zaporizhzhia regional council held a panel discussion on the importance of uniting communities for mutual support in times of uncertainty.

Olena Zhuk, Chairperson of Zaporizhzhia regional council, said: “There is no physical health without mental health, and mental health without physical health. For a very long time, Zaporizhzhia residents and internally displaced persons have been constantly under stress. Aid raid sirens, explosions, destruction, news from the frontline, worries about loved ones: all this has a great impact on mental health. Many people try to repress all their emotions, but this can only do harm. On behalf of the regional council, I would like to thank the entire project team for uniting around such an important initiative and finding the best way to bring it to life. It is crucial to feel supported now and try to build your future life. So I encourage all people who have ever thought about the need for psychological help to visit ‘Oplich HUB’.”

All the project partners who contributed to the launch of the community centre took part in the opening of “Oplich HUB”. Alongside Metinvest, they include Carlsberg Ukraine, Biosphere Corporation, Caparol Ukraine, Epicentr-K, Zaporizhzhia regional council, Foxtrot Group, Bob Snail, Hungarian Interchurch Aid (HIA), Free Legal Aid and the V. G. Magar Zaporizhzhia Academic Regional Ukrainian Music and Drama Theatre.

Anyone wishing to receive assistance from “Oplich HUB” can visit us at 7 Dobroliubova St, Zaporizhzhia. You can find the hub’s opening hours on its Telegram channel and Viber channel. You can sign up to participate in the centre’s activities by calling +380 66 853 78 98 or visiting the centre.

To recap, in April 2023, Metinvest’s Saving Lives humanitarian initiative, the UN Global Compact in Ukraine and Zaporizhzhia regional council signed a memorandum to establish a psychological rehabilitation and support centre for civilians affected by the war.

The Saving Lives humanitarian initiative was created by the Group in coordination with the Rinat Akhmetov Foundation at the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Over more than 15 months of full-scale war, the project has helped almost 500,000 people in 70 communities. Ukrainians have received more than 4,200 tonnes of foodstuffs and hygiene products, and hospitals have received medicines, consumables and equipment worth EUR250,000. Nearly 200 companies from around the world, 400 volunteers and 10 foundations and public organisations have joined the project. Over more than a year of its activities, assistance from donors has surpassed EUR2.7 million. Saving Lives’ main areas of activity include prosthetics and rehabilitation for the military and civilians, as well as psychological support for women and children.

The UN Global Compact in Ukraine is the Ukrainian network of the world’s largest community of responsible businesses. This special initiative of the UN Secretary General is a call to companies to align their operations and strategies with the sustainable development goals and 10 principles in the areas of human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption. The organisation has 22,000 participants in 162 countries. The Ukrainian network has 126 participants.

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