Response stories

Combating discrimination at the humanitarian aid point

Sofia came to receive humanitarian aid at the Social Assistance Centre point. Many people were in the Point, and everyone was waiting their turn, so the girl suggested her mother and child wait outside.

When Sofia’s turn came, the girl received a grocery set and clothes that did not fit her. She immediately asked to replace them. The woman who had given out the aid got angry and started shouting: “I won’t change anything! Be grateful for everything being given to you for free! Look at her, how picky she is! If you want something better, go to the soldiers; they will give you what you like!”

Sofia was confused and ashamed because many people heard this; they started looking around and whispering. The girl tried to defend herself and emphasized that the woman had no right to speak like that, everyone was equal, and she also had an IDP certificate. In response, the employee of the Point grabbed the grocery set and the clothes she had given before, put them aside, and said with a smile: “Everyone has a certificate, but not everyone is dissolute! There is nothing to do here for you! The others will get more! Get out of here, boorish you, or I’ll call the police!” None of the people around came to the girl’s defense. In despair, Sofia called her friend, who had already turned for help fighting against discrimination, to REAct specialists.

Sofia received a consultation from an amicable psychologist aimed at working with her experiences, relationships, problems, and conflicts. The psychologist helped the girl learn self-regulation, find ways to solve her problems, observe and clarify her life situation, and actualize additional resources to adapt to new conditions or find the way out of difficult circumstances. The consultation also included information on stress management tools and dealing with panic attacks.

In her turn, a lawyer from the partner organization provided advice on the client’s rights, a reference to the legislation for guidance, and helped file a complaint about the social worker.

The next day, Sofia turned to the head of the social and humanitarian aid department and filed a complaint about the employee. They apologized, immediately provided the necessary aid, and promised to react to the employee’s actions. A day later, Sofia got a call saying such situations were unacceptable, so the social worker got fired.