About 7,000 young volunteers responded to a call by the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the Ukrainian Volunteer Service (UVS) to support people who were alone during the COVID-19 pandemic. Since the beginning of the quarantine, they have made 15,000 telephone calls, including to the elderly, as well as people with disabilities, and parents with many children - all those who have sought support - as part of the My Telephone Friend (Befriend) project.
There are 2.7 million people with disabilities in Ukraine and 740,000 elderly people living alone - for them and for many other categories of the population, restriction of contact and self-isolation have become a real challenge.
In June 2020, with the support of the Ministry of Social Policy of Ukraine, UNICEF and the UVS launched the My Telephone Friend project. The project has already brought together about 7,000 volunteers from all over Ukraine.
For phone friends with whom volunteers communicate, weekly calls have become an opportunity to share their own life experiences and learn more about today's youth.
To find a phone friend or an acquaintance, call the free hotline 0 800 202 147 (Monday to Friday from 12:00 to 20:00). To become a project volunteer, you need to register at https://befriend.volunteer.country/.
The project is supported by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The project partners are already the Ministry of Youth and Sports, the Ministry of Social Policy and Public Broadcasting.