After the start of the full-scale invasion, we started working twice as hard. Both before the war and now we work with the same team. However, in the first days of the war, out of 12 people, only three of us worked" - social cafe "Vytaniya".
In the city of Drohobych, the social enterprise "Vytaniya" works as an ordinary cafe. For new visitors, this establishment is primarily a place where one can eat something delicious. And only then, people learn about the social mission of this enterprise - to provide food to vulnerable groups of the population. From February 24, the target audience of the cafe was also joined by temporarily displaced persons who came from the regions where the war was actively spreading.
"Now, you may ask how we distinguish immigrants or other representatives of vulnerable groups of the population. I will say that they are immediately visible. They’ve never demanded food. There have never been such thing. These people, they are very modest, they ask for at least something. A bun or maybe tea. Of course, we provide them with full meal. About 50 people come to us every day" – says Liuba Koval, administrator of the "Vytaniya" cafe.
"When the war started, it was difficult for everyone psychologically. In the first days of the war, out of 12 people, only three of us worked. We just started to meet immigrants. The bus arrived, and there were so many people that it was impossible to count them. We treated them to tea, coffee, cookies, whatever we had. And everyone had their own painful story. Everyone needed support and someone to listen to them and to help at least with kind words," Liuba shared with us.
In the spring of this year, the social enterprise "Vytaniya" received financial support from the Ukrainian Social Venture Fund within the framework of the Grant Program Social Enterprises for Emergency. The funds received were directed to the purchase of additional kitchen equipment to facilitate and speed up work, pay utility bills and the labor of the company's employees.
As for the social component of the enterprise, the team of the cafe always emphasizes that by renting premises from them, simply eating there or celebrating something, people can help those in need. "You know, no one has yet said that this is not true. Some say that they did not know about our social mission before, while others are very happy that there is such a cafe in our city. Additionally, after renting our premises for the holiday, most people ask to distribute the remaining food among representatives of vulnerable population groups" – says the administrator of the cafe.
"Of course, there are also cases when a person sees that we are a social cafe. Then, they come and begin to complain that the prices are very high, and are even surprised that they need to pay for food. We try to explain our social mission to everyone, but all cases are really different although it doesn't happen often. We do not take such cases to heart. After all, we know that we are doing our job well. This is the most important thing for us," says Liuba.
Social cafe "Vytaniya" is a good example of humanity and empathy. We are glad that the support from USVF helped improve the work of the cafe and increase its social impact. We are sure that in the future there will be more and more similar institutions in Ukraine. Support is provided under the “Collaborate for Impact” project, which is implemented in partnership with EVPA and with the support of DG NEAR EU Programme. The project aims to support and develop social entrepreneurship ecosystems in the Eastern Partnership countries. The main project partners in Ukraine are SILab Ukraine and the Ukrainian Social Venture Fund.