In Ukraine, many citizens work abroad, both legally and illegally, to help their families survive financially. While remittances from abroad help families, there are many Ukrainian children who haven’t seen their mothers for a long time. Bibliomist, a country-wide program that is helping Ukrainian libraries to better serve their communities, has set up a system of public internet access and launched the Communication without Barriers project that uses computer technology & internet to reunite local families whose members are employed abroad.
Take Stryi, an average town with 60.000 dwellers in the Lviv region. In Stryi, every fourth dweller is currently out of Ukraine. Parents, children and spouses are at home.
Currently, the library is the most easily accessible institution for all Stryi residents. At Stryi's Branch Library for Children the Communication without Barriers project was introduced:
“Hearing her voice is heart-warming and comforting” says Rostyk (see video underneath), a teenager who got the opportunity to communicate with his mother using Skype at the public library.
It wasn't easy though to organize the program. First, librarians had to learn the new technologies. Then an advertising campaign has been launched to create awareness for the program.
Apart from the technology program & thanks to a partnership with a local NGO, the library also provides its patrons with legal and psychological counselling services, which are often of crucial importance for labour migrants & their relatives.
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