Firstly thank you so much for giving to the I Am Project. What started off as a bid to get 50 children identity papers was rather highjacked by the Ukrainian war and the situation changing quite radically on the ground. In the first instance we have been able to get around 30 children identity papers so far. This is because we have now had to refocus our efforts into getting identity papers for entire families not just the children. Here is an excerpt from an e-mail recently sent to us from Max who is our project manager in Odesa, Ukraine and who is overseeing the I AM Project (he is in the photo with some of the children)
“Issues with birth certificates and passports are going very well. Every week we apply two or three people for a passport or birth certificate. This is a stream. Because there are many people from Nikolaev, many people from other occupied regions. They come to Odessa and here we help them. There are many difficulties, for example, when part of the family who had documents left, and those who did not have remained. And in order to do that, those who remained need those relatives who would confirm this identity, but they left. There are such difficult cases, but we are also trying to take them and do them. And it is a great blessing that you have provided funds for the implementation of this project. We have used money for everything, money to pay government fees, money for transportation to get around, and money for photography when needed. The only thing that is holding us back now is long queues at public services, because the flow of refugees is very large.
We recently submitted two people’s documents for the restoration of documents. This is a family from Nikolaev whose house was hit by a rocket and all property, all money, documents burned down. Their children had photocopies of their passports. They came from Nikolaev, and we submitted them to the passport office, and they will receive their passports in a month. They were quite rich people before the war. He is a former military man, fought for Ukraine since 2014, has a military pension, but cannot receive it because he does not have a passport. But everything was done and this family will be able to have documents and be able to issue bank cards and receive a pension.
So as you can see the funds given to the I AM Project are now not just benefitting children but also people trying to escape the war. Thank you for giving and we will update you as the work continues.