We build bridges between Italy and Ukraine through education and artistic-cultural activities
Voluntary Organization “IRIS” was formed in response to the Ukrainian refugee crisis, with the specific aim of integrating refugees into Tuscan society.
Since the beginning of the war in Ukraine, the founders of “IRIS” have been personally involved with refugees seeking shelter, safe transport and, consequently, also language training and job placement.
Through our constant interaction with them we have learned how important work, education and cultural activities are to them – by having the opportunity to earn money they regain a semblance of control over their fates.
With education and cultural activities they learn new skills and begin to overcome trauma.
Many of these refugees will not be able to return to their homes because there is nothing left of them, so education and job integration are key. Our constant dialogue with them has become the driving force of “IRIS”.
ODV "IRIS" works closely with the City of Florence and centers such as Caritas, Red Cross, and Manifattura Tabacchi to coordinate our activities.
In addition, we work with not-for-profit "Artists at Risk" to support Ukrainian artists - to shelter them in Tuscany and provide a possibility to carry on with their artistic careers.
We are currently focusing on 4 projects:
During our first two months of activities we have:
- Provided English & Italian lessons for 60 adults and children combined, total of 42 hours per week.
- Organised education excursions to museums, coupled with a creative drawing workshop in the city of Florence for approximately 60 adults and children combined.
- Launched an intensive two weeks long professional language course for waitressing
for 20 Ukrainian young adults.
- Provided continuous support for Ukrainian artists who arrived to us through Artists at Risk non – profit, including art supplies purchases and facilitating professional connections to support their practices and to gain commissions.
- Launched embroidery project which aims to train and find continuous work placement for approximately 20 Ukrainian women, with a waitlist of another 40 women.
Donate to support IRIS, every donation can help change someones life