Hostomel, a small city located just northwest of Kyiv near a lush forest, is a beautiful place for thousands of Ukrainians to call home. But five months ago, on February 24, when Russia invaded Ukraine and occupied Hostomel, life was violently transformed by bullets and shelling, destruction, and atrocities. The occupation of Hostomel has since ended, but the war continues and so does its impact on Hostomel and its citizens. Families have begun to return home to piece together fragments of their lives, and as they return, both hope and community persist. Recently a group of neighbors whose apartments were looted and almost completely destroyed by missiles and gunfire decided not to wait for the government to fix their homes, and instead created their own local fund where they could donate to rebuild their apartments and their community together.

Since the war in Ukraine began, there has been devastating violence against civilians; heartbreaking loss of life; and remarkable bravery, sacrifice, and resilience from Ukrainians both in and out of uniform.

There have also been, as there often are during moments of crisis across the globe, inspiring acts of solidarity and generosity. Neighbors are taking care of each other and protecting homes others have been forced to leave behind, business owners and staff are using their facilities and equipment to respond to community needs outside of their normal operations, and local non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are continuing to provide the most vulnerable communities services while taking on new responsibilities of support and aid. Ukrainians are fighting a war for their freedom, and keeping hope alive that they will win. They also still have their jobs and daily responsibilities, they’re raising children and trying to shield them from trauma, they’re volunteering and responding to the needs of their neighbors, they’re uplifting social causes that can be forgotten in the fog of war but are nonetheless critical, and much more.

Read the full article about Ukrainian civil society by Eugenia Mazurenko and Asha Curran at Stanford Social Innovation Review.