Strilky Territorial Community
General Statistical Information about the Community
The Strilky community is located in Sambir district, Lviv region and borders Poland in the west.
The total area of the territory: 320.4 km2.
Population: 13,994 people
People of retirement age: 3,321
Internally displaced persons: 250
The community includes 21 villages with the administrative center in the village of Strilky.
It is difficult to say when the first settlements were founded on the territory of the community, but it is known for certain about the existence of a Rus settlement on Mount Mahura as early as the 11th-13th centuries and other castles on mountain tops since the time of princely Rus.
There was never villein socage in the villages here, which greatly affected the character of local residents. Villages had the “Valosky right”: the peasants freely used the soil and pastures under the authority of public elders and, what is very important, had their own court. The community court system is important to understanding the local mentality and the community’s ability to solve cases. Court cases very rarely reached the higher courts.
Major fundamental changes related to life and the way of making money took place at the end of the 19th century. Around 1900, mass labor emigration to the USA, Canada, and then France began. The large two-way movement of people, especially young people, continued until 1939.
Thanks to Father Mykhailo Zubrytskyi, the first scientist who chose the daily life of villagers as the subject of scientific research, a lot of unique information (and artifacts) about the history of these villages has been preserved, and Mshanets (a small border village today) has become the most researched village in Central-Eastern Europe.
In 1951, in connection with the exchange of territory between the Soviet Union and Poland, the villages of the Strilky community (Mshanets, Halivka, Vytsiv, and Hroziova) became border villages and found themselves at a dead end in the extremely militarized border strip.
Residents of the villages near the newly created border were forcibly deported to Odessa and Mykolaiv regions (former German colonies). The strengthening of the Soviet regime in the villages took place thanks to brutal repression against civilians and rebels.
In the 1960s and 1980s, the situation improved somewhat, but neither the population nor welfare reached pre-war levels. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, the communist system collapsed very quickly in both the administrative and economic spheres, but its long-term consequences are still felt.
The community in its current form was created in 2020 as a result of the decentralization reform.
Economy and Welfare
The tourism industry has the greatest potential for development in Strilky community due to clean ecology, picturesque landscapes, significant reserves of mineral waters, thousand-year history, preserved Boykos culture, etc.
More than 250 entrepreneurs (postal services, retail trade, IT, construction, forestry) and more than 50 legal entities (budgetary institutions, wholesale trade, forestry, tailoring) operate in the community.
Also, there are several tourist complexes, the Royal Beskids National Nature Park and the Upper Dniester Beskids Regional Landscape Park on the territory of the community.
FrankoMandry+, a branch of the network of historical and cultural tourist routes runs through the villages of the Strilky community.
For two years in a row, an educational festival of a new format – Health FEST – has been implemented in the community. The idea was developed by the team of the One Health consulting agency together with partners.
Community and War
In connection with the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022, 4,975 internally displaced persons arrived in the community as one of the safest areas in Ukraine (located next to Poland in a mountainous area) (as of July 2023, 250 persons remained).
A coordination headquarters for the reception and settlement of displaced persons was urgently created. The largest volunteer centers were organized by women from the villages of Mshanets, Ploske, and Lopushanka-Khomyna, who gathered fellow villagers and repaired empty houses to provide free temporary accommodation.
Also, a point for issuing humanitarian aid was organized at the village council’s office. Substantial help was sent by the Polish commune of Dobżen Wielki and many foreign partners, volunteers, charitable organizations, etc.
During the year, community forces raised funds for the purchase of 8 thermal imagers, a rangefinder, ammunition for the Armed Forces of Ukraine, a military vehicle, and a generator. At the beginning of the great war, the community sent 2 school buses and materials worth almost UAH 100,000 for the Sambir Territorial Defense.
Thanks to the help of the Ukrainian Catholic University and foreign benefactors, 2 houses were purchased in one of the villages of the community for two large families from Hostomel and Sumy.
Repairs were made in the premises of the former school in the village of Holovetsko for the long-term residence of the family of a soldier from Donetsk region.
On the territory of Mshanetski Kolyby, a social enterprise rehabilitation camps with psychological support for children and teenagers affected by the war and a rehabilitation camp for military personnel with their families were held in the village of Mshanets in 2022 and 2023. Rehabilitation weekends for war victims will be organized in the near future.
People of the Community
Drozd Mykola is the head of the Strilky Territorial Community.
Under his leadership, partnership relations were established between the Strilky community and the Polish communes of Czarna and Dobrzeń Wielki. In the spring of 2023, they organized a meeting between the heads of border Ukrainian and Polish communities to develop joint projects within the framework of cross-border cooperation.
The creation of all administrative structures to ensure the livelihood and development of the community can be attributed to the most important implemented projects and initiatives.
The pilot project Forestry Management Procedure was launched, which provides for the mandatory holding of public hearings before felling, as well as the obligation to leave the area clean and tidy, plant new plantations and repair the road.
A modern Center for the Provision of Primary Medical and Sanitary Care was created, renovation and major repairs were made to school premises, and a pilot model of school meals was launched for pupils of schools in remote mountain villages thanks to catering and outsourcing on the basis of one school.
The pilot Ukrainian-Swiss project Acting for Health was implemented in the community
Historical and tourist routes FrankoMandry and BoykoMandry were laid in the community with the support of the Ukrainian Cultural Foundation.
Also a large number of social and rehabilitation projects for children affected by the war and military personnel with their families were implemented.
The community cooperates with other organizations: British Council, USAID, Hungarian Ecumenical Aid Service (HIA), International Organization for Migration, Caritas Ukraine CF, Ukrainian Educational Platform, UCU, UNICEF, UN Women, U-LEAD with Europe, House of Europe and many Ukrainian charitable and public organizations.
The community has approved the Development Strategy of the Strilky community for 2021-2027. Much attention is devoted to the development of entrepreneurship and tourism, in particular.
This year, a network of three historical and touristic BoykoMandry routes will be laid with the support of the Ukrainian Cultural Foundation. They will cover most of the villages of the community.
The educational, cultural and artistic festival Visiting the Boykos and Fr. Mykhailo Zubrytskyi is held in the community, which is designed to gather in one place the best examples from various fields of traditional and modern Boyko culture and become a kind of “Boykos’ network” for the formation of partnerships between representatives of creative industries, local residents, authorities, entrepreneurs, and activists.
After Ukraine’s victory in the war, the festival will be held annually. Currently it is held in the format of a scientific conference.
Also this year, a School of Miracle Workers is being established in the community on the basis of the Youth Center – informal project management training for young people with the opportunity to win funding for their own social or community-important projects.