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On the cover
7 (2014)
Tunnelling Towards Hope


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28 February - 6 March 2014

Ukraine History

A Stronghold of Rulers and Rebels

With the recent death toll jumping to nearly 100 and 1,000 injured, Hrushevskoho Street, one of the strongholds of EuroMaidans three-month-long protests, made headlines around the globe. It was here, on 19 January the countrys stand against government corruption, abuse of power, and the violation of human rights turned from peaceful protest to all-out revolution. Having witnessed much over the years, Hrushevskoho is a street with a history, and not only care of recent days.

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Ukraine Today
Acelebrity using their status and intelligence to influence public views and opinion is rarely seen in modern society, even less so in Ukraine. Here, the majority of celebs use their time, effort, and money to enhance or further their career rather than put their name to something that can do good for others. However, as EuroMaidan intensifies, some are making themselves heard and they fall either side of the EuroMaidan divide.
It used to be that when rebellion and revolution occurred, the intellectual, creative, and spiritual elite would be front and centre.

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Ukrainian Culture

When Walls Can Talk

People have been writing on walls since the dawn of civilisation, we call it graffiti, and ranges from simple written words to elaborate wall paintings. Sometimes it is merely the creator wanting to leave his or her mark; sometimes there is an underlying social or political reason. And it is due to the latter that graffiti has exploded across Kyiv in recent months. Anti dictator messages aside, we peel back a few layers of paint to look at graffiti in the city in general.

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Ukrainian Culture

Taking Care of a New Generation

Twenty years ago, the Children of Chornobyl Canadian Fund started a non-profit charity project Help Us Help The Children (HUHTC) the initiatives mission was to improve the quality of life of children living in orphanages in Ukraine. Whats On meets with Yulia Vokalyuk, an orphan herself, who today heads the next step in the charitys evolution the New Generation International Fund, which operates in Ukraine to implement the charitable programmes of the Canadian fund.

The New Generation International Fund started working from 2006, aiming to help directly those Ukrainian children who have been left without parents care and end up living in orphanages. Yulia Vokalyuk says the biggest advantage of the fund is it works directly with the children it targets. If you look at the social-network pages of the fund, youll discover we communicate not only with teachers and managers of the orphanages, but with orphans themselves, so we know about their needs and problems directly from them. The range of activity the fund organises for orphans all over Ukraine varies from buying special medical equipment or wheelchairs for disabled children to holding English language lessons or lectures on human trafficking, from gathering books to repairing glasses for a boy living in an orphanage in a village where glasses cant be bought at all.

The Next Generation
Helping the orphans in the late 90s would mean bringing clothes, food, stationary, Vokalyuk says, but needs have changed. Today, children require more help in terms of education, self-realisation, and social skills in the modern world. With this in mind, Help Us Help the Children Fund organises annual camps gathering children from across Ukraine for an intensive cultural-educational programme.
The first summer camp was held in 1996 and Vokalyuk says some children who, back then, took part as orphans, now help her in providing educational and leisure activities for the next generation of orphans. The name of the fund reflects our main goal to take care of the next generation, and these annual camps let us implement that: teenagers who last year were at the camp as children, return the next year as volunteers, Vokalyuk says. Another important thing about the camps is an opportunity for us to track the progress of children year-on-year: children from the east and Crimea would come not able to speak Ukrainian, they didnt even know Ukrainian pop-singers, and after two weeks they speak and sing in Ukrainian.

Pride Of The Nation
Possibly most important is the social factor children meet friends, make contacts, share their interests, and get inspired by their friends achievements. Help Us Help the Children summer camps take place in Western Ukraine, in the picturesque Vorokhta village. During the two weeks of the camp children take part in sport, cultural and creative activities daily everything from sport competitions to master-classes provided by artists and other creative types who come to work as volunteers. Apart from the psychological and emotional effect these creative studies have, its a chance for a child to discover which talents they have and decide which profession they would like to pursue in the future, Vokalyuk says. We also try to introduce authentic Ukrainian folk heritage, we invite Hopak masters to teach children the basis of the defensive martial art and so on. Through games, competitions and fun we hope to encourage them to love and be proud of their own culture, history, and language.

A Milestone
This year is a special one, as HUHTC is celebrating its 20th anniversary and the summer camp will be hosting more than 360 children at a time. Vokalyuk says so many of the grown up orphans have already confirmed their presence at the camp to share their own experiences and successes in life. Vokalyuk herself experienced the difficulties of being an orphan in Ukraine and it was Help Us Help the Children that assisted her. She became involved as a way of giving back, and since 1999, Vokalyuk has worked in HUHTC projects based on its educational programme. Later, she started visiting summer camps as a supervisors assistant, than as a supervisor. Today Vokalyuk says her time is the only barrier to her work at the fund. I wish there were more than 24 hours in a day as there are so many children who need our help.
Pointing out that many people in Ukraine dont fully trust charity organisations, Vokalyuks response is more optimistic. When I hear things like that I tell them come to the summer camp and youll witness it yourself! After all, charity is not only about money, it involves volunteer labour if you cant donate money, donate your time. If you know English well come to us and teach the orphans some English, if you have books you dont need give them to orphanages. These little things are all a great help.

To find out more, go to www.chornobyl.ca and click on Help Us Help the Children

by Kateryna Kyselyova

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  • When Walls Can Talk
  • Rights We Didnt Know We Had
  • The Path to Europe Begins Here...
  • Documenting Life
  • Head into 2014 Healthy

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    Ukraine Truth
    Rights We Didnt Know We Had

    Throughout EuroMaidan much has been made of Ukrainians making a stand for their rights. What exactly those rights are were never clearly defined. Ukraine ratified the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1952. The first article of the Declaration states all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights, they are endowed with reason and conscience, and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood. The ousted and overthrown Ukrainian government showed to the world they dont understand the meaning of these words.


    Kyiv Culture

    Pulling Strings
    Located on Hrushevskoho Street the epicentre of EuroMaidan violence, home to battles, blazes and barricades childrens favourite the Academic Puppet Theatre had to shut down in February. Nevertheless, it is getting ready to reopen this March with a renewed repertoire to bring some laughter back to a scene of tragedy. Operating (not manipulating) puppets is a subtle art that can make kids laugh and adults cry. Whats On meets Mykola Petrenko, art director of the Theatre, to learn more about those who pull the strings behind the show.

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