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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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Ukraine Today

For a Good Cause

Were all for getting behind a good cause and one of the lots up for auction at Burns Night back in February was an interview and cover for Whats On. Snapped up by Velvet Hearts, we speak to young representatives of the charity, Iryna Serdyuk, Anna Kuznetsova, Oleksandra Balyasna and Alena Titilkina about the work they do for others, especially topical on the eve of their upcoming event Dobriy Den (Good Day) scheduled for 8 September.

Founded in 2010, Velvet Hearts four core members say the organisation has grown enough to carry out serious projects, such as helping kids who need medical treatment, working with orphanages and teaching others to work with orphans as well as simply popularising charity in Ukraine, a country that firmly adheres to the adage charity begins at home at the expense of helping out others.

To The Point
To find out more about what the girls behind the charity hope to achieve, I ask them about the idea behind this weeks Dobriy Den project. Anna Kuznetsova chips in first: Basically this will be a day of master classes on handmade crafts, floristry and even chess conducted by a European champion as well as lots of entertainment for kids and their parents. In the course of the event we will hold a lottery to gather funds for 9 -year- old Vladik Novoselov who had invasive surgery a couple of years ago to remove a tumour. After surgery the boy was in a coma and is now disabled. His parents found a rehab centre in Germany that costs 24,000 Euros for just one course of treatment. Volunteers have already managed to raise about 13,000 Euros and we will try to fund the balance, realistically we want to raise as much as possible.

Something To Be Proud Of
The ladies approach this project with some confidence as they have already successfully undertaken similar projects before. The road to becoming do-gooders was not a straight one and the four struggle to pinpoint exactly when they decided to take it. For Oleksandra Balyasna, however, one moment in particular stands out and served to galvanise their efforts as a team and charitable organisation. We had one big project raising funds for Nastya Kozulina who needed a new kidney. We managed to get enough and this united us even more. Nastya is a talented little artist and that helped us a lot as the works she drew were perfect lots for auction. Iryna Serdyuk cuts in: Despite her tough life Nastya draws very colourful pictures and a lot of people now have her works hanging in their offices.
Kuznetsova says despite being new players on the charity scene and being inexperienced, there were always others on hand to offer guidance throughout the project. Kyiv Lions Club and auction house owner Oleksandr Krylov were really helpful, providing lots for a fundraising auction and sharing their experiences. We learned a lot from that project and were now ready to do everything again for Vladik Novoselov.

Changing Mentality
Its no secret Ukrainians are not used to the concept of charity. Alena Titilkina believes its a mindset forged by the Soviets of people being a collective and slowly, but surely, they hope to chip away at that belief system. The culture of charity is not developed yet, and thats why theres a level of mistrust. We hope to compel people to think about what charity is and how they can help as there are so many people here who think they need millions before they can contribute in any meaningful way. Balyasna agrees: This so wrong! Anyone can take their old clothes, or even post an ad in the lift asking others to bring some old, unwanted stuff, and then take to the orphanage for example. Its not rocket science after all.
Kuznetsova says the rewards are worth it. When you see the happy face of a child as they open a box and find a toy that spent the last ten years in your closet you understand this doesnt require any specific skills. However, the feeling of having done some good lingers.
One thing the girls dream of is to develop their charitable efforts to a full-time operation. They all agree the karma effect and the feedback makes it all worthwhile.

Dobriy Den Charity Event
by Velvet Hearts
Mariinskiy Park (near Rakushka stage)
8 September at 11.00 16.00
Admission: 50hrv
097-591-3444

by Vadym Mishkoriz

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Read also:
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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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