Project Name: A Million Voices
Dates: 7-15 September 2018
Partner Countries: Lithuania, Poland, Italy, Czech Republic, Ukraine and Turkey
We’ve visited a war zone
Just a few days ago a group of European Youth have witnessed the true effects of the ongoing war in eastern Ukraine.
They have been there on a mission to meet local organisations & youngsters, restore children playgrounds and teach English. As well as to promote EU’s cultural programme Erasmus+.
According to the representative of the group Gediminas Kondrackis, many people believe that the war there is over. It’s not. “Everyday you can hear shootings in places like Avdiivka (a town next to Donetsk we’ve visited). Everyday people die there.”
Yet, the hardest thing for the Europeans was to see how life is, when there are shootings and shelling nearby. “We were watching kids play in the park, when just a few kilometres away you could hear artillery shots. Imagine how psychologically damaged the kids can get” – Gediminas stated.
To understand everything better, here is a story of Alehin Nikita, an 18-year-old, whom the group had a chance to meet in Kramatorsk (which is now the capital of Donetsk region, 60 kilometres away from Avdiivka):
“When I was 14 my father told me not to be afraid of bombings – if you die this way, at least it will not hurt… Almost every day at school we had to hide in basement when the bombings started. Yet, believing in my father, usually I didn’t hide. I would go home to simply play computer games, because it was so common for us. Shootings on the other side of the window of my home was also common. Seeing this much violence, I decided to become a photographer. One of the first photos I took was a helicopter being blown away in front of my eyes. At that time, I didn’t understand much, and it didn’t hurt. Now it does.”
Gediminas & others invite everyone to look closer to cases of war and act to help. One of the ways to do so is through Erasmus+ (youth exchanges, training courses and the like).
For example, in the east of Ukraine not many youngsters know about the programme. Thus, when the group hosted Erasmus+ promotion event in Kramatorsk, local students were surprised by the opportunities on offer.
G. Kondrackis said: “It’s safe to say we’ve got them interested. Lots of youngsters came to meet us. They’ve been extremely curious. Not just about Erasmus+, but also about foreigners in their town. It’s a rare sight.”
- Shootings reports in East Ukraine: liveuamap.com