Sasha. ‘Degree of help may be different’
Sasha is one of those volunteers, who were the first to provide assistance to the displaced persons from Crimea and eastern Ukraine. The girl has no diploma, which would give her a “permission” to help people. But do we need a “diploma” to be of service to our neighbor?
We continue publishing the stories of people, who have lost their homes as a result of the conflict in eastern Ukraine and Crimea, as well as of those, who have lent a helping hand in difficult times.
I always feel very uncomfortable, I have a sort of feeling of “an imposter” because I have no diploma saying I can deal with the IDPs. I’m always surprised that anyone does not need it. This is very cool because for me #it is always about the honesty towards those whom I ask to help.
The resource center is the network of different organizations and initiatives, which at the time of its establishment – the autumn of last year – were engaged in providing assistance to those, who have come and continue coming from eastern Ukraine or Crimea. #It was the response to the forced situation, when people walked in circles to ask “Do you have any pants?” in one place and “Can I find a job?” in another place.
I do not remember who cries “Chief, all is lost!” in some film. It’s a certain inner side, it is seen by those who work with me. It is not visible for the people who offer their help or ask for help. There is rather common feeling that we have no place to settle people or that we have much more people, but some options are found later. I think that we look like “Chip and Dale rescuers” to onlookers but #fortunately for ourselves, we may not wear a crown reading “Rescuer” round the clock. There is a kind of dichotomy – a calm exterior image and frequent sense of wonder – all the initiatives still cope somehow.
#Much time has passed since the internally displaced persons were forced to become such, but the system of assistance has not been properly built so that they can come and feel they are in safe environment and do receive support. Recently, we have tried to find our very first texts what needs to be done to help the displaced persons not only on our part, but also on part of the state and public bodies. We wrote them in March 2014, most of them have not been carried till now, and it took over six months to implement another part of requirements.
These people are just like me. They have different reaction to the fact that they have to leave, #someone cannot sleep without pills, someone looks very cheerful on the surface, someone’s child has problems at school, someone does not have children, someone wants to find a job and is looking for it, someone is freaked out and tries to sit it out for almost a year already. It’s very important to realize that all people are different, I always recall it when I start to talk to them.
We do not conceal that the resource center employs people from different regions and countries. It is important for me, including symbolically. The degree of shifting responsibility from the deemed Russian government, military, oligarchs to Russia, which is home to the huge number of people, becomes very high. Whatever the end of the war in eastern Ukraine will be, it is clear that the xenophobic attitude in Russia to the deemed Ukraine and in Ukraine to the deemed Russia will be maintained for a long period of time. The people working with us have the #desire to support other people, their feelings, skills, knowledge – things that do not depend on the nationality, but depend on some very different factors.
Different people from different cities and different countries help us. We do not always know who they are, and far more rarely know why they want to help or how they do it. But it is always unexpected to find out some personal stories. It makes the process very humane. Help can be very different, the degree of help can be very different. If you have the desire to support some family constantly, it does not mean that this family will live in your apartment, eat your food and you will not be able to get rid of them. They may be older people who cannot pay three hundred hryvnias for drugs each month. It is very important to be willing to assume responsibility for a local piece of the world: I am ready to do this as long as I can. And #there is no rules how to help correctly. It is good to help. Help, not hurt.
The story of Sasha is presented within the framework of the exhibition “My Place”, organized by the Educational Centre “Space of Tolerance” and the Congress of National Communities, supported by the Royal Netherlands Embassy. The authors of the texts are Kyra Kreyderman and Uljana Ustinova. The photos were taken from the family archive.