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Summer Outreach Programme on gathering life stories
Summer 2010

Summer Outreach Programme on gathering life stories 2010

~ From burdens to freedom ~ 

Who is a "hero", and who is an "oppressor" in Ukraine? Who did defend our country, and who betrayed it? Why should we carry on the ideology that was passed on to us without our consent? These were some of the questions to which we were looking for throughout the journey of our pilot project "Ukrainian Action-2010: Healing the Past".

The program took place for the first time from 4 June to 16 July 2010, with long-term follow up activities.

Aim of the Program

To bring freedom from past burdens in Ukraine, serving as personal examples and catalysts of positive change.

Idea

15 participants from Ukrainian communities with different histories, various regional, religious, language and political backgrounds, with the common aim to heal the wounds of the past in Ukraine, took part in the intensive 6 week program, which consisted of:

  • living and travelling together, sharing personal life stories;
  • listening to the past experience and initiatives for healing and reconciliation;
  • receiving diverse training on conflict resolution, healing, accepting others;
  • reflecting on Ukrainian and personal past, present and future;
  • taking part in dialogues;
  • working with archives;
  • team-work presentations of personal change and experience;
  • filming a documentary on the course of the program;
  • giving interviews to media;
  • presenting personal experience and stories of change at the conferences in the Caux Conference Centre, Switzerland.

The project is expected to start a series of programs under the common title “Ukrainian Action”. The majority of our expenses were covered thanks to the generous hospitality of local hosts , volunteers putting time and energy into the work, as well as grants from Frits Philips Fund (UK), Irene Prestwich Trust (UK), InSats Group (Initiatives of Change – Sweden), and the Norwegian Embassy in Ukraine.

We are very grateful to everyone for their part in the project!

 

Speech of Olka Hudz about the origins of the project "Ukrainian Action: Healing the Past" on the 3rd annual CAUX FORUM FOR HUMAN SECURITY in July 2010, at the Initiatives of Change International Conference Centre, Switzerland.

Feedbacks of Participants

"During the project I have discovered that when people share stories of their lives it heals not only them, but me too. I see the threads stretching out and uniting people who have already heard and will hear these stories, people who will become a part of the history of the country. I feel a great lack of information – we didn’t have this knowledge yet, these new realizations and facts that we can get just from confessions of different people. It is so important to fill this gap, to preserve the stories, to publish the materials, to go on and on with these investigations. I am Russian and after the project I went to my historical homeland – the Carpathians – and began writing down absolutely unbelievable stories of the Carpatho-Rusyny ethnic group. I am planning to go to my father’s home places soon – to Vologda in Russia".

Natalia Nelidova, psychologist of the project, Moscow, Russia

"I had never imagined individual initiative to reconciliation as a victory. And for the first time in my life I have seen examples of people who made a first step themselves after a deep offence and apologized for their own rancor. Another important realization after the project for me was the search of a deep root of a conflict and taking steps of dealing with it. Owing to this understanding, I began to solve an old conflict with my sister. In my opinion it is worth working hard for a couple of months to never go back to where we were."

Vasylysa Sheinina, participant of the project, public figure

"Only people with a peaceful heart can be effective in country change-making. For years I was collecting the facts on the loss inflicted on Ukraine through Russian policies and I was taking an active part in different movements for the best of Ukraine. But at the same time I ended up collecting in my heart lots of pain and bitterness towards the so-called “aggressor”. The simple act of apology and forgiveness between me and my Russian friend helped me to clear out the space in my heart for the constructive energy of peaceful efforts, faith in the future, and joy".

Olha Hudz, the coordinator of the project, Lviv-Kyiv, Ukraine

 

The participants made their personal presentations of their experience at their work places and universities, as well as in family circles. On the 25th of September the Première of a documentary about the materials gathered within the project by young Kharkiv film director Mykhailo Kliuev took place. With the assistance of the Norwegian Embassy in Ukraine, we are planning to publish a people’s stories book of prisoners of the concentration camps, deported Crimean Tartars, Afghan war veterans, representatives of Greek and Caraim communities, veterans of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists – Ukrainian Rebel Army, workers of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, initiators of rehabilitation movement, participants of the theatre for children with special needs, and many others whom we consider change-makers in their own way and who’s stories were written down during the project. The interesting fact is that for most of such people the common point is not disappointment and hatred but a proactive attitude to their role in society, as well as passion and faith in our nation.

Contacts

Olka Hudz, Project Co-ordinator
ukrainian.action at gmail.com
www.iofc.org/uk/ua

UA2010 Project

Please, note, people of different cultures, nationalities, religions and faiths take active part in the life of the Initiatives of Change community. The life stories of persons who were interviewed within the project "Ukraine in Action-2010: Healing the Past reflects the point of view of the interviewees and not obligatory match the point of view of the IofC.

Author of the project logo: Olha Volkohon, Lviv