Children's stories from Ukraine   Syria   Iraq   Iran

…»Where do you come from?«
»From the wide world.«
»Where do you want to go?«
»Where is your home?«
»Where is my home? I do not know.«…

— Janusz Korczak: Little King Matty and the Desert Island


Since spring 2014, there is a war in Eastern Ukraine and at the same time Russia has annexed the Crimea.
Nearly 8000 people have been killed in this war so far and more than 2 million people have fled the war zone – about one half of these people went to Russia and the other half to Western and Central Ukraine and also into the neighbouring countries e.g. Poland, Belarus.
In this war, there is, on the one side, the army of the pro Western Ukrainian government and more than 30 voluntary Ukrainian battalions, among them there are also ultra national battalions (e.g. Battalion Asow); on the other side there are pro Russian militia, which are supported by the Russian Army and also by ultra national voluntary Russian battalions (e.g. Russian National Unity).
Right from the start massive media propaganda was part of the war: While the pro Russian militia are simply ›terrorists‹ for the Ukranian government, the pro Russian militia describes the members of the Ukranian government as ›fascists‹ and ›national traitors‹.
The war in Ukraine has already expanded into a new East-West conflict. But so far one can not see an end to the war/conflict, neither on the national nor on the international level although there is a ceasefire in Eastern Ukraine right now.
In August 2015 I spoke to Ukrainian children in Kyiv, who had fled the war zone, and photographed them.
My thanks go to Hanna Karpenko and Vostok-SOS for their support of this project.

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Even three years after the outbreak of the war in the Eastern Ukraine and Russia's annexation of the Crimea,
there is no solution of this conflict.
Neither the Russian-backed pro Russian militia nor the Ukrainian army have adhered to the armistice agreements, according to the OSCE.
At the same time, this war plays only a subordinate role in international media.
In August 2017, I spoke to children and adults in the Eastern Ukraine and photographed them.
My thanks go to Hanna Karpenko, Helena Rozvadovska and Yulia Kishenko (Vostok-SOS), Darya Kasyanova (SOS Children's Village) and everyone who supported my work in the Ukraine.
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Even after four and a half years of war there is still no peace in Eastern Ukraine.
Each day the ceasefire agreement is violated along the front-line. All these incidents are documented and published by the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM).
In October 2018, I photographed the Principal Deputy Chief Monitor of the Special Monitoring Mission, Mr. Alexander Hug, and talked to him about the situation in the Ukraine. And I also talked to adults and children from Eastern Ukraine and took their photographs.
My thanks go to Hanna Karpenko, Helena Rozvadovska and everyone who supported this work.
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For more than five years now, the war in Eastern Ukraine between the Ukrainian army and Russian-backed militias in the occupied territory has continued.
In contrast to other wars and conflicts, the frontline in Eastern Ukraine is not an insurmountable frontier, but at six checkpoints up to 40,000 people from the border regions change sides every day.
Since this war has also been a media war since its beginning massively using propaganda and allegations, the communication and respective reporting of both sides warrants special attention in this war.
However, the handling of media hardly plays a role in the current Ukrainian school system. This is exactly the issue, where the organization Yellow Bus from Kyiv comes in, as they provide children and young people with professional access to film and journalism (please read also here).
In October 2019, I spoke with ten children in Eastern Ukraine who attended workshops or summer camps organized by Yellow Bus.
My thanks go to Zhenya Venidyktova, the Yellow Bus team and all the people in Ukraine who supported this work.
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