We can be a part of solution

Author: Tanya Grishkovskaya



This history is based not simply on real events, it is the real truth. Many people think that the antithesis of love is hate. I think in another way.... I consider that it is indifference! This is ignoring a need which knocks on your door and looks in your window. You can change something in this world not only when you have a lot of money, a significant position in society, extensive work experience. You can change something when you really are not indifferent to people, you understand what compassion means. When you begin with something small, then your friends join you, then whole crowd starts to follow you, and together this is already a big force, which can make a difference! Yes, we are not the sun giving warmth to the whole of humanity. But we can at least do something to become initiators of changes in our society. Nothing will prove it better, than our own example and I will share it to confirm my words. I do not like loud empty slogans …


So, in the summer of 2008, an amazing part of my country, the Western Ukraine - has endured awful tragedy and become a place of pain, grief and destruction. Owing to strong rainstorms rivers have overflowed their banks and have flooded 523 villages, almost one thousand bridges, 700 km of highways and 33 thousand hectares of farmlands. Water has destroyed more than 40 thousand houses and has left 25 thousand inhabitants without a roof over their heads … 26 people died, among them were children.

TV almost ignored it, and I have thought that I must do my small part to rescue these people. I cannot just sit and only listen, saying "I am so sorry, poor people, how lucky am I that I am not in their place now!” I have thought "What if this had occurred to my family, my sweet home?" As soon as in the disaster zone the level of water descended, I thought that the time has come to act. Literally in one day, I gathered all the people I know, and some hundreds people collected a large quantity of products, water, household accessories and clothes. Also I invited 8 friends, we took everything that it was possible to collect and went to the Ivano-Frankovsk area where we visited the villages of Prutivka and Oleshkiv, which suffered from flooding most of all. We went from home to home, got acquainted with entire families, communicated, supplied them with everything they needed. Each house is a separate real story. People shared with us their grief, their pain became our pain. People said that every night in nightmares they see water which rises to their houses. Someone has lost their house and now lives on a shed roof, someone stood among pools where until recently there was a kitchen garden, someone tried to wash the dirt from newly bought furniture which now looked like rubbish, but the most terrible was to hear about the deaths of children and to understand the reality that it happened here and now!!!


Having returned from this first trip we brought a lot of photos and video material. We wanted to help people, we tried to show the videos of this tragedy to everyone. From the large quantity of the suffering families I have chosen 5-6, which were in a special situation – there were single mothers, invalids, and a lot of children... And I had a huge desire to build up these houses anew, to repair them so that people could live normally, smile about the future … By October it was possible to raise the finance (more than 15 thousand USD) we could buy the necessary building materials. I have collected a team for help in the repair work. The team has spent unforgettable weeks, helping people, but the most important thing - we have shown love and compassion, sharing with them hope in the best future. For example,

The family of Elya Blasetskaya, who live in the village of Hlibuchun … the fine wife and mother of a ten-month old girl, who has gone through many heartrending experiences in her life (the death of her mother, her father in prison, the death of a close friend, the flood), and also her husband who met us with fear on the first day… But when during the whole week our team had broken an old shed, disassembled a roof, bought and delivered building materials, made a new roof, plastered house walls – fear was replaced by gratitude and belief in a miracle. To the Razvadovsky family from the village of Borshiv, where the head of the family was an invalid, and there are two children, we have bought and delivered building materials for external and internal repair which they have postponed till the spring as the house has not dried up yet after flooding. From the very beginning they have thought that it is unbelievable, it is a joke but when they saw the truck driving to their gate with all the materials – to their amazement and happiness there was no limit.

The Symotyuk family from the village of Prootivka, a new young family who owing to the flood cannot live in their own house, however, is not losing optimism and is looking ahead with a smile. We had time to upholster the whole house from old materials, and also to buy building materials for external repair. Our team has levelled the walls in each room and has plastered the house from within, and also has bought the necessary building materials for insulating the walls (for the coming winter) and completing repair work.

For the Kokh Zosya family from the village of Borshiv, the money they received from the state was only enough for them to make a start on two rooms (to fill in a floor with concrete). Looking at the one-year-old girl who played on the cement floor in a cold room, we could not remain indifferent. And as soon as there was a possibility, we bought the necessary building materials for internal repair of the house, and also necessary accessories and gifts for the children. This family is special also in that, despite their own distress, the father of the family works as a driver in a centre for invalids, and the mum is a volunteer in a boarding school for children with development problems.

The family of Shevchyuk Anna from the village of Borshiv… Anna – a woman of pensionable age. She and her husband are invalids. Anna is almost blind. On the money received from the state, the family could make small repairs to the house, however there was not enough money to replace the furniture, therefore they had to sleep on a bloated and broken sofa. We bought and brought to Anna’s home a beautiful new sofa bed. She told us that did not hope at all to meet such responsible young people who did not just "speak", and have really come good on their promises. 

The Sobetsky family live in the village of Dovge…This is a village without a shop, post office or school. The Family consists of seven people: the father, mother, three daughters (two of them single mums) and 2 grandsons (one 4 years old, another was only 5 days old when we were there). The family has been absolutely shocked, as until we arrived they had received practically no real help from others. We did the heating and have completely repaired the children's room. The day when we delivered a new sofa and toys for children was especially exciting. Tears were in the eyes of the family, and the working team… Also, we have visited an orphanage in the town of Tlumach. We were very joyfully met, and within minutes the children wouldn’t leave us alone, the played with us in games and told us about their lives. In the house about 30 children live without parents. Now all of them smile, are fed and dressed, have the opportunity to study. Recently they have been left by parents, they were hungry and nobody needed them...Unbelievable...Such kind faces....

Also during our trips we did an action in the village of Oleshkiv. In this village we spent all day, visiting families with many children and unsuccessful families, providing them with warm clothes for the winter, and also supporting them with kind words. People with pleasure met us, thanked us, told us about their lives and also with tears in their eyes spoke of the time when their houses were filled with water … To us it was so hard to see that there are still so many families who do not know yet where they will spend this winter because their own houses are totally destroyed by water. However on the last day of the third trip to the Western Ukraine something unforeseen happened… in the evening, on the way to one village where part of our team worked, our minibus and 6 persons who were in it, had a huge car accident: the jeep which was unexpectedly in our lane drove straight into us. All of us escaped alive, but had injuries of various sorts. I had two operations and now I am undergoing physiotherapy on my leg. But you know what? I will not surrender… I believe that for many people we became an example.


Let's always choose not to stand aside when we see the problems of real people. Everyone can make a contribution to society in our country, showing compassion and empathy through their deeds. Let's kill indifference in our hearts. I am sure that if each person will make the decision "to see and hear" a problem, it will help all of us to unite together to bring solutions where there are only questions now. The person occupying an active civic position in a society will be successful in activity, only if his heart is opened. Then ideas, adherents, the finances will come. And then will come big results. Life is too valuable to spend it for nothing. Let's appreciate our days and not live them in vain.




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