How did exhibition of children’s drawings was carried out in Brussels? REPORT
16:28 / 17 Feb. 2016 / 2023
On February 16, 2016, it was carried out an exhibition of children’s drawings in Brussels “Peace and war through the eyes of Donbas children”, which was organized by community initiative “Restoring Donbas”. This exhibition was preceded by a long preparatory work, which involved dozens of people at all stages – from holding of competition to series of regional exhibitions and trip to Europe.
On the eve of the exhibition, (during February 12-15), the volunteers of our initiative were distributing flyers about the exhibition, which was also a ticket.
The exhibition started its work at 10 AM at the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences. The exhibition was free. Little European guests were met by Sofia Sbitneva (15 y.o.), one of the winners of the contest from Slavyansk.
Oleksandr Klymenko, the founder of the initiative and Ukrainian politician noted that Donbas problems are gradually being forgotten and faded into the background for Europe. The main reason for it is the inflow of refugees and economic crisis.
We organized it in order to make Europeans (both politicians/ journalists and ordinary people) understand: Donbas – it is not just a distant point on the map with weird problems. Donbas – it is millions of human lives, their tears and hope in the eyes of hundreds of thousands of children, who expressed their feelings in their drawings…”, – he stated.
During the day, both children and adults, ordinary families, and representatives of the European Parliament, European journalists and experts (in particular, child psychologists) became the guests of the exhibition.
The exhibition was attended by citizens of Belgium, France, Poland, Lithuania, Turkey. In addition, there were guests from the countries of the former Soviet Union – Belarus, Moldova and Armenia.
All visitors of the exhibition could learn about the path of the exhibition “Restoring Donbas” in special albums.
According to volunteers of the initiative, who were accompanying the exhibition in Brussels, visitors were looking through the pictures and videos with tears on their eyes. Namely, Europeans were shocked due to the video with exclusive photos of volunteers, “Restoring Donbas”, which demonstrate the scale of destruction in Donbas, and stories of children, who have survived the shelling during the hostilities.
Visitors of the exhibition are actively communicating with our volunteers, trying to get information about the situation in the East of Ukraine “first-hand”.
As it turned out, people from European countries feel the lack of information about current events in Donbas. In fact, local media have almost stopped to illuminate this issue despite the fact that it is still posing a threat of migration, epidemics and the illegal movement of weapons. Representatives of “Restoring Donbas” stressed that this conflict as well as restoring the region can be solved only at the international level.
Pictures and videos of the Donbas deeply impressed Europeans. “We saw that residents of Europe do not know much about the events in Donbas. Information about our problem in the minds of Europeans has been stiffened on the period spring-summer 2015. Nowadays, they are genuinely surprised due to need for such exhibitions. They are surprised, when they become aware of the military operations, which are continuing in the region. They empathize with our problems, they offer their help “- Elena Petryayeva, head of «Restoring Donbas» shared her impressions of the exhibition.
During the official ceremony, which took place at 7:00 PM, Sofia Sbitneva (winner of the contest) took a floor in front of guests and journalists,
She started to draw during the attacks of her city. Nowadays, after all the difficulties of the war time, she continues to develop her talent. At the exhibition in Brussels, she brought a portrait of an old man, symbolizing the people, who has left without support in Donbas. Sofia’s mother brought handmade embroidered towel to the exhibition. These gifts from Sbitneva family were presented to activists from Brussels, who helped in preparation work before the exhibition.
The aim of the exhibitions was a demonstration of the real price of the conflict in Donbas, as well as uniting children and adults from different regions of Ukraine for the sake of hope for peace and happy life.
In addition, during the exhibition children were able to record a video. Message to their peers in Donbas with sincere wishes of peace and kindness.
During a series of exhibitions, from October 2015 to January 2016, it has been demonstrated to tens of thousands of people.
The restoring-donbass.com website - is an interactive platform, which was created by the "Restoring Donbas" community initiative of Oleksandr Klymenko. The latest news, blogs and analysis, background information and useful ads for IDPs and Donbas residents are available on the website.