The Peace & Love Action was a follow-up of a long-term documentary project I was completing in Ukraine in 2017 & 2018. During that time I was travelling between Ukraine and Poland - staying several times in Avdiivka and Marinka – small towns on the Donetsk suburbs, touching the front line of Eastern Ukraine. I became close to the local community in Avdiivka. Peace & Love Action I undertook aimed at supporting them with the goods they simply could not have efforted on their own. Thanks to donors, crowd-funding gathered more financial resources, than originally expected. For now, Peace & Love is completed but it is to be re-opened sometime in April/May 2019. All funding was already sent to the local community and the needs they required were bought.
Members of the local community live in simply furnished apartments and rooms. All of them are situated in a single tenant block in Avdiivka. Walking through the block one may see just regular apartments people live in, whereas others are used for different purposes. There is a dancing room – rented from the landlord - where children and teenagers are taught how to dance. There is also a room where Ira lives. She is a makeup artist. Her son died during one of the shelling. In a nearby room two other women live: Tanja and her daughter Kristina. All three do not have their homes. Tanja's house was completely destroyed by a tank missile in 2014. It is devastated. In winter it is packed with snow. Just next to Ira's room Protestant Church operates. Believers gathered simple chairs, old TV set and a cross. Services are given everyday in the morning at 6:00 a.m. One may hear singing and praying. No way to sleep long hours.
Elena Pisareva is a pastor of a Protestant Church. She rents a space in which the community lives. A place which has spontaneously became not just a church but also a kind of rescue-help center. Not-official one but really needed. Elena prepared a list of goods, people lack. First of all they needed: heaters, water cattles, electric cookers, beds, wardrobes, towels, and beddings. Most important were heaters financed on the beging of the action. Before crowdfunding was finished, most of the income had been transferred to Elena’s bank account. The money arrived a few days after a martial law had been imposed in 10 Ukrainian districts (oblasts). Elena eventually had resources to buy majority of the required items.
Elena can accept now up to 25 people. Before that 6-7 individuals could have been accommodated there. The local conditions have improved. A full documentation covering all the purchased goods you may find here.