Art and Social Projects: Challenges in Life After Quarantine in Ukraine

September 9, 2020
The COVID-19 lockdown has been a tough time for art and social projects in Ukraine. Some of them went online, while others are still waiting to resume their main activities. UkraineWorld, together with its colleagues from the regional media, reviews how ordinary life is coming back after the quarantine.
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Open-air theater takes the stage in Kharkiv

When the quarantine was imposed in Ukraine, theaters were among the first places to close. For three and a half months, cultural institutions did their best to survive the crisis. Most of them went online. Today, theaters are allowed to resume their work, but with some restrictions and rules, such as temperature screening, hand disinfection, and obligatory face masks. Journalist Olena Nahorna reports on how the Kharkiv National Academic Opera and Ballet Theater has managed to attract viewers after the quarantine.

The theater decided to hold its performances at an outdoor playground. An old summer stage behind the theatre had been abandoned for a quarter of a century. Now it has become a center of the city's post-quarantine cultural life. "We are all glad to meet in any possible way and to start working", said chief conductor Dmytro Morozov. 

Although the viewers have missed cultural life and are glad to buy tickets, most of the actors and staff are still experiencing some financial struggles.

As a result of the adjustments, more than 350 spectators can enjoy the show. Although the viewers have missed cultural life and are glad to buy tickets, most of the actors and staff are still experiencing some financial struggles. But this experience can surely be useful for other theaters in Ukraine and around the world.

Social projects come back to life in Ternopil

Meanwhile, social projects have restarted their work in post-quarantine Ternopil, one of the major cities of Western Ukraine. Journalist Victoria Ushakova writes about one of them for the local outlet called "Novynnyi Portal Pohlyad". Before the lockdown, a project called OdezhynaNA had managed to help more than 5,000 people from socially vulnerable categories, providing them not only with free clothes but also with furniture.

OdezhinaNA was founded back in 2017 by Iana Shkuratova, former Luhansk resident who moved west because of the war in Donbas. Like almost 1.5 million Ukrainians, she was forced to leave her home and start a new life elsewhere. The majority of internally displaced people could not take their personal belongings and other necessities with them. So Iana came up with the idea of a sort of social wardrobe that became the core concept of the OdezhinaNA project.

Together with her partners, she received funding from the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) to start her initiative. Local authorities and non-governmental organizations from Ternopil also supported them. To collect clothes and other items, volunteers put special containers across the city to gather second-hand items from residents, so that people in need could receive them on a regular basis.

During the quarantine, the incomes of many Ukrainian IDPs significantly dropped, so now volunteers have found another way to support them.

Together with multiple other art and social projects, these creative examples from Kharkiv and Ternopil  demonstrate that there are artistic and social initiatives across Ukraine trying to adjust post-quarantine life.

This article was produced through the stipend program Remain in the Profession, run by Internews Ukraine.

The program is made possible by the support of the American people through the Media Program in Ukraine, a project funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and implemented by Internews. The contents are the sole responsibility of the authors and Internews Ukraine, and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID, the United States Government or Internews.

Yaroslava Kobynets
Journalist at Internews Ukraine

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