„May 32nd“ – a festival for children in the East Ukrainian conflict zone

On June 2nd, our partner organisation Vostok SOS with the support of Libereco organised a festival in Severodoneck. The festival aimed to raise attention for children´s rights, and the situation of children in the conflict zone. Moreover it was intended to create a space for positive experiences: children, youngsters and parents were encouraged to have fun together.

The events were spread across a huge park that bordered on a living area of Severodoneck. It was possible to make huge spiders out of cardboard with a local artist, take part in different games or attend the “open air university“. There, children and parents participated in workshops on various topics, among them waste-saving and astronomy. Members of Libereco gave a workshop on how to improve communication within the family and beyond.

In the afternoon, several popular bands played a music stage. Small children danced as enthusiastically as teenagers and adults. The day was completed by a movie night, with short films, mainly tackling the situation of children in conflict areas.

Besides the various activities there was plenty of time to have a coffee or try vegetarian dishes in the “food court“, and chat. Numerous parents took the opportunity to talk to members of Vostok SOS, among them psychologists, and also to the delegation of Libereco, about their situation. The festival was an impressive experience: It created a day full of happiness. It gave parents, teenagers and children the chance to play, dance and learn together. It also gave everyone the opportunity to talk about the difficulties and worries regarding the needs and rights of children, and how to protect them in a conflict setting. In the course of the whole day, we did not spot a single child crying.