Notes on the meeting with Yulia regarding Ukraine Crisis
Date: 31 March 2022 @ 6.30-730pm on zoom;
Notes by Martin Vaughan
Doug Brodie (DB); Yuliya Sporysh (YS),
DB organised a zoom meeting for more than 20 people who were interested in hearing first-hand about the war in Ukraine and how this affects people who live and work in areas affected by the Russian invasion. DB has recently had a number of conversations with YS. He got to know YS via a mutual contact. After a brief introduction YS took the lead in the meeting.
She provided some brief details about herself. She works professionally in Kyiv, has a doctorate in Sociology and speaks Ukrainian, Russian and English. She has a husband and three children. Before the invasion they lived in the Irpin district of Kyiv. When the invasion began, she and two of her children evacuated to Poland for safety. Her husband stayed behind in Irpin and their other child went to the grandparents in Israel.
When YS was working in Ukraine, in 2019, she set up a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) as a side project. Its objective is to teach Ukrainian girls to make conscious life decisions based on knowledge about female physiology and available career development options. They did this by providing online and offline lessons in schools and training for educators. They also benefitted from funding from UNICEF and were UNICEF’s partner in ‘Health without Shame’. Since the evacuation YS has not been working in her normal job. Being the person she is, however, she has devoted her time and energy to redirecting the activities of the NGO to helping families from the Irpin region who have had to evacuate to Poland.
YS explained that many of them left their homes with virtually nothing, not even knowing whether they would have a home to go back to, or when this may be. On page 5 of the attached presentation YS included a picture of her own flat. It was on fire and had been ruined by the war. The presentation has been attached to this note; there are pictures of YS, of her family, of her flat, of the way people had to evacuate, carrying whatever possessions they could, of the devastation the invasion has caused, details of what the NGO originally did and pictures of what they are doing now.
The end of the presentation shows a few slides of what YS is trying to do now. She is looking to establish a shelter in Chernivtsi which will provide shelter and possibly even work (they have the equipment to set up a bakery). Finally, the penultimate page provides a breakdown of the costs involved in setting this shelter up. This is what she’s raising money for, so that some of the women and children can have a safe and warm place to sleep.
Some general questions were asked about her position and how they are all coping, which YS duly answered. The presentation was very moving and gave an unedited version of what it is actually like, evacuating from a war zone. As a result of the meeting a number of people felt they wanted to help.
DB suggested the ‘group’ sponsor the shelter in Chernivtsi. To assist in the raising of the money required Marcus Liberman suggested he see if St Gabriel’s church could to facilitate the collection of funds via its charitable status. (Later arranged)
YS thanked everyone for their time and their interest. She was very appreciative of us all just being there and I’m sure if everyone was able to do something we would be able to make a difference to a number of lives, particularly women and children.