“My dream is to help someone like I was helped” – teenager who suffered Donbas war [VIDEO]


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Article by: Olena Makarenko
Edited by: Alya Shandra

The war in eastern Ukraine is ongoing already for more than six years. Sloviansk and nearby towns in Donetsk Oblast were among the first wich suffered the occupation of the pro-Russian forces in spring 2014. In the summer of the same year, they were released. For this time, local kids grew into teenagers, and those who were teenagers gradually turn into adults. Their progress can give a sense of how much the region has changed and how much the work of volunteers coming there was helpful.

Viktoria Horodynska from Mykolayivka was 14 years when the war started in her town. Prior to the war, ordinary Donbas teenagers probably would not ask themselves what is Ukraine, which role it plays in their lives, and which role they play in the future of their country. However, the war asked all of these questions. It made teenagers like Viktoria mature earlier.

Back in 2014, hundreds of volunteers from across Ukraine came to free Donbas to launch a dialogue with the locals and to make up for lost time. It was the New Donbas initiative that came to Viktoria’s school to repair it. However, the most important part of the initiative’s work was communicating with kids and teenagers through different workshops, and involving them in different creative initiatives. 

Later, the teenagers of the school, including Viktoria were depicted in the documentary School Number Three by the directors Yelizaveta Smith and Georg Genoux. 

Read also:

How war changed a teenager’s life for the better

The Berlinale Grand Prix film from Ukraine tells a different story of the Donbas

Six years after, Viktoria is studying to become a film director in Kyiv, and from time to time is involved in creative projects for teenagers from Donbas as a volunteer herself. 

“Probably, my dream is to help someone in the same way that I was helped,” Viktoria says. 


Journalist: Olena Makarenko

Camera: Oleksandr Portian, Viktoria Horodynska

Video editor: Oleksandr Portian

Subtitles editor: Alya Shandra

Music: YouTube Music Library

Also for this video were used:

Photos from Viktoria Horodynska’s private archive,

Photos from the City to Go project,

Video from the New Donbas NGO,

Video of Kostyantyn Kliatskin,

Video from the trailer of the documentary School #3 (Tabor Production)

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Edited by: Alya Shandra

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