The following is written by our Alef Trust IT Infrastructure Manager, Vitaliy Dominichenko. Vitaliy is Ukrainian and living in his country … amidst the terror and trauma. It is a measure of Vitaliy’s humanity that his words do not attack others but focus on compassion and the need for caring action.

Our hearts go out to Vitaliy and his wife, Iia. Our prayers are with him and with all those who are suffering. 

Vitaliy’s English is not perfect. I had in mind to edit the following … but changed my mind. Let Vitaliy’s words ring out! His message must be heard! And let me join Vitaliy in asking all in our Alef Trust community and beyond to donate in the way that Vitaliy suggests. See the website he compiled: https://lnk.bio/donate.ukr.children

May what is highest in the human spirit prevail …

Les Lancaster, Founding Director, Alef Trust.

If only I could remind all adults of the charms of childhood, of incredible childhood memories and fantasies, free from any concepts, beliefs, and politics. About the endless interest in everything around — from lumps of earth and drops of water to giant trees around and bizarre shapes of clouds in the sky.

If people could once again turn on their imagination to the maximum, forget that something in this magical world is impossible, and let the fantasies of their Heart fly free, into the cosmic dance of light and love.

If not all of us, I want to believe that most of us still remember our childhood as bright and free, full of care and love from our parents and grandparents, playing with other children, painting walls with pencils in the rooms of your home, swimming in puddles on the street, enjoying the delicious and cosy aroma of Christmas and New Year holidays and the constant expectation of a miracle.

When I heard about my great-grandparents, who fought or were children of war, I could not even comprehend it, and even more so, to assume that someday in my life I will be surrounded by war, death, and suffering of ordinary people and especially children. It is very valuable when in such circumstances children have wise parents who do everything possible to protect them both physically and psychologically. However, orphans, sick children, and animals are the least protected in this situation, especially those who live in orphanages.

I would not like to dramatize or exaggerate the tragedy that is happening on our planet. I know that Ukraine is now not the only country where there is a war. I cannot and do not want to compare the scale and impact of the war on Ukrainian territory with other wars of today.

At the moment, I am in a safe place in my country and I would like to try to describe the scale of the catastrophe in the life of each individual and especially a child who at least once in his life heard a bomb blast, saw the bloodied bodies of loved ones, saw how a house, city or country is collapsing, in which life full of dreams and plans was in full swing yesterday.

It is impossible to comprehend what people feel when they are at the epicentre of events, only by hearing from the news about the death toll and seeing on video burning houses that were someone’s home. If you listen to the interviews with the victims and look into the eyes of the child who managed to escape, everything becomes clearer.

I understand that we cannot undo the past, we cannot erase from the memory of small and very vulnerable children what they saw and heard. However, we can take care of them as our mother would take care of us.

The purpose of this article is to call you to feel inside the power and love that just now can be so lacking in any person, child, or animal on our Earth. Maybe this power and love will want to be manifested in some action? How can this care be conveyed? Even if it is difficult for us to do in person, there are people who dedicate their lives to caring for children and animals. Now there are even more such people and volunteers. People are being evacuated from Ukraine, where explosions are still raging and people are dying, to neighbouring countries which help them with food and shelter. But some of them still need financial help to make children’s stay more comfortable (information from the talk with Bielova Lidiia, the director of The Lubny centre for social rehabilitation of children “Nadiya”, who has evacuated 32 children to Germany). There are still those in Ukraine who failed to evacuate, who need food, medicine and basic necessities.

It is in the last few days that for the first time I have come across this topic so closely, asking myself, “How can I help each child at least a little bit?”

I discovered that there was an orphanage in the town of Lubny where I now live. My wife and I managed to help with food and money, as well as communicate with them. It is not easy for people and children, but they believe that soon everything will be over, they pray every day and wait for the spring flowers that they planted in the fall to come.

Now they have been evacuated abroad, and their home periodically hosts groups of children from other cities where active hostilities are taking place, and then move to even safer places.

People who are still children today will create a life for their great-grandchildren on our planet tomorrow, just as we do it for children today. Whether the future is based on fear or love depends on the childhood in which the children live now. In the Ukrainian language, there is a saying, “There are no other people’s children”. We can expand it even further and say that nothing in this world is alien, everything is connected.

I would like to supplement this article with stories of some Ukrainian children about their today’s life: 

“We left dad in Kyiv. And dad will be selling things and helping our heroes, our army. He might even fight.” https://www.instagram.com/p/Camg7SIoHCx/ 

“My name is Mykhailo, I am 10 years old. We did not leave our home, because if the villages are empty, it will be easier for enemy troops to enter them. During these days I heard and saw a lot. I heard the Grads shelling and machine guns fires, I saw enemy planes and helicopters and heard explosions not far from the village. The first day was really scary, now — I don’t know. Panic just disappeared somewhere. The main thing is to check the information. There may be enemy spies among the locals, they may be sitting in bomb shelters and spreading the panic…” https://www.instagram.com/p/CafRc7mLTSS/ 

If I could remind all adults of the charms of childhood, of incredible childhood memories and fantasies, free from all concepts, beliefs, and politics, if only it could help people understand and remember the universal language of love, not war, the language of cooperation and creativity for the benefit of all living beings…

I decided to look among acquaintances and on the Internet for people and organizations that are involved in helping children at this time and who can be helped at least financially. I compiled this list of sites and details for how you can help. Some of the sites are in Ukrainian and can be translated using Google Translate. You can contact each of these organizations in person if needed, check their socials. If you have any difficulties, write to me at vitaliy.dominichenko@gmail.com and I will try to help.

Details for donating to Lubny Orphanage:
LUBNY CENTER FOR SOCIAL REHABILITATION OF CHILDREN “NADIYA”
IBAN: UA913052990000026006011201862
BIC: PBANUA2X
Location of the legal entity: 37502, Poltavska obl., misto Lubny, 1 PROVULOK VULYTSI METEOROLOHICHNOYI, budynok 4
Phone number: +380509755146

https://thefield.aleftrust.org/my-profile/vitalii-dominichenko
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