In February 2022 Russia launched a full-scale invasion of my country. I felt enormous guilt. I am safe in Poland. I do not deserve it. What can I do to help?
The 24th of February was a decisive moment for every Ukrainian. To act or to be passive, to stay or to leave. Once the initial shock had passed my position became clear and I decided to photograph.
I remember my school as a place where I belonged and felt secure. The school has chosen its response to the war. It has become a shelter for the internally displaced people. It’s one of the two schools in the city that accept refugees. The largest number of people who found shelter at the school at the same time was 140 in March 2022.
It is confusing for me to see my school right now. I used to play games with my peers here. The displaced kids do the same but under different circumstances. They give us hope.
There are people living in the room where I had my world literature class. We would read books written by English, Russian, French, and other authors. Most probably the next generation of students in this room will not be introduced to Russian culture for many years to come.
When we enter many schools we see phrases on the walls. Nobody pays attention to them. But my school truly embodies the slogan that greets its visitors at the entrance: Dream, Develop, Act. The school has changed its function. It adjusted to the needs of the people.
The school staff were not forced to do anything. They could close the doors of the school after martial law was declared. Instead, they have been working non-stop for 5 months. It is their contribution to the common victory. Their level of social responsibility is astounding. These people do not need pity. They have a firm position in life. They act.