Solutions journalism works: Rubryka's 10 best articles in September
Fitness for victory, camping for IDPs, and English for the Armed Forces: 10 impressive September solutions
For over two years now, Rubryka has been daily telling about solutions — those that Ukrainians find, those that solve real problems. Solutions journalism is what helps us do that. Thanks to this format, we can not only highlight the problem but also provide real mechanisms for solving it based on real examples and the experience of people who have already managed to implement this or that solution. During a full-scale war, solution journalism became even more helpful, as the need for solutions only increased. We have collected the most interesting ones for September – maybe some of them will help you, and maybe you will want to implement some of them yourself.
The story of beauty volunteers who have been helping people who survived the occupation in the Kyiv region every Monday since May. It may seem, what does beauty have to do with that? Olha Biletska, makeup artist and founder of the "Beauty Volunteers" initiative, explains:
"Not everything is so positive in the places we go to. A person is stressed and frustrated; they throw it all at you because they do not understand why they were hurt, and someone was not. Or suffered, but not that much. And you have to understand this, and you have to be able to work with it…The main thing is not to make a manicure on someone's hands, but to take these hands in your own and say — I'm with you. It's a little bigger; it's deeper. It's not like you do a favor and leave. These people know you later, follow you everywhere, and understand that if you came, they were not forgotten. It becomes at least a little easier for them."
Read the report from one visit of beauty volunteers and their stories here.
How does camping and working with psychologists help those who currently cannot return home? Tents, kayaks, and a schedule, like in a children's camp — this is how the Kyiv settlers in Vinnytsia decided to help Ukrainians find strength in new circumstances.
Camping Restart is special because created specifically for people who left hot spots and therefore is aimed specifically at psychological relief. Psychologists and inventors work here and come up with various activities for children. They also provide free food and provide comfortable tents for overnight stays.
"People want to take a break from current problems and find new connections for themselves. But in most cases, the main motivation is the children," says Ostap, the organizer of the camping. "Parents want them to take a break from gadgets and make new friends."
"Rubryka" visited the camp to find out how it works. Read and see photos here.
Why does a military base need an English teacher? A fascinating experiment is underway at one of the Ukrainian military bases — soldiers are learning English between training and shooting. European instructors who train our military do so in English. Instructions for weapons are also in English. NATO's requirement for future member countries is that officers know English. So there's not even a discussion of its relevance.
Olena Chekryzhova, a military base teacher, says about her decision: "When people are assigned ten sentences to write about themselves in English, they write about what is most important to them, even in their simple language. They write about their families, children, dreams, Ukraine, and how important it is for them to fight. It is an honor to teach these people. They motivate me a lot. Especially now, English is a component of our struggle and our connection with the rest of the world."
Stanislav from Kropyvnytskyi is one of the few doctor ornithologists in Ukraine and a veterinarian. Until 2018, Stas was engaged in exotic birds, studied them in Ukraine, and later was engaged in transporting them between zoos and breeders in Europe. Now he has a bird rehabilitation center in his backyard, treating disabled birds and providing them shelter and food. About 50 winged residents are currently staying in Stanislav's center, where Stanislav treats birds for diseases and wounds.
"I took a parrot from someone, another bird from someone, created conditions for their existence, and it is how the rehabilitation center grew. I try to release healthy birds as much as possible, but some return. For example, eagles and falcons fly away, but storks return," the doctor says.
Rubryka talked to the doctor and collected helpful tips for bird owners: what you need to know before getting a bird, how to prepare it for evacuation and how to be with city birds. About this and other things read in our material.
Pallium for Ukraine was created by Ukrainian Hanna Poliak, who lives in Poland. During a full-scale war, her initiative helps seriously ill children from Ukraine to evacuate abroad and supports them with medicines, consumables, and rehabilitation tools. Most importantly, it provides a safe place to live.
Although Hanna Poliak says she does little things, the families who managed to escape the shelling are infinitely grateful. Their children, who often have complex diseases, remain in comfort and with everything they need for life.
Rubryka will tell about people united around Ukrainian children, problems faced by families during the evacuation, and life abroad.
"Something has to be done," said the founder of the All-Ukrainian online driving school Mykyta Nemyatyi. It was one of the team's first meetings after the beginning of the full-scale russian invasion. We will tell about the solution in Dnipro that helps teach volunteers and resettler women how to drive. The driving school knows how to start the engine if you have never been behind the wheel, how to transport an elderly man from Odesa to Berlin, and how to teach female IDPs traffic rules.
Read about free classes and volunteer help in Rubryka's material.
On the fronts, we are protected by combat companies, and Dnipro City has a "sewing company." Dozens of women united to sew clothes for the soldiers. Thermal underwear, undergarments, T-shirts, and bucket hats are some of the items in the assortment. But the most important thing is that everything is sewn with care for men's and women's health.
During the first days of the full-scale war Maryna Palchenko, the initiative co-founder thought: "It will be difficult until the state turns around with the supply. The boys will need everything." That's how the "Sewing Company" started.
Now Sewing Company has gone beyond the borders of the Dnipro. A network of 140 female volunteers works throughout the country and even abroad. Read about how this endeavor saved women from panic, calluses from work, and the most exciting orders from soldiers on Rubryka.
They make energy bars for the Armed Forces, bake cupcakes, sew balaclavas and cook "dried borscht" — that's all about the volunteers from Berdychiv. Their headquarters is the community library. Both adults and children can help our military here. They do not panic and say that their team's motto is: "And every day everything is just beginning for us.'" And it all started with war and energy bars:
"We looked at what our colleagues are doing in different parts of the country and started with the production of energy bars. People started bringing us food in huge quantities when we made a call. And that was when the store shelves were empty," recalls Tetiana Kushchuk, director of the library.
Rubryka discovered how the library became a hub for volunteers and a "place of strength" for internally displaced people, how it continues to work in new conditions, and why they need camouflage.
Yoga, pilates, and jumping to music during the war? Someone may think that such "entertainment" is at a bad time, but the Hrun territorial community in the Sumy region does not think so. They organized a fitness club in the village library, attended by locals and internally displaced migrants. They say exercise gives them strength and inspiration for other things and helps with social and psychological rehabilitation.
Natalia Chut, a migrant from Kharkiv, became the project initiator.
"Someone is fundraising, and someone does good deeds for people in the community and thus brings our Victory closer," the fitness trainer says.
Read here how this solution works and why it is helpful.
Until February 25, Let's do it Ukraine was an organization that organized the most extensive volunteer cleanups in Ukraine, researched the environment, and taught people how to treat the planet. But with the beginning of a full-scale war, the team had to reformat to meet new challenges. It launched a humanitarian initiative, which received an award from the UN as one of the most effective in the world.
"The russian army has already committed hundreds of environmental crimes. In particular, damage to industrial infrastructure impacts the environment and water pollution. There is a plague of fish and dolphins in the Sea of Azov… All this has specific reasons and will soon have inevitable consequences. Add garbage; it doesn't go anywhere," says the organization's press center head Polina Pavlenko.
Rubryka talked to Let's do it Ukraine and learned about volunteers who trade their bulletproof vests for additional food kits, how the organization decided to return to ecology, and how volunteers go for coffee under artillery fire.