Protestants Flee The War And Resettle Together
1 June, 2015

Though it looks the pictures of those who fled Prypiat, this is not a film about Chornobyl. Two little girls – Ania from Horlivka and Olesia from Donetsk – jump from bench to bench in the tattered pavilion.

This is Berizka, a children’s summer camp near Chervonyi Lyman in the Donetsk region. At the end of last summer, when the artillery shelling became too much, a group of about 30 Protestants moved into Berizka. Slowly more and more Protestants from the conflict affected areas also arrived. Now around 80 people live there.

They survived the winter but it is still too soon to return home. The children attend school at the regional center while the adults are trying to start new lives. This is very hard to do when you do not have a job. Not only from a financial perspective – the camp is after all supported by volunteers and Christian organisations – but also because there is nothing to focus your mind on, Yevhen Filatov, one of the camps residents told Hromadske.

In Donetsk he was a builder and decorator but at Berizka when required – a driver. The rest of the time he is responsible for collecting birch juice from the trees. They then mix the juice with tomato paste to make tomato juice. Yevhen took the Hromadske journalists to the nearest birch trees to demonstrate how he quickly fills up 3 liter bottles with the juice.

The youngest resident of Berizka is Nina. She is just one month old. She was practically born there...

// Nataliya Gumenyuk, Bohdan Kutiepov. Filmed in 2015.