Kyiv, November 16. 2015. “Ukraine of the future for me is a beautiful thriving country respected in Europe and all over the world […], with legislative system and justice of European type granting equal rights to all the citizens and making them equal in the eyes of a law.” This is Ukraine through the eyes of a pupil Matviy Selin who moved from Donetsk to Kharkiv a year ago and became a cadet of a boarding school ‘Cadet Corps’. According to Selin, if a man fails to obey the law, there is no saying about tolerance. Selin is a pupil who became a winner of the all-Ukrainian school competition “UNITED CHILDREN OF UKRAINE” organized by Ukraine Crisis Media Center with support of the Ministry of Education of Ukraine taking place in June 2015. Pupils of 10-11 grades from all over Ukraine participated, expressing their vision of spreading ideas of tolerance, mutual respect, humanity and reconciliation in their compositions.
Competition winners shared their recipes of peace and tolerance at a press briefing at Ukraine Crisis Media Center. Sofiya Leshchymenko from Zaporizhzhia compared public sentiment to a rainbow. “It’s raining in our country now, but a beautiful colorful rainbow always follows. I believe there are many rainbow people in our country, uniting people, giving them light, hope and faith in their souls,” believes the girl. According to Sofiya, such people bring tolerance in our country and they are the majority. Anna Matvienko from Kharkiv region urged to stay human under any circumstances and listen to one another. She says the undeclared war is in progress and people are made to leave their homes with this ‘darkness in their souls.’ Other pupils also emphasized upon communicative component in our difficult time. For instance, Valeriya Serik from Luhansk region said the war touched upon her family. She explained that communication is vital and the most important thing is not only speaking, but hearing one another. “When communication between people fails, it is exactly what causes conflicts, including wars,” believes Serik.
Most competition participants believe young people must be united by their mother language and education in the country. According to Sofia Kovalenko from Donetsk region, if we know your country’s history, despite the fact it may go in spirals, we can avoid many mistakes of the past. “There is no future without the past. If we learn from mistakes of the people launching wars in the past, making people conflict with one another, we will be able to build the better future,” says Anna Skryabina from Luhansk region. Moreover, the society needs ‘angels of goodness’, says Elza Legran from Kyiv region. The girl suggests creating department of goodness where each person can report good deeds of their friends, and the well-doers would receive letters with gratitude for their deeds. She also suggested introducing titles of a ‘well-doer of the country’ and a ‘well-doer of the city’ to instigate people making good deeds. “Young people have been discussing the issue of leadership ability to establish goals and reach it as well as working to achieve the result recently and leadership is being cultivated in the society. Nevertheless, in difficult time we need more peace-makers, kind and merciful people […], as they produce energy of peace, harmony and kindness,” says Legran.
The best works of pupils who won all-Ukrainian competition “UNITED CHILDREN OF UKRAINE” will be included into a collection “United children of Ukraine: toward peace through tolerance and understanding.”