Civic activists launch online platform #SOSFuture to save Ukraine’s cultural heritage


Ukraine numbers a lot of cultural heritage sites that are declining. Civic actors decided to collect the information on all the little-cared objects in one platform. In such a way they expect the state to pay attention to the problem of preserving Ukraine’s cultural heritage. Civil society will thus be able to actively engage in their renewal.

To save cultural heritage

Platform #SOSмайбутнє (#SOSFuture) aims at detecting and saving the objects of social and cultural importance that are under the threat of vanishing. It is actually a registry presented as an interactive map with photos, historical background and description. The online platform will be launched on May 15, it will unite sites that require support. After the project is completely implemented, it is planned to create the so-called “Acts of Good web site”. It will operate based on a crowdfunding model. Common people will be able to donate for renovation of cultural heritage sites as well as of those of public importance.

“We pave the way by showing an example of self-organizing as a grassroots initiative, granting resources to restore the cultural basis,” said Heorhii Dieiev, partner and development director at the Volta digital communications agency, speaking at a press-briefing at Ukraine Crisis Media Center.

First sites

“About 1,5 thousand enthusiasts have joined our initiative within this short period of time. It comes as a civic action, an initiative that emerged and spread on the social media. It aims at detecting the scales of the cultural crisis as well as at making a drastic change with joint efforts,“ said Natalia Zabolotna, president of the Art Ukraine Foundation.

Organizers have received photos of about 100 sites that the people sent them. The sites include declining historical buildings, among which are also castles and sports facilities. “It’s not the process itself that is our priority, instead we are trying and will be working to achieve the results,” Zabolotna voiced the plans of the #SOSFuture team.

Saving cultural heritage for the future generations

The project’s blogger and author of the texts is Halyna Plachynda, founder of NGO “Movement of the non-indifferent” (rukh nebaiduzhykh). She is convinced that each person must save the living space received from previous generations. Ukrainian artist and activist of Armenian descent Borys Yegiazaryan spoke about the project’s importance citing the example of Yerevan. The people of Yerevan realized the importance of preserving their cultural heritage when it was already too late and the old part of the city was lost. The city itself was founded 25 years earlier then Rome. He drew a sad parallel with Ukrainian cities: “What our reality will be like 10 years later?”

Mariia Moroz, civic activist and head of the tourist center KhersON said that the same-name region (in the south of Ukraine) is home to many architectural landmarks. “We realized that if we do not engage in restoring the architectural landmarks in our land, we’ll have nothing to show to the tourists in 10 years,” Moroz said.

Kateryna Smahlii, director of the Kennan Institute in Ukraine said that the institute had started to actively cooperate with Europa Nostra, pan-European Federation for Cultural Heritage. The organization holds competitions annually to support the cultural heritage sites across Europe. According to Smahlii, consolidating the dossier on all Ukraine’s cultural heritage sites in one platform will help attract the attention of European institutions and possibly get funding for their renovation.