Is it good there away from us?


Huge amounts have been written about the problems of Ukrainian migrant workers. It seems that all kinds of civic organizations both Ukrainian and international, UN bodies, etc, are concerned about this issue while the Ukrainian government and State bodies look on passively. 

On Friday the Ternopil City Council hosted a prize giving ceremony for a school writing competition entitled “Is it good there away from us?”, about the problems of labour migrants abroad and their families. Young people from Ternopil express their feelings – of anger, pain, protest over the fact that Ukrainians are forced to seek employment abroad and over the damage this does whole families where children are deprived of parental care and warmth. 

The initiative and collection of works were supported by the programme “Matra KAP” of the Netherlands Embassy. Two thousand copies of the collection with the same title will be given out free of charge in visa offices to potential labour migrants.

As well as certificates etc, the prize winners will be taken on a tour of the Ternopil region and the best pictures will be posted on the city’s billboards.

Khrystyna Levchenko, one of the prize-winners feels thankful that her family is not in that situation. She says that most families break up and the children are left to themselves.  She feels upset when she sees them resorting to harmful means to forget their problems.

Volodymyr Khanas, a civic activist, stresses that the problem is not just about a lack of jobs in the area.  If the pay is pitiful and prospects bad, then a lot of parents decide to seek better work abroad.  They sometimes don’t come back for years.  The kids have everything they need in material terms, and in every other sense are obviously deprived of the care and attention they need. 

This is poignantly expressed in the work which received the top award: Cold blue wind by Olya Dyachuk.

What do you think, should I buy that DVD player? Mama brought lots of dosh back from Italy – the light blue wind-eyed girl bluely asks a lad just the same.

Ah no, honey, better we keep it for a couple of joints, aroused he whispers in her pierced ear.

I’m suffocating. You’ll say it’s a diseased and futureless youth. Yes, but at the cost of earnings, at the cost of merciless destruction of Ukrainians, the dissipation of our apple tree bloom.  A Cold Blue wind through the whole World.”

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