My name is Maria and I am Greek Ukrainian. I moved to Australia three years ago, and I am studying early childcare education. I also participate in Greek language theatre.
I lived in Ukraine, more specifically in the city of Lviv which is in western Ukraine for five years where I completed my Bachelor of Psychology in one of the biggest universities in Ukraine, the Lviv National Ivan Franko university.
In my years living in this beautiful country, I loved the culture, history, traditions, and people even more. In my heart I am equally Greek and Ukrainian.
In 2014, when the revolution started I was part of it, we demanded a better future for our country away from the pressure of our neighbour, Russia. Unfortunately in these protests that millions of people were part of in the streets of Kyiv, 106 people were killed due to snippers shouting at the protestors. The Russian backed government collapsed,; we had elections but the trouble for my people didn’t stop there.
Russia invaded Crimea shortly after and it was a shock to everyone at the time. Then not long after that, a Russian invasion started in the eastern parts of Ukraine, Donetsk and Luhansk, a war began. People suffered a lot at that time from the atrocities that were happening. Ukrainian people had to leave their houses, their towns and they became refugees. It was at that time that me and my friend decided to go in the war zone to help as volunteers. I saw soldiers, children, old people, women, being severely wounded, that needed psychological support, and we as students of psychology had a practise that I will never forget. I saw so much pain and sorrow in those people’s eyes, nothing can overcome that. This war ended up with those regions being captured by the occupants for eight years now.
So we are fast forwarding to 2022, Thursday the 24th of February at 4am, where a full-scale war was declared from Russia. Bombing Kyiv, Kharkiv, Marioupol (a modern Greek founded city), and many other cities. Refugees, people hiding in basements, many children have lost their lives and many more casualties. The city of Malitopol is disconnected from everything, from heating , power, internet, water, the food supplies are ending and the people are living in a state of humanitarian crisis.
I saw with my own eyes what war means back in 2014, and now that I am away I feel the pain for all those people that are suffering under war conditions, stress, lack of sleep, fear, anger. Children specifically are suffering even more, this situation is only putting weight on their souls and the traumatic events will be forever in their minds.
Ukraine is a country with a long history and a beautiful culture that only aspires to live in freedom. It is also the home of 200,000 Greeks.
Everyone has the right to live in peace, so I am doing everything that I can to help.
I would like to raise awareness over this matter, everyone can donate to charities to save Ukraine in this terrible time. The Ukrainian organisation “ Ukrainians in Sydney “ is holding rallies every day at Martin Place here in Sydney. Come and support us. Support peace. You can visit their website Ukrainians.Sydney.com.au for more information and also for actions and charities that you can donate to.
Remember that a war is still a war even if it’s not in your country. Let’s act bold and help this war to stop once and for all.
by Maria Chrysafogeorgou
Ways to support Ukraine:
Greek Orthodox Church in many countries is also collecting, as well as the Red Cross