АвторAuthor: Yuliya Osadcha | Translation: Nataliia Herasymova Gronskaya
28 May 2022
The war made its adjustments in the life of Ukrainian singer Marietta. Until recently, the woman recorded songs and stared in music videos, now she is a volunteer. She delivers humanitarian aid to displaced persons, helps soldiers of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and fights on the information front.
Marietta is a Ukrainian singer. She was born in Cherkasy, at the age of four she moved to Kyiv with her mother. Since childhood she has participated in many international and national song contests. At the age of 10 she released her first album. She recorded duets with Andriy Kravchuk and Gaitana. In 2012 and 2013 she became a finalist in the national selection for the Eurovision Song Contest. In 2015, the track “Heartbeat” entered the top ten finalists of the international competition “Unsigned Only” in the United States. The singer won the right to promote the digital album in 60 countries.
“For me, the war in Ukraine began in 2014. It was then that I had a great rethinking of my work, that I switched to the Ukrainian language both in life and in songs”.
I started creating only Ukrainian-language content. I had such a civic position and I wanted to show it not only in communication, but also in art.
The premonition of a full-scale invasion came two weeks before February 24. Not even because there were troop build-ups near our border, but because I lived near the town of Vasylkiv and they started very active training there: helicopters, various sounds that made my husband and I nervous. We have already realized that something will go wrong.
In fact, we were actively preparing for two weeks: packing our luggage, then preparing the basement in the house. On February 24, when I woke up at 4 am from the explosion, I thought I had a dream, but when the next explosion took place 20 minutes later, I woke my husband up.
We immediately started calling parents because they live on the left bank of the capital. My husband said that he understood that the war started when he checked Telegram at five in the morning to write to parents, and all friends were online. Terrible traffic jams began in the city. My parents were able to reach us only before noon because everyone was fleeing Kyiv. The first week of the war was very difficult, very terrible. We had more than 20 people in the house. Everyone came together, friends and relatives. After all, we thought we would be more or less calm. Rockets were constantly flying five or six times a day and even more at night. This horror lasted about a month and a half.
We didn’t go anywhere, we got used to explosions, rockets, etc. in the first days. Learning to live with them was very scary. We hid in the basements as best we could. Our 85 years old grandfather was with us. He is the only one who behaved calmly. He said that as a child he had already gone through the war and understood that Ukraine would win, it could not be otherwise. Even though my grandfather is a Jew. He knew what the Second World War was. The first week we all hid, and the boys (my husband and his father) went to Kyiv – saw air battles, helped the army as much as they could, enlisted in the defense.
To be honest, I couldn’t come to my senses for the first three or five days, I was very worried and scared. And then I realized that staying at home does not make sense: when you stay, you are simply paralyzed by panic. From the first day I started to actively blog about the war, before that I always wrote on Instagram about tourism and personal life. Here I changed direction. I began to act actively on the information front, like all the stars who really supported Ukraine.
“From day one we tried to reach out to ordinary Russians. We thought maybe they don’t know, maybe they don’t understand, maybe they can do something, go out as we went to the Maidan. Somehow to reach the authorities”.
But a few days later we realized that the Russians were incurable. Nobody will do anything there; nobody needs it, and everyone will continue to sit and wait for miracles. So my position changed and I decided that in addition to the blog, I needed to help.
First I learned that the father of our close friend was in the artillery brigade that defended Kyiv, Brovary, then went to Pryluky. We tried very hard to help them. This is where my volunteering began. In the beginning, I helped the military. They really needed different equipment, tablets to adjust the fire, because they were losing and breaking it in the first battles. These were very expensive things that were breaking quickly. I was shocked at how much people, even in panic, in these terrible emotions, were able to gather and help as much as they could: some were giving clothes, some were giving money. Even people who fled the war were helping and keep helping. A lot of time has passed, but the same people continue to help our military.
They helped first the artillery, then the Marines, then the paratroopers. And when the military was helped by the country, when everyone came together and important things were bought, I already started taking care of the displaces persons. It’s scary to hear how people have lost their homes, their loved ones, absolutely everything. I got to know a wonderful volunteer organization called Made in Ukraine. They have a large humanitarian headquarters in the capital. I just called them, said that I am a singer, that many families of displaces persons write to me on social media, they have small children, they need help with diapers, baby food and clothes. I promised that I would be very active in sending and will show reports. After all, now there are many situations when humanitarian aid is simply resold.
“People come to me every day, I carefully check the documents, ask for IDPs’ certificates, children’s documents, photos. Of course, all normal people send it without any problems, tell their poignant stories”.
Recently, a large box of humanitarian aid was sent to a family from the Chernihiv region, where the village was razed to the ground, and they moved to relatives in the Kyiv region. There really was a family left with nothing. The family walked miles with babies in their arms. A 90-year-old grandmother was also with them. We managed to provide them everything. Then there was the situation: we have friends who lived in the village Victory. It is located outside of Brovary. This is almost the Chernihiv region. Their village was under occupation. They managed to escape, but when the village was liberated, there was a catastrophic humanitarian situation. So I arranged with my friends, the owners of Kernel, the supply of several tons of food to provide food for the whole village. The other day the singer Vlad Darwin called. He and his organization Ukraine Alive are also helping the villages destroyed by the russkis. The company has also allocated ten tons of products, now it is delivered to those in need.
I volunteer on a personal basis, just as a public person. I recently saw in the girl’s story that there was a very big problem with gasoline. They were all looking for volunteers with electric cars who were ready to help deliver food to those in need. Many famous restaurants prepare food and feed many people every day. I tried this kind of volunteering for the first time. I was able to deliver 350 servings of food a day. There I was told that they would make a volunteer badge for me, so I would already have something.
“I am motivated by real life stories of people. Because all people in Ukraine have found themselves in a situation where not helping is not being involved in anything at all”.
Even people who can’t actively go somewhere to do something because they have children or other circumstances. They still help by posting the news, fight on the information front. Those who went abroad go to meetings, tell foreigners about the situation in Ukraine – this is also a great volunteer help. The most important thing now is for Ukraine to remain in the information field and not fade away. We all understand that people get used to war.
Why do I help the military? These are not just people I know. My friend’s father is in the artillery, also my stylist Shura Ryazantseva who dressed me for concerts, for video shootings is now in the Armed Forces. She was in Irpin during the hostilities, in Kiev during the terrible events of the first month of the war, in the north, on the border. She now arrived at the capital, then going to Kherson. This person is no stranger to me. She is my best friend, so I couldn’t remain indifferent when she had no helmet for the first few days. Missiles and shells fly, and she walks without a helmet at all. Of course, we found and brought her a helmet. We all worry about the lives of the people we love and care about.
Therefore, volunteer help is a motivation for the lives of people whom we love and care for in the first place, and strangers become our relatives, because we all understand that we are in the same situation.
Among the main problems of volunteering is the lack of finances because you do it at your own expense. Before the war my husband and I had our own business – quest rooms.
“We had nine quest rooms in Kyiv. It was our business, our income. Nothing is working now, because now the whole of Ukraine is like a quest room. Nobody needs them”
We lost our income. It is good that our parents continue to work and can support us, and we in turn help using our savings. We spend them on help. I pay for delivery of all addressed parcels for displaced children myself. The things that are available at the humanitarian headquarters are completely free, for which I am very grateful. Each parcel costs about five thousand hryvnias per person.
The husband helps when he can. He is now in the defense. He has his tasks, which he performs.
My mother works in the field of dairy products, we were able to go to the warehouse and get all necessary at affordable prices. It was brought to people and given away for free.
Nowadays, I really like volunteering with children. There are a lot of families, not only displaces ones, but also low-income who do not have the opportunity to buy diapers, food, or clothes for their children. Diapers alone in the store cost 400-800 UAH. There are people who left without money at all, and there are those for whom it is very big money.
As for my career, during the war I have been rethinking what I want to do. Our show business disappointed me. When I see the group “Boombox”, “Antytila”, “TNMK”, I see guys who from the first day of the war have not given up their main male responsibilities – to protect themselves, the country, their families, I have great respect to them. At the same time, they are even engaged in creative process. Andriy Khlyvnyuk caused a furor all over the world singing “Oh, red viburnum in the meadow.” It commands respect because it is an important step for the development of our country. But there are many artists who fled to unknown places and just use war topic for self-promotion. It disappoints me a lot. The point is not even that they escaped. Everyone has a choice of where to go to, how to escape. I understand that each person goes through that individually, but it does not motivate when you experience the war in your own way and at the same time obviously self-promote. I see that many stars remain popular, they are supported by the press, channels, social networks, but I do not understand why. This is what disappoints. People who do more don’t get the amount of attention they deserve.
Чому важливо поширити цю історію?
Якщо українці не розповідатимуть свій погляд на війну в Україні, світ поступово забуватиме про нас. Натомість цим обов’язково скористаються росіяни. Тому не даймо їм жодного шансу.
Why is it important to share this story?
If Ukrainians do not share their views on the war in Ukraine, the world will gradually forget about us. Instead, the Russians will definitely take advantage of this. So let's not give them a chance.
АвторAuthor: Yuliya Osadcha | Translation: Nataliia Herasymova Gronskaya