Canada-Ukraine Foundation

(CUF)

Welcome

Gerald Luciuk is a retired Saskatchewan born and educated resident with a distinguished history of public service and dedicated community involvement.

A soil scientist by training, Gerald worked with provincial and federal departments of agriculture where he was responsible for pivotal studies on land degradation and soil conservation on the Canadian Prairies. Subsequently, he directed programs for promotion of sustainable agriculture and improved soil and water resource management across the Western Canadian Prairie Region.

Gerald extended his Canadian experience to international development in sustainable agriculture beginning with scientific cooperation in Russia. With the collapse of the Former Soviet Union, his agricultural background led to participation in the first Government of Canada technical planning mission to Ukraine charged with establishing sector programs of development assistance to the newly independent Ukraine. Subsequently, he has been an instrumental leader in numerous strategic policy and technical assistance initiatives in Ukraine including a project as policy mentor in 1993 with the Deputy Minister of Economic Planning in the Ministry of Agrarian Policy of Ukraine. His work in international development continued as a director to a China-Canada CIDA funded project on sustainable agriculture in Inner Mongolia. His involvement in the promotion of sustainable agriculture in Canada and abroad resulted in the publication of a number of scientific papers, presentations and reports on issues of environmentally sustainable land and water management.

Throughout his professional career, Gerald Luciuk has been actively involved in the Ukrainian cultural and religious community. He is a long time director of the St. Petro Mohyla Institute. At the local level, Gerald has maintained an active participation in his local Ukrainian Orthodox Parishes in Regina and earlier in Saskatoon. As a member of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress Regina Council he was instrumental in establishing interim programs for English language learning for new Ukrainian immigrants to Saskatchewan. At the national religious community level, Gerald served a Board member of the Consistory of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada from 1999 through to 2010. As a Consistory member, he chaired an Episcopal Search and Development Committee that was instrumental in securing two new young Bishops for the UOCC in 2008. He continues to chair the By-Laws and Joint UOCC-Ukrainian Self Reliance League Standing Committees.

In the area of Provincial community affairs, Gerald Luciuk served on successive advisory committees to the Saskatchewan Government on Saskatchewan Ukraine relations. In 2009, he was appointed as Chair of the Saskatchewan Ukraine Relations Advisory Committee. He is also a Board member and Vice Chair of the Canada Ukraine Centre Inc, a not-for-profit group dedicated to the promotion of mutually beneficial collaboration between Ukraine and Canada on science and technical innovation.

Roman Petryshyn is a founding member of the Canada Ukraine Foundation (CUF) and the former director of the Ukrainian Resource and Development Centre (URDC) at Grant MacEwan University where he held the Drs. Peter and Doris Kule Chair in Ukrainian Community and International Development. He holds a Phd. in Sociology of Race and Ethnic Relations from the University of Bristol, England and a Diploma in Social Sciences from the University of Birmingham, as well as a Masters and Bachelor degrees in Clinical psychology from Lakehead University. He has worked as a Research Associate in the Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies, University of Alberta, and with the Governments of Ontario (Citizenship Branch) and Alberta (Cultural Heritage) where he was engaged in multicultural programming. His research and publications focus on the integration of Ukrainian minorities in Britain and Canada. He edited Changing Realities: Social Trends Among Ukrainian Canadians and has contributed articles to journals and several published compilations.

Since 1991 he engaged in structuring and delivering technical assistance projects in Ukraine and Russia through MacEwan’s representative office. He was Project Manager for the “Agricultural Curriculum” and the “Agri-Business Learning Materials” projects (1991-95); coordinator of research for the study “Reform of the Novosibirsk Health Care System”; Manager of the “Yamalo-Nanetsk and Tyumen Organizational Readiness” project in 1996-97; and co-director of the “Canadian Business Management Project in Ukraine” (1997-2000) and the “Health Education Learning Project” in Russia (2000-04). He was director of the Canada Ukraine Research Team, administered jointly with the Faculty of Education, University of Alberta studying and improving the educational services available to children with disabilities in public schools of Alberta and Ukraine.

In 2008 to 2013 he led MacEwan’s participation in the project that introduced legislation, policies and pilot schools practices on Inclusive Education in Lviv and Simferopol which have now been accepted throughout the entire educational system in Ukraine.

The Canada-Ukraine Foundation initiated the Canada-Ukraine Surgery Mission Program in 2014. The aim is to treat those most profoundly affected by the war and to equip Ukrainian medical professionals with the skills and resources to care for them. After the last mission in 2017, two individuals were identified who needed additional operations. After suffering devastating injuries to his left lower face and jaw in Ukraine’s grueling war, 36-year-old Andriy Usach had one hope: the skilled specialty surgeons at Sunnybrook.  To read more about his operation, please click here.

After several years of initial efforts by the Friends of NAUKMA, CUF took over the management of all Canadian support for the Kyiv Mohyla Institute, now the National Kyiv-Mohyla University. Very significant funds have been directed over the years, to the development of this celebrated University. This support continues today.

This Memorial Fund, setup with CUF and USUF, privately funded by the descendants of the late Melania Kovaluk, provides yearly scholarships to about 8-13 high school graduates from Melania Kovaluk’s home village of Zabolotivtsi, who pursue studies at a higher level. It is managed out of Ottawa.

This type of fund is an excellent example of how a Canadian/American family or organization can, through CUF, provide very valuable, targeted assistance to selected groups or organizations in Ukraine.

It should be noted that this Fund is invested by CUF through the Taras Shevchenko Foundation’s very experienced and successful investment arm.

This type of fund is an excellent example of how a Canadian/American family or organization can, through CUF, provide very valuable, targeted assistance to selected groups or organizations in Ukraine.

It should be noted that this Fund is invested by CUF through the Taras Shevchenko Foundation’s very experienced and successful investment arm.

Допомога студентам в Україні.

Студенти Заболотівецької Основної Школи, Жидачівського району, Львівської області одержують допомогу із тривалого фонду ім.Меланії Денис-Ковалюк (фонд МК), створений із пожертв її шістьох дітей. Із відсотків вложеного капіталу, Фонд МК вручаєс типендії усім студентам, які поступають на вищі студії. Цей фонд адмініструє Канадсько-Українська Фундація (КУФ) при співпраці з Фундацією Україна-США (ФУСША). Студенти Львівської області, які вивчають українську історію, мову і літературу на ступені бакалявра, магістра і аспіранта, мають можливість податися на МК-ТК стипендію, створену Канадсько-Українською Фундацією, з пожертв внучки св.п.Меланії, Тані Ковалюк.

Цього року, вже 7-ий раз, у неділю 6 липня 2008р., в Заболотівецькій Основній Школі, з фонду МК відбулося вручання грамот і стипендій. 13-ьом стипендистам вручено по $300.-, на суму $3,900.-US. Цьогорічна висота стипендії збільшилася втричі в порівнанні з попередніми роками, завдяки жертвенним членам родини Ковалюк із США, Швеції і Канади, пожертви яких збільшили нерухому суму $26,000.- до $50,000.-Кан. Саме це уможливило КУФ вложити цю суму на вищий відсоток у Шевченківській Фундації в Канаді. Присутніми на цій святочній зустрічі, крім стипендистів і директора школи п.Ліди Денис, були представники бюро КУФ у Львові п.Ліда Андрушко і бюро ФУСША Петро Мавко. З Канади і США прибуло п’ять осіб із родини Ковалюк. Всі висловили бажання, щоб у майбутньому Заболотівчани чисельніше брали участь у підготовці і в остаточному вручанні стипендій заболотівецьким дітям. Така подія повинна вкорінитися в громаді, як вияв глибокого розуміння і вдячности жертводавцям, які шануючи покійну матір зробили таке достойне діло для її улюбленого села.

День перед врученням стипендій стипендистам із фонду МК, в суботу 5 липня 2008р., в приміщені Канадського Консульства у Львові, відбулося вручання грамот і стипендій успішним кандидатам стипендистам Фонду МК-ТК. Семи-членна Комісія, яку очолює директор бюро КУФ у Львові п.Ліда Андрушко, після співбесіди з кандидатами, призначила 11-тьом успішним кандидатам стипендії у межах від $160.- до $1000.-Кан., з повної пожертви $4000.-Кан.,.. Присутні на цій святочній події, крім почесного консула Канади у Львові п.Оксани Винницької і директора бюро КУФ у Львові п.Ліди Андрушко, були: член дирекції КУФ, проф.Роман Петришин із Едмонтону і член Комісії МК-ТК Володимир Полулях. Пані Оксана Винницька привітала присутніх і передала Ліді Андрушко переведення вручання грамот і стипендій. Перебіг подій фільмував 12-ий телевізийний канал, оператор Андрій Рожанський, а бесіду вела кореспондентка Христина Процак з кількома присутніми. На другий день 12-ий канал подав цікаво зредаговані бесіди і гарний репортаж у «Вістях». Перебіг вручання грамот і стипендій відбувався зорганізовано: вручали грамоту і конверту із точно приділеною сумою у гривнях, яку кожний стипендист потвердив своїм підписом. Відомість про це, яку суму одержав кожний стипендист, потвердили підписами три присутні особи. Тоді слідували індивідуальні знимки стипендистів, спільна знимка всіх присутніх і спільна знимка стипендистів. Скромним прийняттям із солодощами, водою із соком, та іншими присмаками закінчено гарно зорганізовану і приємну подію.

На обох вище згаданих прийняттях присутні мали можливість оглянути Книгу Фото-Альбом, над якою Богдан Ковалюк, адміністратор МК і МК-ТК фондів, працював понад сім років. Він пояснив присутнім, що ця книга послужить, у першу чергу кожному, хто зацікавлений створити подібний фонд, який матиме за ціль допомогти студентам почати і закінчити вищі студії з україністики в Україні. Книга має 282 сторінок, із яких понад 200 – це знимки з подій таких як: вручання стипендій від 2002 до 2008 року, посвячення святкової дошки св.п.Меланії Денис-Ковалюк, патрона МК фонду, знимки жертводавців, ініціяторів стипендійного фонду, і тих хто допоміг завершити діло, яке спершу виглядало неможливим,через розпорошення жертводавців у США, Швеції і Канаді. Цю книгу вручено пані Ліді Денис, для вжитку студентів і жителів села Заболотівці. Також один примірник цієї книги передано до бюро КУФ у Львові.

Богдан Ковалюк, адміністратор МК і МК-ТК фондів, КУФ, Оттава. 11 серпня 2008р.

M. Kovaluk Scholarships Recipients
M. Kovaluk Scholarship Recipients 2007
M. Kovaluk Memorial Scholarship Certificate

This Fund, set up by with CUF by COSBILD, a Toronto-based Investment Club, provides three yearly scholarships to students of Ivan Franko University in Lviv.

Originally, it provided support for the Faculty of Theatrical Studies at the same university. This type of fund is again an excellent example of how a Canadian/American family or organization can, through CUF, provide very valuable, targeted assistance to selected groups or organizations in Ukraine. This Fund is also invested by CUF through the Taras Shevchenko Foundations’s very experienced and successful investment arm.

Project Liubov-Love (in short form PLL) was created in 2001 as a Western Canadian community based project to assist impoverished children and youth in Ukraine.

PLL especially assists “the poorest of the poor” in orphanages, homes for street kids, schools and school residences (“internaty”) and rehabilitation and medical centers. The age of the children ranges from newborns to 16 years. Some 25 different centres in various oblasts of Ukraine are the recipients of the assistance. PLL is affiliated with the CANADA UKRAINE FOUNDATION, INC (CUF), the premier Ukrainian Canadian agency that facilitates numerous creative projects from Canada to Ukraine.

PLL is based out of Winnipeg with a Board of eight members and is coordinated by Prof. Roman Yereniuk, a well known educator at the University of Manitoba and St. Andrew’s College. He has travelled extensively to Ukraine on educational, civil society, election monitoring and humanitarian projects. Roman has visited all of the institutions in Ukraine that receive aid and assistance from PLL.  PLL delivers much of its aid to the various institutions with parcels of clothing and footwear, educational supplies, hobby and art projects and sports equipment. In the last year, PLL has added a centre for the displaced youth and parents from south-eastern Ukraine, now living in Lviv. For the medical institutions, PLL subsidizes medicine, medical supplies and equipment in Chernivtsi, Kyiv, Uzhorod.  

ANNUAL REPORT July 1, 2013 – June 30, 2014 – Our Thirteenth Year Since Inception (2001)

Donations and Income:

  • Collected 28  lists of donations of some 308 donors (individuals, families, churches, organizations and small businesses) for a total of $31,169 (the donors included some 37 organizations and churches),
  • Received in-kind gifts (mostly gently used clothing, school, sport and hobby supplies) and valued at $1050,
  • Received 180 pieces of newly knitted scarves, mitts and hats from two donors.

Expenditures and Assistance Provided to Children and Youth inUkraine:

  • Shipped to 25 orphanages, homes for street kids, public and residential schools (“internaty”) and medical centres some 113 parcels weighing 1470 kilos
  • Shipped another 12 parcels (135 kilos) of gently used clothing and other supplies to Ukraine (all donated and sent by local community organizations),
  • Purchased some $4300 worth of clothing and $1550 worth of footwear,
  • Provided some $5100 worth of school supplies, stationery, hobby and art supplies,
  • Provided books valued at $1600 (including a major shipment of” MY ICON BOOK” published by the UWAC –National Executive),
  • Provided recreational toys and sport supplies
  • Provided for medical aid and treatments to the Chernivtsi NGO – “Podaryi Dytyni Zhyttia – Grant a Child Life” (assistance was provided for 14 children with cancer and leukemia)
  • Provided bursaries for students in Ukraine.

A special Thank you – “Podiaka “is extended to all the donors of funds as well as those that supplied donations-in-kind. A fundraiser for PLL was held in Vancouver in Oct. 2014 where the power point story of PLL was presented. We also honoured some 35 major donors from British Columbia, in the various categories, and further funds for PLL were received (this event was organized by Zennie Cherak).  A special thanks is extended to Nettie Chernitenski in Saskatoon and Zennie Cherak in Vancouver, who have accomplished major clothing collections in these two cities and sent out parcels under our auspices. Another “podiaka” is extended to the PLL Advisory Committee of nine people who have contributed greatly to the success of PLL and include: Nathan Martindale, Donna Kowalishen, Allen Hohol, Cec Kachkowski, Elaine Maksymiuk, Zennie Cherak, Victor Corroll and Karen Inskip.

Dr. Roman Yereniuk, Co-ordinator of PLL

This well-established, operated out of Winnipeg, supports a series of orphanages in Ukraine by providing needed clothing and basic supplies.

Orphans supported by Project Liubov

Liubov Orphans

Project Liubov

In July 2013, the Canada-Ukraine Foundation (CUF) was approached by 10 Ukrainian Canadian organizations to assist in raising funds within the Ukrainian Canadian community for the completion of the Ukrainian Catholic Patriarchal Sobor in Kyiv.

The Patriarchal Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ has become the ecclesiastical seat of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church in Ukraine. It is a much larger version of the Cathedral of St. Yur in Lviv, and represents a once-in-a-lifetime occasion for Canadian Ukrainians to become involved in the creation of an important holy place in Kyiv  The Cathedral was consecrated in September 2013, but it by no means complete in terms of ecclesiastical finishes of the interior. CUF, together with the 10 organizations, has raised over $130,000 to date.  It is expected that once the interior ikons, glass windows and iconostas are planned and costed, that substantial funds will need to be raised from individual donors and their families for these unique items.

Multi-award winning “Recovery Room”, directed by Adriana Luhovy, received a standing ovation at the Toronto Premiere of the feature documentary film, organized and sponsored by BCU Foundation (Buduchnist Credit Union). With over 300 in attendance, the screening was held at Old Mill Guildhall, on March 22. Among special guests was Andriy Veselovsky, Consul General of Ukraine to Toronto.

Opening welcome remarks were given by the evening’s Master of Ceremony Ivanna Baran-Purkiss, director of corporate communications BCU. She called upon Roman Medyk, chair, board of directors, BCU Foundation who outlined the work of the Foundation in support of Ukrainian Canadian projects and expressed his delight to present “Recovery Room”.

Medyk was followed by special guest Dr. Oleh Antonyshyn, head of the Canadian humanitarian medical mission to Ukraine, organized by the Canada Ukraine Foundation (CUF). Dr. Antonyshyn mentioned the contribution Adriana Luhovy’s documentary is having in telling the story. He gave an overview of the work done by CUF and its president Victor Hetmanczuk, thanking all the medical volunteers that dedicated their time on the medical missions. With many of the volunteers present at film premiere, Dr. Antonyshyn asked the medical professionals in the audience, with whom Adriana worked, to stand, acknowledged with a round of applause. Many of these volunteers were interviewed by Adriana for the documentary, while in Kyiv. Oksana Kuzyshyn, president of the League of Ukrainian Canadian Women, spoke about the upcoming Medical Mission which will be held in Odesa.

Speaking next was special guest Sylvie Monette of KPMG-Montreal, who, through a chance acquaintance and continued friendship with Luhovy, closely followed Adriana’s efforts in making the documentary. Monette, who appears in the film, travelled with Adriana to Ukraine to see first hand the Maidan, meet the soldiers, and learn about the story. She also made a surprise announcement, that Luhovy will be a recipient of a “One Woman Fearless” Award to be presented by Concordia University at the Montreal Women’s Summit, at Loyola campus on April 21. The award is for recognizing a woman living fearlessly, “using her gifts to serve or inspire others”, exemplified by her work on the documentary “Recovery Room”.

Speaking last, Baran-Purkiss called upon Luhovy, after presenting her short biography and mentioning the eleven international awards the documentary has received. Luhovy thanked all present and spoke briefly about giving back to the community; her years of volunteer work as a student with orphan children in Ukraine for Help Us Help the Children. While in New York, having worked for a human rights organization, Adriana received an invitation by CUF to join the CUF medical their mission as their photographer, which resulted in her decision to film, to ensure the story of the ongoing war, its impact and the humanitarian efforts was documented.

Luhovy shared her personal story, overcoming inner hurdles, having been emotionally affected by doing interviews, capturing stories of the wounded soldiers and being in the operating room at the Kyiv Main Military Clinical Hospital, while filming. She also shared, for the first time, how as a student she lived through the horrors at Montreal Dawson College shooting in 2006, fleeing for her life, with the shooter just above her in the College atrium. Flashbacks of both the college shooting and the emotional effect of documenting the stories of the wounded soldiers and medical personnel in Kyiv, still affect her. Adriana thanked BCU Foundation for their generous support of this film project from its early beginnings, the Shevchenko Foundation, as well as the support from many in the community without which the film could not be made. She mentioned the film was a two-and-a-half year team effort, thanking producer-editor Yurij Luhovy, producer Zorianna Hrycenko and Oksana Rozumna, script editor. In Hrycenko’s remarks, she mentioned how the documentary helps reinforce the continued efforts of Ukrainian Canadian Congress, Ukrainian World Congress (UWC), CUF, and community organizations in helping Ukraine come through a war, now in its fourth year.

During the film screening, the audience sat motionless, amid laughter and tears. After the film, Adriana Luhovy was moved by the warm and spontaneous response. Among remarks about “Recovery Room” were, “an important document that captured both facts and emotions”, and “inspirational, heartbreaking … extremely moving documentary that will ignite global interest about the war in Ukraine and Russian aggressive and its brutal tactics”.

The film was accompanied by an exhibit of over 20 of Adriana’s photographs of the CUF medical missions, brought to Toronto from Montreal by BCU Foundation. A reception followed. The evening was filmed by director Stephan Bandera and his film crew for Forum TV which will air shortly. A Ukrainian-language version of the documentary “Recovery Room” is in production. The documentary is under the patronage of UWC. A screening of “Recovery Room” will be held at Concordia University in Montreal, end of April.

The whole country remembers her face: 21-year old Olesia Zhukovska was that young volunteer medic who received a gunshot wound on Maidan on February 20, 2014 – on the most tragic day of the standoff between activists and law enforcement. She has miraculously survived, unlike dozens of other activists who died of gunshot wounds that day. While inside the ambulance she posted a goodbye message on social media saying: “I am dying”. Luckily, the girl survived.

UCMC spoke with Olesia four years after that tragic day asking her how she remembers February 20, 2014, as well as what her life turned to be like afterward, what her today’s dreams are and what she thinks about the changes in the country.

“For me, there were two Maidans: a kind, bright, and peaceful one, and a bloody and dark one…”
Olesia Zhukovska was born in Krements, Ternopil region, in western Ukraine. Her father is an animal farm worker, her mother is a nurse. She graduated from a medical college in Kremenets and started working as a nurse.
She first came to Maidan on December 4, 2013. She was staying in the tent city and in the buildings of the Trade Unions House and of the Kyiv City State Administration the protestors had seized. Olesia was a volunteer paramedic, on Maidan she was making medical shifts, bringing the medicine to those who needed it as well as consulting the patients at a medical point set up at the Kyiv city state administration. She turned 21 in January 2014.

“Olesia, 21 years old, from Kremenets, Ternopil region. She came to Maidan on December 4. She was the only girl alongside 16 guys on the bus heading to Maidan. She knew no one. Last time before that she was in Kyiv when she was an eighth-grader. She was very much indignant at the beating of students by the Berkut riot police on November 30. The first time she came for five days and was just talking to people. Throughout all that time, Olesia was traveling back and forth to Kyiv from home more than ten times. She actually lost count. She volunteered in the kitchen, on December 31 she started being a volunteer medic. The girl has a college diploma of a medical assistant. On January 19 she worked at Hrushevsky street, exactly when the situation escalated.

‘At night, on January 20, a stun grenade fell beside me, it stunned me a bit. It was the first time I got really scared,’ she says.” Kristina Berdynskykh, journalist, author of #maidaners project on the Maidan activists.   

For me, there were two Maidans: a kind, bright and peaceful one, and a bloody and dark one ..,” Olesia Zhukovska wrote on Facebook on November 17, 2014.
On Maidan she made friends and found like-minded people, she was leaving it only at times when she had to go home, mostly to get treatment, as the nights spent on Maidan resulted in her getting a cold or tonsillitis. In February 2014, Olesia went to a hospital, she checked herself out of the hospital three days before February 20.
“During her volunteering times, Olesia met many people. With a special warmth, she speaks about the ‘hell’s barrel’ near the column. It was a tent, a warm-up point. People from different regions came there – from Luhansk, Zaporizhia, Poltava, Ternopil. When the February 18 events commenced, the tent got burnt down.
Olesia got ill several times, she had tonsillitis and a cough. She was going back home to get treatment, was getting better and went back on Maidan. On February 17 she checked out of the local hospital and the next day departed to Kyiv. On February 19, she was already on Maidan, she was on shift all day and all night long until 4am. ‘I just came and I wanted to do more,’ Olesia explains.” Kristina Berdynskykh, journalist, author of #maidaners project on the Maidan activists.   

“I got this photo sent to me today for the first time. February 19, 2014. This is the medical point on Prorizna Street. The photo was taken by Mykola Vlasenko – medic at the two Maidans and medic in the combat zone.”  Olesia Zhukovska, Facebook post of February 20, 2018.

“I was holding the wounded artery with my hand”
On February 20, Olesia woke up in the morning and went to the Mykhailivsky [St. Michael’s Golden-Domed Monastery – UCMC] to pick the medicines – she wanted to take it to the medical point by the Christmas tree. On her way back from the Mykhailivsky she stopped by the Lyadski gates on Maidan as she met her friends from the “hell’s barrel”. She looked at her watch, it was 11.37. At 11.40 she got shot by a sniper.
“We did not know exactly what was going on on Instytutska street. I was the first to get wounded in that location. I did not understand what was happening. The guy standing opposite from me told me: ‘Sweetie, you got wounded.’ Then I put my head down and realized that my coat got steeped in blood from the top to the bottom in a second,” Olesia told in a commentary to UCMC.

“I did not faint for a second, there was an ambulance car standing nearby. The guys walked me to it supporting my arms. As I was walking, I was holding the traumatized artery so that the blood would not come out. I got into the ambulance and sent what I then thought to be a ‘goodbye message’ from my phone.” Today Olesia is laughing as she remembers that moment. Back then the message flew around the world, while her photo made shortly after when she was wounded and the two words on the social media were quickly picked by nearly all international media.”  

“We have to fight! It’s our country!”
After the injury Olesia was operated, she stayed at the Kyiv hospital no.17 for 11 days. Luckily, the bullet did not hit the carotid artery. On March 2 she ran away to Maidan again. “I am going to Maidan today, I can’t just be staying at hospital listening to the news, I will go to Maidan, at least for a little while! We have to fight! It’s our country!” she wrote on Facebook on March 2, 2014.   
Later, after she checked out from the hospital, she visited France as part of the mission headed by Petro Poroshenko on March 7-13. During the visit, she met the President of France François Hollande.
“Right after the injury, I went abroad, to meet the President of France François Hollande. My mission was to testify what happened on Maidan,” Olesia told UCMC.

The investigation
The investigation as to the killings on Maidan started straight away, however, it has provided no convincing results or, most importantly, sentences or actual imprisonments, even four years after those events. [Read also: “Four Years after the Maidan, How Is the Investigation Going?”] Olesia, same as other victims, was testifying. “There was an investigation. Six months after I was summoned by an investigator, then by another one. I was testifying, same as everyone else did, helped with investigative experiments. I was told that it was a Berkut policeman who had shot me and who then fled to Russia and that the weapons were destroyed. I did not even memorize his surname,” the girl said. It does not look like Olesia is into taking revenge on her abuser. She is just on to another day.

A new life
After the Maidan, she decided to seriously dedicate herself to medicine. Before the Maidan events, a graduate of a medical college, she used to work as a medical assistant in the village, but actually wanted more. In summer 2014, she entered the Bohomolets National Medical University in Kyiv and has been living in a student’s dormitory since then.
Despite the widespread information on the corrupt nature of medicine in the country and the medical education, in particular, Olesia entered the university without any problems, to study free of charge. She was accepted straight to the second year of study, as she was already in possession of a basic medical degree. It may well be that having become recognizable in the country after her injury on Maidan, it played to her credit in course of the selection, but Olesia is not aware of it. She says she has not been facing corruption in the university. “My classmates are all contract-based students [who officially pay for their studies – UCMC], the marks they get are the result of how they study,” she says.
Olesia finds studying exciting, but it is quite demanding. She is in her fifth year now, there’s one more year to go, and the compulsory internship afterward. She has little free time left, but in four years she took part in many volunteer projects. “Whenever I have spare time, I go to animal shelters, to the military hospital. With a friend of mine we also went to help weave the masking camouflage nets for the military,” she says.
Neurology and gastroenterology are the medical branches that she is most attracted to. “My dream is to become a gastroenterologist, a nutritionist,” Olesia says.
The girl got seriously keen on eating healthy and on a healthy lifestyle, over the last year she herself lost 16kg. She says she is not planning to stop there. “It was hard to get started, and it is hard to continue, it’s a big job, well, what can I do, I actually like it.”
“I love myself and I want to be a better version of myself,” she explains.

Olesia is 25 now. Every year, on February 20, journalists write her and recall the events of this day four years ago. Olesia says she is flattered that they remember her, but does not really like to give interviews.
She does not comment on the Ukrainian reforms and preferred not to say whom she plans to vote for in the upcoming elections. “Of course, there is disenchantment and sadness, but I think, everything must not happen at once. We did our internal revolution, while the aggressor state attacked us. Who could have foreseen that?” she says.
The girl considers the date of February 20 to be her second birthday, and has no regrets about anything. “I have no regrets, I regret neither coming to Maidan, nor my injury. It is an important lesson to me. When I took to Maidan, I wanted the changes in the country and in my life. It is exactly what happened.

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