Video: Visit this state-of-the-art bus to learn about the Ukrainian famine that killed millions

Holodomor mobile classroom is in Lively from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday and Friday

That can change though. And quickly, if you can make the time for a trip to the Anderson Farm Museum in Lively. The Holodomor National Awareness Tour and its state-of-the-art mobile classroom has arrived and will remain at the farm until late Friday afternoon.

The tour is a project to raise awareness of the Holodomor, a man-made famine in the Soviet Ukraine that resulted in the deaths of millions of Ukrainian people between 1932 and 1933.

During the school year, classrooms participate in a 60-minute lesson aboard the fully customized 40-foot RV, but during the summer months, it acts as a mobile theatre that has reached Canadians coast to coast. To date, it has visited more than 200 schools.

“Holodomor” is a Ukrainian word that translates as “murder by starvation”. Fifteen countries have recognized the famine as an attempted genocide by Soviet dictator Joseph to eliminate Ukrainian aspirations for independence.

Genocide or not, the Ukrainian famine was a result of the collectivization of agriculture in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) and the setting of exorbitant grain quotas (including seed grain for planting) that were taken by force.

While the memory of this event is painful to many Ukrainians, those people of Ukrainian descent who have visited the tour have thanked the teachers for educating Canadians and for encouraging everyone to reflect and consider how such a tragedy could have ever occurred.

Exhibit manager Kevin Viaene explained that the classroom’s mobility has helped to bring the history of Holodomor to thousands of students. Many of whom, including Viaene himself when he was a young student, had no idea the famine had even occurred.

“I was litle bit shocked to see that such a large scale tragedy was something that I was unaware of, and something that wasn’t a major part of the curriculum in schools,” Viaene said. That motivated him to act, and he’s been working with the tour for three years now.

“It’s important to understand what went into it in order to see the signs of it, understand it and be able to prevent it from happening in the future.”

Data from the Canada-Ukraine Foundation Project has it that Ukrainians were dying at the rate of 28,000 per day in June 1933. The tour’s press release states that it has been estimated that more four million Ukrainians died in the famine.

Anyone who is interested in learning more about the Holodomor is welcome to visit the Holodomor National Awareness Tour at Anderson Farm Museum from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The tour moves on after Aug. 24. The tour continues to Windsor next week.