Livyj Bereh – A photo series

Last Friday marked the one-year anniversary of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine. The most recent data from the United Nations Human Rights Office (OHCHR) has revealed that since the Russian invasion on February 24th of last year, a minimum of 8,000 civilians have been confirmed dead, with nearly 13,300 sustaining injuries. OHCHR personnel have reiterated on multiple occasions though, that the actual number is most likely significantly higher. 

Besides the suffering, terror and pain, Ukrainians have stepped up to support each other, be that by volunteering, collecting donations, raising awareness or documenting the horrible crimes of war. On the 24th of February this year, the Ukrainian volunteer-group Livyj Bereh has taken over KALTBLUT’s Instagram, showing us photos and videos from their extensive work.

1. Houses

Livyj Bereh has been providing help from the very beginning of the full-scale invasion. The group is based in Kyiv and initially began their work on the left bank of the Dnipro River. That’s also where the name of the organisation (Лівий берег/Left bank) came from.

Many houses were destroyed due to the war and people were left without homes. Naturally, one of Livyj Bereh’s main focuses became rebuilding houses in different areas.

In May 2022, the group began to restore the roofs of houses in the Chernihiv and Kyiv regions, as well as repair schools in the affected villages so that children could continue their studies. They restored a roof at a school in the Kyiv region, as well as repair work at a school in the Chernihiv region.

In November 2022, they started roof restoration work in the Kharkiv region. The northern part of the region, which is near the border, was heavily affected by the Russian invasion. More than 80 houses have already had their roofs restored in various villages of the region. The 900 m2 roof of a 16-story apartment building and the 600 m2 roof of a clinic were also restored. Their work in the Kharkiv region is far from done though and continues despite the risk of shelling.

Thanks to the financial support of various benefactors, Livyj Bereh have been able to help many people. “We are immensely grateful to every one who has donated to Livyj Bereh“, they said. Special Thanks go to Pink Floyd, Ukraine TrustChain, STELP supporter on site, Patrique Monique and Optimus Gang.

2. Military

Another direction is immediate assistance to the military. Livyj Bereh organises and delivers vehicles, drones, uniforms, food supplies and ammunition to different regions of Ukraine where shelling and hostilities are taking place.

Over the period from May to December, the group bought, repaired, and handed over 25 cars – including a bus – for the military in different regions of Ukraine. Two of these cars were bought with the own funds of Livyj Bereh’s volunteers.

Huge gratitude to our German friends Fabian Knecht, the Schütte family and our friend from Ukraine Kadyrova Zhanna, who strongly support Ukrainian defenders from the very front of the full-scale invasion. And, of course, thanks to all donators for all the financial support.

3. Art exhibition turned into a home

An Art Exhibition turned into a new house for a large family in the Kyiv region.
In September 2022, Livyj Bereh made an exhibition as part of the Theater of Hopes and Expectations in Düsseldorf, Germany. Livyj Bereh created an installation of found architectural elements from buildings destroyed during the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine, including parts of window decorations of a house that was damaged during shelling and later restored. The roof of the exhibition also featured traditional folk art items and photos of villages affected by the
war. Livyj Bereh has also presented their re-roofing activity, thus showing not only destruction but also restoration.

The artists’ fee of €4500 received for the exhibition was used for purchasing a car for the military. After the exhibition program was over, the idea emerged of using the structure installation and transferring it to Ukraine as part of the completion of a project to build a house for people whose own home was destroyed by Russian bombing and shelling.

Later, the pavilion was disassembled and brought from Germany to Ukraine on the big track. Livyj Bereh and the Theater of Hopes and Expectations began to build a house for a large family in Слобода Кухарська/Sloboda Kucharska village in the Kyiv region. This family consists of grandmother Olena, daughter Inna and three small grandchildren. The girls’ father serves in the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Theater of Hopes and Expectations also finances the construction and purchase of other necessary materials.

Livyj Bereh: “Thanks to MNPL Workshop for the house design plan. Thanks to everyone for their support. Construction of a new house is currently in progress.”

Livyj Bereh is continuing with their volunteering work, rebuilding and restoring houses and providing aid to the military. If you want to support the group, you can do so here.

All photos were provided by Livyj Bereh.

Do you want to read similar interviews and find out more about some incredible artists, activists and volunteers? Have a look at the interviews below, or read our 19th Digital Issue “Fighters”.