The Young Activist-Led Repair Raves Helping To Rebuild Ukraine  - Men's Health Magazine Australia

The Young Activist-Led Repair Raves Helping To Rebuild Ukraine 

After suffering more than 250 days of airstrikes and attacks from Russian forces, these young activists are holding “repair raves” to bring joy to the massive clean-up effort facing Ukraine.

It’s hard to believe that 250 days have transpired since Russian forces first launched their attack on Ukraine. The news was one that sent shockwaves around the world, with global audiences watching in stunned silence as Russia launched airstrikes and sent troops into Ukraine, with the intuition of gaining occupancy. Instead, they were met with resistance and national pride on the part of Ukrainians, something that has carried those in Ukraine through months of hardship, united in their firm resolve of resistance. 

While the destruction brought to Ukraine is impossible to quantify or articulate, the massive clean-up efforts now underway aren’t a scene of desperation or suffering, but rather one of joy. And it’s largely thanks to the efforts of a group of young activists, who have organised “repair raves” to attract young people to help. 

As The Conversation reports, over 100,000 Ukrainian houses have been destroyed, along with over 700 key cultural facilities and 20 youth centres that are now unrecognisable in their ruin. These spaces, that once held dance raves for 20-somethings and youths, may be a mere shadow of what they once were, but it hasn’t stopped the people of Ukraine from returning to their roots, as they repair infrastructure and clear rubble while dancing to their favourite tunes. 

The group, known as Repair Together, bring a sense of joy, humour and friendship to the massive efforts now facing Ukraine. The “repair raves” are attracting countless people to the movement as the community becomes a much-needed source of labour. And it’s a good thing, too, as the swift approach of winter makes the need for adequate housing an urgent priority. 

According to one of the movement’s organisers, Marina Grebinna, these repair raves have grown from 50 volunteers at the first event in Yahidne in July 2022, to hundreds who have travelled from as far as the USA. While they were cautious about planning raves in places where people had died, Grebinna explained, “It was a good way to involve a lot of people, and we really wanted to make volunteering seem like a lifestyle choice…Now, after three months of work on this project, we see a lot of familiar faces. A lot of people do it on a regular basis now.”

While the idea of people raving might seem incongruous with the brutality and devastation of war, the movement is an opportunity to bring people together, to share and hear stories from one another, and to return to something they can enjoy, something that brings a sense of normality and “home” to their lives that have otherwise been upended by conflict. At these raves, volunteers find human connection amidst the widespread suffering, and it has helped to bolster their resolve in the face of great tragedy. 

By Jessica Campbell

Jess is a storyteller committed to sharing the human stories that lie at the heart of sport.

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