I have worked in the art industry for many years, I have been working with children for many years, and I understand how important it is for us to think about what kind of future is waiting for our children tomorrow.

Today we have an ongoing war. It is a cruel, relentless war, but we, adults, must do everything to ensure that our children live in a happy, beautiful country.

We have a fantastic Black Sea Games festival in the Kherson region. Every year, thousands of children come to the sunny Kherson region to demonstrate their creativity and to communicate with other children. And we dream that literally next year this festival will be back again. We are optimistic. Today, the whirlwind of war has scattered our children all over the world. Today they are in Austria, Germany, Bulgaria, Portugal, everywhere. And they are the ambassadors of the cultural diplomacy that is working today and speak about Ukraine. We tell the world who we are. Now we will not be mixed up with russia.

A few moments were significant for me personally, and they gave me confidence in my thoughts and conversations. The war started. For the first three days, we spent the night with my family in the basement, and my youngest granddaughter, who is three years old, came up and said, “Glory to Ukraine!” At that moment, when it was terrifying, when we did not understand what was happening, everything was thundering, the orcs captured us at once, and we were in the rear. I realized that we could not be defeated because our children are different. For their sake, we will not allow this to happen. This is the first sign. And then, at the end of May, the orcs tried to organize a holiday for children in Kherson, to shoot a picture for russian television, to show that everything was beautiful, that children were walking in the park there… And so they handed out the crayon, and the children began to draw the coat of arms of Ukraine, our flags, and write “Glory to Ukraine, Glory to the Armed Forces of Ukraine” on the asphalt. The idea of making such a picture didn’t work out. Just a week passed. It’s Children’s Day. Again, the picture. And now, they give out crayons to children again, but they take away the yellow color. But our children began to draw the Ukrainian flag in other colors, painted with watercolors, crossed out, and wrote “no to war, glory to the Armed Forces” – again, the picture did not work out. And this resistance of our children gives me confidence that we will be fine, overcome everything, and rebuild Ukraine. Our children are incredible, so we have to do everything today to make sure that they continue to be like that, build our country, and write new songs.

I personally know many children from Kherson who are in Kyiv and Lviv today. You see, it’s horrifying, I’ll tell you. There is such an example. My employees are here in Kyiv. They left Kherson about two months ago. That is, they had been under occupation for four months, and they were just leaving during that terrible period when there was a queue, and they came under fire. So, the child has been here for two months, and he hides from any sounds. The mother understands what is happening but can’t find a way to adjust to it. And there are a lot of such cases. Today, a lot needs to be done to protect children. And by the way, art is also art therapy, I know this for sure, and I understand how much it is needed today. Song, art, and keeping children busy are simply necessary today.

And we appeal to all people who care. Let’s support our future and our children together. This is very important today, despite the war.

On September 25, For Children for the Future telethon will stream live on M1 TV Channel and the media partners platforms as a part of the United News telethon (ICTV, Pershyi, Inter, Rada TV, 1+1). This telethon is an initiative of the All-Ukrainian Charitable Tavria Foundation initiative, founded in 1998 by Mykola Bahraiev.

For 23 years, the All-Ukrainian Charitable Tavria Foundation has been supporting children’s creativity. The most famous project of the foundation is the All-Ukrainian Charity Children’s Festival “Black Sea Games,” which has been held 18 times in Skadovsk, Kherson region.