#FundReise Day 7 – The Invitation

10.12.2022 | cb — No comments

Electricity and heating may not work, but Sibylle continues her mission. Today she is visiting Gay Alliance Ukraine, one of the oldest LGBTIQ* organisations in the country. We have known them for many years now. But the war has changed everything.

This is the blog of Sibylle von Tiedemann, co-founder of Munich Kyiv Queer. She no longer wanted to just watch what’s happening in Ukraine and travelled there. In Munich’s twin city Kyiv, she visits our friends and partners, writes this blog and collects donations.

Energy: 16 out of 24 hours
Temperature: minus 1 degree, inside 19 (I am lucky with my flat)
Donations: 4318,67 out of 18.000 Euro
Special occurences: Akwardness turns into familiarity
All Blog posts: Sibylles trip to Ukraine in the midst of war

“I just work through the tasks that come up”, Anna Leonova answers when I ask her where she gets the strength from. Anna has been leading Gay Alliance Ukraine for several years now. It is one of the largest LGBTIQ* organisations in the country.

In January, she and her partner Olena Hanich, a manager of Gay Alliance Ukraine, too, decided to stay in Ukraine in any case – despite warnings from foreign diplomats. This is brave, but also dangerous, because the two are not only threatened as Ukrainians, but also and especially as lesbians. Openly lesbian women are not really popular in Russia.

Handing over hand baked biscuits, powerbanks and hot-water bottles to Gay Alliance Ukraine. Anna Leonova (l.) and Olena Hanich (r.) seem happy. Photo: Sibylle von Tiedemann

Anna and Olena explain me how they experienced the first hours of the war. One of them already knew, when the other was still drinking her morning coffee in “peace”. They remember how they re-organised Gay Alliance Ukraine’s office, which is close to the centre and therefore better protected.

Protective measures for a nuclear strike

They explain to me how some fled and others stayed – individual decisions they do not want to comment on. They say, for a while, there were only elderly people left in Kyiv, who no longer received a pension due to the war and had to look for food. And they report how they both took protective measures against a potential nuclear attack in their own bathroom.

This is when I remember how I checked Facebook’s messenger from Munich, how I followed all the posts.

Khreshchatyk Boulevard on March 5, totally empty. Photo: Anna Leonova

We sit together for a long time, almost three hours, and the old familiarity returns. I’ve known them for so many years, they lived with me when they visited Munich … the war has changed them. You can feel it.

It’s the same with the people as with the city, I think to myself. Kyiv has somehow acquired a “war personality”, something unfamiliar to me. And at the same time, the city partly looks like before.

Kyiv at war. I pose in front of an exhibition of Russian tanks nearby Monastery St. Michael. Photo: Sibylle von Tiedemann

We talk about the war, history, Germans, Ukrainians, Russians. And about Zelensky. He wasn’t really popular before the war and now he’s exactly the right person in this situation.

But let’s get back to Gay Alliance Ukraine, whose tasks have changed a lot since the war began. The organisation receives many requests for psychological and/or humanitarian help every day, all of which are checked and answered. And so I am immediately led to the supply room, where food is stacked on shelves.

The Gay Alliance Ukraine has put together packages of products that last about two weeks – if you have your own supplies – and costs the equivalent of 25 euros. “You can cook a lunch with tuna and noodles,” Anna explains. “Oatmeal and milk make a breakfast,” she adds.

25 euros per package is not much

I can’t help myself and start calculating right away: If this blog post brings 1,000 euros in donations, the Gay Alliance Ukraine could support 40 LGBTIQ* for two weeks. Wouldn’t it be nice?! Donate here

You can find everything in the shops, but it is very expensive and of poor quality, Anna and Olena say. They buy food in Poland, in the border towns of Przemysl and Chelm.

Prices increase. Photo: Sibylle von Tiedemann

Gay Alliance Ukraine is based in Kyiv, but is also active in Odesa and Vinnytsia. A big problem is the loss of members. On 24 February, they still had 500 members, now there are only 200 left. Also, the large number of volunteers who were the heart of the organisation are now gone.

“I have lost my Gay Alliance Ukraine. What we built up for years no longer exists,” Anna says sadly. But she continues to talk right away. They moved into this new, much bigger office only a month ago. The are renovating it, want to build a Queer Home again.

We are invited

Queer Homes were the kind of cultural and communication centres that Gay Alliance Ukraine operated in many cities in Ukraine before the war. Munich Kyiv Queer supported them financially for years with the help of a sponsorship programme.

And so, at the end, they lead me into the big room with a stage.

Anna Leonova and Olena Ganich invite Munich Kyiv Queer to come to Kyiv. Photo: Sibylle von Tiedemann

“We invite Munich Kyiv Queer to visit us when the war is over,” Anna and Olena say confidently.

“Champagne is on us,” I reply.

#FundReise #MunichKyivLove #18.000 Euro

Sibylle collects money for

Individual help

Munich Kyiv Queer has its own fundraising campaign via to support people in Ukraine with whom we have worked closely over the past ten years. Keyword: #FundReise. They are our friends and partners. We know them personally and we miss them. We can help fast, directly and unbureaucratically.

Help for War Victims

The association “Bridge to Kiev” supports people in need, especially children and large families.

Recipient: Brücke nach Kiew e.V.
Bank: Raiffeisenbank München Süd eG
IBAN: DE74 7016 9466 0000 0199 50
Keyword: #FundReise

A donation receipt can be issued for donations of 200 euros and more.

Help for LGBTIQ* organisations

To support LGBTIQ* in Ukraine we have helped set up the Alliance Queer Emergency Aid Ukraine, in which around 40 German LGBTIQ* Human Rights organisations are involved. All these groups have access to very different Human Rights organisations in Ukraine and use funds for urgently needed care or evacuation of queer people. Every donation helps and is used 100 percent to benefit queer people in Ukraine. Donate here


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