Mariupoli Sõbrad @mariupolisobrad (Mariupol Friends) is an Estonian charity organization made of volunteers that help Ukrainian refugees who are fleeing through this country that borders with Russia. I had the chance to meet two participants of this important organization that is making the difference for those in need.
Eduard is an Estonian theatre actor and director. His personal story is similar to that of other young Estonians of Russian origin: born from Russian parents, his father was an officer in the Soviet army. He thinks that “today is a very important historical moment for Russians all over the globe, to show that Russian culture and people must not be associated to this horrible war.” After the war started he connected with Mariupoli Sõbrad, helping out Ukrainians arriving at the bus station in Tallinn and even accommodating some of them in his home. “I could have been just the guy watching this happen, instead I decided to demonstrate that it is possible to help Ukrainians in a true and practical way.”
Polina is a refugee herself. She arrived in Narva in May after fleeing Donetsk. She avoided filtration camps and stayed in Russia where some friends helped her. After getting to St.Petersburg she finally was able to take a bus from there and reach the Estonian border city of Narva. She immediately felt like she needed to help other Ukrainians that had to go through her same journey, and joined Mariupoli Sõbrad. Today she works a few steps away from where she arrived “Helping other people has indeed helped me a lot emotionally. It is fundamental to guarantee first aid for those who just crossed the border. And many also find relief sharing their story with someone who can relate to them, because I went through something very similar.”