Amid the ongoing war in Ukraine, the Rinat Akhmetov Foundation has been a beacon of hope, particularly for children. The foundation recently concluded its summer session of the Blogger Camp, a two-week program designed to provide respite, psychological recovery, and creative education for children aged 8 to 14. This year, 150 children took part in the camp. To date, the project has provided professional psychological assistance and broader health support to almost 5,000 children from various parts of Ukraine.
This initiative is part of the broader project Rinat Akhmetov for Children. Peaceful Rest for Children of Ukraine, which aims to offer a sanctuary for young minds scarred by the realities of war.
A Holistic Approach to Recovery
The Blogger Camp isn’t just a recreational retreat; it’s a holistic program that combines rest, creative development, and psychological support. During the session, children engage in various activities, from making new friends to creative writing workshops, learning blogging skills, and working with psychologists. They also get a chance to explore the professional world of writing and the arts.
This year, campers were visited by Ukrainian filmmaker Yaroslav Voytseshek, one of the screenwriters of the hugely popular Mavka: The Forest Song, the highest-grossing Ukrainian production to date. Voytseshek conducted a two-day interactive master class on how to write a movie.
“It is impressive that they are rather brave,” Voytseshek said, reflecting on his interaction with the youngsters. “Adults tend to have a lot of prohibitions — you cannot think or write this or that way. But children do not have that. It is nice to observe this freedom and openness, which is inspiring.
“When I was about to finish my school, no one told me that I could even dream of becoming a cinematographer. I hope that after the master class, someone will choose to develop in cinematography, and we will get a film artist who will be glorifying Ukrainian cinema and Ukraine.”
Rinat Akhmetov: The Man Behind the Mission
The driving force behind these initiatives is Rinat Akhmetov, majority owner of Metinvest Group and Ukraine’s richest individual, with a net worth estimated at $5.7 billion.
Born and raised in Donetsk, Akhmetov has been a significant supporter of Ukraine’s war effort, both materially and morally. His companies, despite suffering heavy losses due to the Russian aggression, have donated over $165 million in goods and services, including nearly 200,000 bulletproof vests and armored shelters for the Ukrainian army and millions more in medical supplies, food, and water.
In January, Ahkmetov donated $25 million to support those affected by the defense of the port city of Mariupol. The donation came out of the fee from Ukrainian soccer star Mykhaylo Mudryk’s transfer from Akhmetov’s Shakhtar Donetsk football club to England’s Chelsea club.
Focus on the Most Vulnerable
While all of Rinat Akhmetov’s charitable work is laudable — and much needed — the Blogger Camp is a realization of the guiding mission of his foundation.
“What is my philosophy of charity?” writes Akhmetov on the foundation website. “Charity is the ability to feel somebody else’s pain. Charity is the ability to share somebody else’s pain. Charity is a systemic fight against systemic problems. Charity is orientation toward results. Charity is openness.”
In providing a creative haven for Ukrainian youth, Akhmetov is both encouraging creative expression and responsiveness to the experience of war and offering relief from the stresses that hostilities can put on children.
The Blogger Camp serves a diverse group of tots, including those who were deported to Russia and returned to Ukraine, those who lost their parents due to the war, and children from foster families and orphanages. The retreat also welcomes little ones living in front-line areas and those who have suffered directly from the Russian invasion.
Rinat Akhmetov’s commitment to his homeland is unwavering. “I am in Ukraine and I am not going to leave the country. I share the same feelings with all Ukrainians: I am sincerely waiting for the victory of Ukraine in this war,” he stated.
His foundation’s work, including the Blogger Camp and a wide variety of other initiatives, is a testament to this commitment. It offers not just temporary relief but aims to instill a sense of normalcy and hope in children who have been through unimaginable hardships. The foundation seeks to furnish them with the tools they need to cope, heal, and dream again.
Akhmetov plans to continue the camp as long as the children of Ukraine are in need.