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Kostya, Nika and Makariy, "Birdhouse" eco-space

Kostya: “I come from Kryvyi Rih. In 2008, when the crisis hit, I left Ukraine for seven years. For three years, I lived in Czechia, then in Portugal, and for another three years in St. Petersburg. I enjoyed hitchhiking and working as a chef at various ethnic festivals. That is where I met Lera — at the Obyrok village art festival. Two months later, together, we made a cafe at Gogolfest and realized that we are great partners for each other. We cooperate perfectly and build a powerful force together. Thereupon Veronica had dreamed of treehouses, and three months later, we opened our first "Skvorechnyk” [Birdhouse — ed.]. This season is already a jubilee for us — "Skvorechnyk" is five years old, and our whole life is associated with this space.”

Veronica: “I was born in Kyiv and graduated from the Theatre, Cinema and Television University. I did not have time to work within my specialty, as I was lucky enough to show my first film at the festival, where I met Kostya. It is difficult for me to develop a better scenario than our lives now. Instead of a film, I created an urban eco-space. During the first year, we existed in Pushkin Park, then for two years on Trukhaniv Island, but every autumn, we had to dismantle the houses completely, store them all winter and start from scratch the next year. It consumed a lot of resources and did not allow us to develop further because we had to keep in mind that all had to be dismantled in four months. Finally, in Hydropark, we were able to conclude a three-year agreement with the manager, and it gives us the right to lease this land for three years.”

Kostya: “We create a place where we feel comfortable in the first place, and this attracts similar people. We do not go to malls and circuses in our free time. Everything close to us is reflected here. We have three areas to interact with: nutrition, sports, and leisure. We also plan on opening a coworking space.”

Firstly and mainly, we care about ecological communication. We do not drink alcohol, we do not smoke, and we do not discuss religious and political beliefs. We support mutual respect, tolerance, and love. It is what unites people.

Veronica: “When people live in the city, they are under constant stress due to work and noise, we forget about our needs, feel merely healthy. Here we are trying to make the planet and ourselves cleaner. So that people have a place to exhale and relax without poisoning themselves and the environment. There is no need to drive 30 kilometers from the city. We are here — in its heart.”

Kostya: “Because creating a good place is half the battle. Veronica and I care about the transformation process in general. We could just be growing vegetables, but that's selfish. We wanted it to be excellent and pleasant, not only for us. We have two hectares of land, and we are operating. We feel that people are waiting for us at the beginning of every warm season, and it is impossible to quit. We can have 300 people dancing, relaxing to electronic music, and everyone is sober. We recycle garbage, cook from healthy and nutritious products, do yoga. When many more grains appear from one grain, it brings changes.

It is our motivation — to be a source of change. I then understand that my life has a purpose, and I see the result.

In my 20s, I've spent years trying to understand how this world works. I've gained experience, and now I am implementing it. I am Ukrainian and consciously returned to Ukraine. No matter how beautiful the oughter world is, human flaws have no borders and geography. There is the same shit in every corner of the world. The difference is that here I understand the context because this is my culture. And I will not understand it abroad. Or I have to spend ten years of my life trying to understand it. In the last five years, during the crisis and the ongoing war, our civil society has grown more than in the past 25 years. It seems that we are now creating a new identity and cultural awareness.

Veronica: “The more I travel, the more I understand how much I love Kyiv. People have a thirst for change. There is still much to be done. There is room for action. We have fantastic youth hungry for change.

After the Revolution of Dignity, people in Ukraine felt that they could change something independently. It is important to feel involved.

At Skvorechnyk, we want to gradually develop a more structured urban eco-space filled with various activity zones. Moreover, we want to expand this format to different Ukrainian cities so that every town has such an oasis in the city center — an alternative way to relax in nature.

Kostya, Nika and little Makariy, founders of the "Birdhouse" eco-space.


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