Oksana Olynyik

Participants Facilitators and Experts

Oksana moved from Kyiv to a small village in Poltava Region, Ukraine, four years ago. She and her husband Orest have the idea that in the future people will choose to live in the villages, surrounded by the fields, woods and rivers. At the same time, they will live in comfort using the newest technologies in socially and culturally active communities. It is this type of community they want to build.

From the very first days in Khrystanivka, Oksana started to interact with community members, spending a lot of time with children and teenagers. Following the interest of her young son, she talked with everybody in the village. Oksana helped get winter clothes for kids in the village via fb post, made a call to take care of the old primary school transforming the community event into a one-day festival, inviting famous writers, architects and volunteers. She organized two strategic planning sessions for the village, inviting professional facilitators to start a conversation about the vision of the future of this village. For now, Oksana and Orest run the local shop where the open library is located. Along with their friends, they founded the Living Village NGO to gain external financial resources for the development of Khrystanivka.

About my project

About 100 people live in the picturesque and remote village of Khrystanivka. Most of them are retired, some of them work on the local farm and some of them commute to the closest town, Lokhvystia (12 km). In this community, everybody knows each other by name and says “Hello” to each other. However, the local architecture monument has been abandoned; the “House of Culture” leaks and invites guests mostly for funerals. The community does not have any public meetings to discuss common spaces and relies on the authorities to fix local problems. The project “Stories of Hrystanivka” is intended to make this community stronger. Our plan is to start scanning old family pictures provided by the inhabitants of the village. The next step will be a public discussion about the people and situations pictured. We believe that regular public meetings about the family stories connected to this village will make people closer to each other. To share fears, old aches and dreams. We will record the stories and start a small newspaper to make the stories touchable and easy to remember. Local youth will try out the roles of journalists and photographers. We will also conduct in-depth interviews to make some stories more detailed and multi-dimensional. The graphic design developed in this project will provide another element that unites people – the common style and logo. In one year, we will make a street festival to present the results of the project that we call Stories of Hrystanivka Museum. It will be a good base for the real museum and the web page in the near future. We believe it will boost the development of the village, because the community will be united and will have a good reason to be proud of living here. The information campaign about the project will bring the first tourists to the village and will stimulate the development of small businesses to provide good services for the guests.