Tina Polek


Documenting Ukraine Grants

I Am Here and You Are Gone: The stories of Transition to Adulthood in the Times of War in Ukraine

Currently, a whole generation of young people in Ukraine is growing up in conditions of war: some have remained in the country, and some have left for safer places, but everyone has been profoundly affected. How is this generation of Ukrainians, for whom the end of school coincided with the beginning of the full-scale invasion, growing up? And what exactly will they bring with them into adulthood? To more fully capture the views of young Ukrainians in wartime, we  intend to immerse ourselves in the lives of two young people who are friends, one of whom stayed in Ukraine while the other left for North America. In so doing, we will present portraits of people who had fundamental common values but were then set on disparate paths by unforeseen circumstances. Will their beliefs remain constant? Will they be equally affected by the war? In this project, we want to bring to light the realities of young Ukrainians particularly because their experiences are not only about trauma, but also about their own journey to independence in a new context. It is important to understand what becomes their source of strength along the way, and what it actually means to grow up in times of war.

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