The story of volunteer Julia

I have wondered since the beginning of the war — what can I do to change this situation

I have been in Georgia since April 19th. I moved because, at some point in my life, I was involved in LGBT activism and civic projects where there were many opposition activists. I went to protests and openly expressed my position on social media.

During the first months of the war I believed there was no threat to me personally. I was not Navalny, so to speak, not a coordinator of Vesna [a liberal democratic youth movement in Russia], not a media personality after all. But still, I would wake up at night with anxiety. 

I kept thinking that the police were going to knock down my door in that moment and break into the house.

Or that a war was going to start in Russia at any moment. At some point I realised that I couldn’t go on like this. It was eating me up inside, I couldn’t do anything. 

In Tbilisi, I had acquaintances who, together with Emigration for action (EfA), had organised the space — Dom. It’s called Frame. They used to do Olympiads and debates in schools on human rights and I volunteered at these events. When I found out that the guys from EfA were providing medical aid to Ukrainian refugees, I realised that this was exactly what I wanted to join.

I have wondered since the beginning of the war — what can I do to change this situation? What can I do, apart from being open about my position on social media? 

At some point, I was told that EfA wanted to start a Twitter account and I realised that I could help with that. I offered my help, so I started volunteering in the media department. 

I want my story to be about helping the project to reach more people, to raise awareness, so that more people learn about efa and are able to donate or otherwise support the project. Also, EfA creates a sense of community, without which I would probably have struggled in Tbilisi. 

It is very important to me to have people around who share the same values, with whom I can be open. 

The house on Betlemi has become a second home for me, where I can come and always get support.

13 October 2022

Georgia, Tbilisi, St. Petersburg 7
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