Filmmaker Ai Weiwei presented the premier of his documentary “Human Flow,” to an audience in Kyiv this week.
The documentary, filmed in 23 countries, depicts the story of families forced to flee their homes.
There are estimated to be 68.6 million refugees in the world. Half are children. Most of them come from Turkey, Syria, Afghanistan, South Sudan, Myanmar and Somali. Ukraine is a country where some of them settle, Head of the State Migration Service Maksym Sokoliuk said.
“As of today there are approximately seven thousand refugees in Ukraine. Only 2,400 of them are officially recognized as refugees. About 700 of them are under the protection program. And about another four thousand people are still in different stages of this process,” he said.
One of them is Ilyana Almasoud. She fled the conflict in Syria and traveled to Ukraine’s eastern town of Makiivka where she was living until the start of Russia’s undeclared war in Donbas.
Then, the hostilities there caused her to move to Kyiv. Since coming to Kyiv, Almasoud has opened her own language school. She recalls how the people she met helped her overcome tough situations.
“In such situations it’s crucially important to not only feed people or give them some water,” she said. “It is vital to give people the feeling of belonging. I ended up in a new city and people didn’t see me as a refugee from Syria or Donbas. They saw me as a person with potential, talent and a soul. This gave me a lot of strength to start settling my life.”
“Human Flow” premiered in Ukraine on the World Refugee Day, June 20th, as a reminder off the ordeal of the millions of human beings searching for home.
Photos by Yunus Erdogdu