Volunteers Organize 'Clean Up Raves' in Ukrainian Village of Yahidne

John Cameron

Volunteers Organize 'Clean Up Raves' in Ukrainian Village of Yahidne

In the five months since Russia began its invasion of Ukraine, inhabitants of the latter country have found little cause for merriment. One volunteer organization called Repair Together has devised a way to lighten the mood while making an impact: “clean up rave” events in the northern village of Yahidne.

DJs at these gatherings play techno and house tracks while volunteers chop wood or haul damaged furniture from bombed-out buildings, taking occasional breaks to dance. A recent event focused on cleaning up the village’s House of Culture, but AP News reports that Repair Together’s previous efforts saw them help renovate 15 damaged homes in the village.

“They already repaired our windows, doors, and entrances,” local resident Nina told AP News. “We couldn’t do it ourselves with our salaries or pensions. I’m thankful that they helped us.”

Among the DJs who performed at the House of Culture repair event were Recid and Oleksandr Buchinskiy. “These are all young people that still have a passion for life, but they feel pain and are very sad and angry because of the war,” Buchinskiy told AP News. “But they feel a need to take part in this historical moment, and help people, and make Ukraine a better place with a smile on their faces.”

The lion’s share of the 200 volunteers hail from Ukraine — mostly its capital, Kyiv, but also the western city Lviv and nearby Chernihiv. Other volunteers came from the U.S., Portugal, Germany, and other foreign countries.

Bitter conflict has ensued on Ukrainian soil since Russian President Vladimir Putin recognized two self-proclaimed separatist states in Ukraine’s Donbas region and sent in troops beginning on February 24. U.S. defense officials believe Russia is suffering hundreds of casualties per day, with totals estimated around 15,000 dead and 45,000 wounded, according to Reuters. In June, the New York Times reported that Kyiv officials said around 100-200 Ukrainians were being killed each day, amounting to roughly 22,000 dead.

“Volunteering is my lifestyle now,” said one of Repair Together’s organizers, Tania Burianova. “I like electronic music and I used to party. But now it’s wartime and we want to help, and we’re doing it with music.”

Repair Together plans to hold similar clean-up raves in the nearby town of Lukashivka, where they will build 12 houses for people whose homes have been destroyed. Donate to the organization here.