The Ukrainian House has presented a profound social project by Alexander Chekmenyov – a photo exhibition titled «The Removed» organized with the support of the NGO «House of Mercy Kiev». It is one of the few Ukrainian organizations taking care of people in desperate situations providing them with temporary housing, food, clothing and helping to recover documents.
«The people staying in our shelters are helped in a variety of ways – someone gives them money, someone shares food products, someone alots their own time,while someone provides with useful contacts», – said Alexei Kuchapin, the NGO director. – «Despite the dirty clothes and bad smell they are still the same people as you and me».
«The homeless one», «a tramp», «a parasite», «the destitute» – we are used to hanging shortcuts, looking away and avoiding the homeless, although they all have their own history which made them end up on the streets. Most of them did not choose such a life.
«Our exhibition is about people. Not about the homeless. About the people. Some of my acquaintances have died and we did not succeed to help them. I think they could be saved if there were the corresponding government initiatives. Today everything is maintained by volunteers» – stated Alexander Chekmenyov, the curator and author of the exhibition. – «I have been photographing people below the poverty line more than 25 years. Their number is growing. This is a serious problem, which is related, in particular, to the complicated situation in the state».
For two years, the photographer have made about 100 photographs, 40 of which are on display at the exhibition. Under each photo there is a short story of the depicted homeless person. Seven of them died early in the winter. According to social services, over 10,000 people in the capital have no place of residence and are forced to turn to government agencies, charities and passers-by for help. At least 20% of them are elderly or disabled. The lack of access to basic needs leads to exclusion of these people from society – from life to its sidelines.