Let us introduce our self
We are a family off four, two children Ilse and myself from the Netherlands. We came to Donbass, Donetsk out of moral reasons. The media in the west is constantly demonizing Russia. The West is constantly blaming Russia for what the west is doing themselves. We were fed up with the awareness that we were paying with our tax money for the war’s which the west is waging around the globe and felt ourselves indirectly responsible for the misery brought too families just like our own.
Since we got here we have learned a lot about the problems here and one off the main problems for the people is work. Getting a decent job is difficult for people because there simply aren’t that many jobs. It tears my heart when I walk across the street and I see elderly people sitting on the pave walk with old trousers or shoes from their closet, trying to sell them in order to be able to buy some food, they aren’t begging, they try to work any way they can. This is a wide spread problem and I want to try everything within my might to help as many people as I can although I know I won’t be able to help them all.
The beginning of Project walnut
A few months ago we held a small crowdfunding which enabled us to buy walnuts from people and provide them with a small income. We bought over one ton off walnuts in total. Over the last weeks there were people from different families cracking these nuts giving them the chance to earn again some income over the walnuts they first brought in themselves. Due to this project we came into contact with a lot of people and learned a lot about the problems they run into, simple things as we would consider them in the west, like a dentist or an optician for children which the people can’t go to due to the lack of funds. What surprised me the most was once we started cracking the nuts, kids from 13-14-15 years old reported in because they wanted to help and crack the nuts voluntarily once they heard what we would pay them (words go fast here in the streets).
Once I asked a boy (14 years old) if he came because he wanted or if he had to from his mother and he answered that he did it because he wanted to do so. One day later I asked him what he was going to do with the money he earned and his answer broke my heart. He was going to give the money to his parents so that they would be able to put good food on the table. Just a regular 14 year old schoolboy, but much more serious than one would expect from someone his age.
This is why I do what I do now and after hearing his answer I knew that I made the right choice for leaving the army.
The project will contain several parts that all stand for the same goal, connecting, let the world know that we stand together for a better future.
A statement against the western governments that we will not except the war policy that is raging right now, that we will not except the exclusion of people that only want to live their lives in a normal civilized way.
Where the governments excludes, we bring together.
Memorial forest to honor the victims of the crash with the MH17
Because we are fed up with how the Dutch government threats the MH17 case, being a Dutch family in the region where the plane crashed and the awareness that a lot off fellow Dutch citizens feel the same way, not only about the MH17 but also how the western media and governments were meddling in the start off this war, we decided that we wanted to make a statement.
For each victim of the MH17 crash we will put out one small young walnut tree out for adoption, 298 in total. Together they this will form a walnut forest of 7 hectares that will be here to remember the victims for many years to come.
In the heart of this forest we will place a monument.
A forest seeded in the DNR, a way to show the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the rest of the world that the people of the DNR will not forget this tragedy and we do not except the political game that is being played over the backs of so many people.
If we could get 298 trees adopted, it would mean that we could plant 596 seeds for the future, 298 young trees as a forest and in addition we will plant another 298 near schools, hospitals and orphanages, though that wouldn’t be enough for us.
Although this project is in the first place mend to be a symbolic gesture to honor the victims off the crash with the MH17 and in the second place a statement that we don’t agree with the government from the country where we originally came from and that is the Netherlands, we also want it to be useful to the people which are affected by the war here in former Ukraine paid by the western taxpayer.
We want as much people as possible to benefit as much as possible, and it would be a waste not to use the land where the trees will be planted.
If you look at the biological aspects of a non-grafted walnut tree one will see that it takes a long time for a tree before it starts producing walnuts but there are other aspects to take into consideration as well. The tree produces an organic compound called “juglone” which affect a lot of other crops. There are crops which are “juglone resistant” and can grow near walnut trees. It is also an option to keep livestock between the trees which varies from chicken ducks and rabbits to sheep and cows, off course in those cases the trees need to be well protected.
We want to use parts of the available space in the young forest to produce food so that we can donate the yield to people here for humanitarian aid.
Several institutions, locally and internationally provide the people here with humanitarian aid which is a really good thing and I love each and every one whom does his or her share with helping the people here which are in need. We made the choice as a family to come over to Donetsk and want to do our share as well. The way we see it, there are no initiatives which combine business with humanitarian aid in Donetsk and only giving humanitarian aid brings no long term solution for the people.
Development of the region is much needed and although progress is made, it still has a very long way to go. There is a big lower class that can survive because of help from the government and help-organizations, but that is just what they do, survive.
The children from this group deserve a future, and they can have a good future, the opportunities are there and endless, if only people are willing to invest in the region.
What we want is to do is to participate in the economic development in the region and promote import and export between Russia and the DNR which would enable us to create jobs for the people here so that they can provide their families with a reasonable income. Wages need to go up here for the people because the way we see it they are simply underpaid. It can never be the case that 14 year old children should provide for their parents in order to get a decent meal.
There are so many walnut trees here in the DNR, from which the nuts are being sold for only a fraction off the Russian price. Although there are sanctions in place at this point from Russia to Ukraine, which means the nuts can’t be exported from the DNR into Russia at this point due to the fact that Russia hasn’t acknowledged the DNR officially yet, we are convinced that the walnuts here have an enormous potential in the future once the DNR gets recognized or as a processed product, which are not part of the sanctions.
This part of the project will be self-sustainable and profits will be reinvested for further creation of jobs and further humanitarian aid programs.
Students are the future
Another part of our walnut project is the sponsoring of students. Students are the future and agriculture is feeding the world. But one part of the world is poisoned because of all the chemicals in the food while another part is going hungry. Soil all over the word is being destroyed and this is going to be a major problem in the nearby future.
New insides an good understanding of the biology of plants, animals, bacteria, and fungus as well as soil is much needed. New discovery`s that change the way of how we look at our agriculture are made every year. And slowly scientist realize that the way we cultivate our land is very destructive on the long term.
Changes can still be made, but it needs scientists and farmers from all over the world to work together and truly do what is best for our planet in the long term.
Because of this we decided to sponsor students in the agriculture sector on the academic level effected by the war and therefor can`t afford their own tuition. They are the ones that can make the difference.
It will cost a lot of effort to accomplish all these goals in just one project and this is something we absolutely can’t realize on our own. It is an ambitious plan and we are fully aware that there will be setbacks and also take into account that, seen the political situation here there will be a lot of people which are afraid this can never be done because of the uncertainty off the war. We as a family believe in the people off Donbass and their right of self-determination and that there will come a time that these people can live in peace and enjoy their lives again.
For each tree to grow we need 15m x15m. So that makes 15m x 15m = 225m2 x 298 = 6,7050 hectare. We understand that €150,- per tree is a lot per person so we also provide the option to adopt a tree as a group. We also take into consideration that not everyone is willing to be identified as a participant and wants to remain anonymous. And those will be registered as “anonymous” on the plague which we will placed at the entry off the forest.
On the plaque will be engraved in, English and Russian;
This forest was planted with seeds, in memorial of the victims of the crash with the MH17 and as a seed for the future for the people of the DNR.
(followed by all the names)
Therefore we prefer personal contact with each person willing to adopt a tree and make this work. If you want to participate in this project anonymously or publicly you can donate true;
Account number: 40820810152093400654
country of establishment: Russia
Name beneficiary : Pascal Hillebrand
Address beneficiary: Bol’shaya Sadovaya Ulitsa 39
city beneficiary: Rostov, Rostovskaya oblast 344082
Country beneficiary: Russia
National bankcode: RU 046015602
Note> if you send funds true Sberbank we are not able to see who the sender is and from Europe each transaction will cost €9,- for the sender due to international transaction fees.
We don’t only want people to benefit from this initiative, we also want to deliver a message to the western public, a message which is really hard to get out because the western media isn’t bringing the news in the west in its pure form. They use every means at their disposal to make the public in the west believe that the leadership here in the DNR is run by terrorists, but the fact is that these aren’t terrorist they provide stability and security for the local population and people are happy with those in charge. Elections were held in a more democratic way than the western media makes you believe and as in Kosovo the people have the same right for self-determination even when it is not in the best interests of the western political agenda.
This project aims at taking responsibility as a human being, not necessarily as a person from a certain nationality, it doesn’t matter which color you are or which religion you have, we are all red inside.
From Donbass with Love
Pascal and Ilse