In Allier, a village mobilizes for the victims of the battle in Ukraine | EUROtoday

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VSIt's a bit like the guts of France which speaks to the world. Allier, a rural division within the heart of the nation, landlocked, little or poorly recognized, nonetheless reserves pure and heritage treasures. It additionally has grassroots elected officers dedicated to their territory, their inhabitants, satisfied that rurality has a job to play, and never solely within the protection of traditions.

Christophe de Contenson, 67, mayor of Couzon, 20 kilometers from Moulins, the prefecture, has a transparent imaginative and prescient of his position. “Being mayor and departmental councilor means firstly explaining, particularly to young people, the importance of otherness in personal development. And the other is his neighbor from the village but also the European, the Ukrainian,” explains the elected official on the origin of a mission to assist victims of the battle in Ukraine, which started there. simply two years in the past, on February 24, 2022.

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Build a bus

The village of 315 souls is positioned 260 kilometers south of Paris and 100 kilometers north of Clermont-Ferrand, within the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes area. A village nestled within the bocage spared by successive land consolidations, dynamic – a digital museum and a famend inn – and which desires to play its position in world occasions. “We are all citizens and, as such, we must commit ourselves and not rely solely on Paris, on people who we think are the only ones to have the competence and legitimacy,” believes Christophe de Contenson, liable for of municipal affairs since 2014.

In May 2023, he went to kyiv for 3 weeks with Félix Giraudon, a scholar at Femis – the National School of Image and Sound Professions. They introduced again a mission for a guide of 120 pictures and a documentary. Testimonies to inform the horror of battle, the every day lifetime of the inhabitants of kyiv and the artwork and tradition that assist to endure the horror.

The guide titled Resisting: artwork and tradition in instances of battle was printed on February 15. It is on the market in a number of areas within the division and area and on-line for orders from different communities or people. The proceeds from the sale can be solely dedicated to a second mission for which the mayor of Couzon returned to kyiv in November 2023: creating a bus for battle victims with the Ukrainian affiliation Art Therapy Force (ATF).

“Considerable post-traumatic shocks”

The thought got here from the statement that post-traumatic shocks because of the battle weren’t or barely handled in Ukraine. “During my trip in May, it was explained to me that Ms. Zelinsky, the president's wife, had received the promise of benefiting from European funds to create reception centers for civilians affected by the war, the military, raped women… But these centers will only be built once the fighting has stopped,” explains the mayor of Couzon, additionally departmental advisor accountable for worldwide cooperation.

READ ALSO “If the West unites, the Russian dictatorship will collapse” Also, he’s creating, with different native actors and the Ukrainian affiliation ATF, a double-decker touring bus mission together with artwork remedy workshops and session areas for specifically educated psychologists. The bus will flip in accessible areas, kind of removed from the entrance. “The post-traumatic shocks are considerable everywhere in the country, in kyiv too, if only with the constant pressure of missile alerts,” provides Christophe de Contenson.

Back in France, the mayor launched a crowdfunding marketing campaign which he hopes will complement the assets gained from gross sales of the guide. The goal is to lift the funds mandatory to buy a reform automobile and to equip it in accordance with the necessities of the Ukrainian affiliation. “Unless a community or bus company provides us with one for free,” he says with a smile.

The elected official activated his contacts in a number of cities, departments and areas. He additionally addressed firms that work with Ukraine: Auchan, Ikea, Danone… He is relying on patronage and gives, in change, to place a emblem on the bus that he hopes to rapidly be capable to drive to Kiev the place the affiliation is ready for him.

“Feel valued”

Everyone in Bourbonnais is mobilizing to activate the mission. A highschool in Moulins will provide an exhibition of some pictures taken from the guide to launch gross sales. The native press is following the journey intently. At the departmental council, the mayor of Couzon is supported by President Claude Riboulet (UDI) who named him “Mr. Ukraine” to arrange the arrival of the primary civilians pushed out by the outbreak of battle in April 2022 and welcomed in a number of municipalities of Allier. During his final journey to kyiv, in November 2023, Christophe de Contenson was joined by the prefect of the division, Pascale Trimbach, so as, particularly, to satisfy members of the French embassy.

READ ALSO “In the countryside, the experience of otherness is much more intense” The mayor expects quite a bit from this mobilization. He additionally hopes to affect the younger individuals of the division who “really feel valued by collaborating on this mission and can turn into extra open to the world and to tradition for the reason that guide clearly reveals what artwork can convey to humanity “.

In his city corridor in Couzon, late that night, the mayor completed a letter to a attainable patron. Night has lengthy since lined the stable constructing and the plush late winter meadows that border it. Across the road, the inn has closed its doorways and solely the kitchen skylight nonetheless shines, the place the workers are busy. Headlights cross the village too rapidly. After an extended day, Couzon and its inhabitants go to sleep removed from the fury of the world, however with a thought for Ukraine.