Living in Eastern European border areas

January 2006 -

zonaThe satellite TV beamed into the homes of the Ukrainian village Karpackie, located ten kilometres from the border with the European Union, may depict scenes of Western affluence, but here in Karpackie there are no jobs, and the only way to earn money is to move to a large town or city or else go and live somewhere in the EU. These words are by Jan Brykczyński from Poland and are taken from the caption to one of the atmospheric photos that grace his report. He is one of the participants in Zona, a project initiated by the European Cultural Foundation. As part of this project, young journalists investigate how the accession of the ten new member states to the EU in 2004 has affected the daily life of those people living close to the EU border in the Baltic states and in countries such as Poland, Belorussia, the Ukraine and Moldavia.

The project’s aims are to give young journalists the chance to blossom and to stimulate debate between young people about the borders in Europe and the flows of migrating people. Twenty journalists were selected by a jury and were given six weeks to produce their news reports. The different text, photo and video reports have been used to create a travelling exhibition that began its journey in October in Cracow, from where it will move on to other countries.

To this end, the written reports were translated and recorded onto CD, so that visitors to the exhibition could hear the stories in their own language. The report by Jan Brykczyński shares exhibition space with a written contribution by Małgorzata Olszewska, in which the author interviews people who moved from Kazakhstan and Kirghizistan to Poland in order to start a new life there.