Volha Shukaila

(Photojournalist from Belarus, JiR in 2021)


“I never thought that one day I would leave my home for a month, but that month will continue for more than 4, and even more after that. I don’t know when I can go back to Belarus safely. When you lose your job, family and friends, your city, and your country, it is very important to feel supported. ECPMF’s Journalists-in-Residence programme helped me to collect my thoughts, feel safe, rest, and prepare my next steps towards the unknown. In the beginning I was scared to go to an unknown city in an unknown country with an unknown language and, what is more important, so far from my home. But the week before it started I couldn’t wait. I was so tired because of all the moving and thinking about where I will live for the next week and so on. My stay in Leipzig was very comfortable and quiet. I never knew before that that kind of stay was possible. Sometimes I felt like a princess. I’m very happy that I met new, interesting people and learned new things during the programme. The pressure for independent journalists in Belarus is so high, many of my colleagues can’t work any more because of the political situation and for safety reasons. Especially if they are photojournalists like me. It is a sad situation, but now I know how to help them – share the link for the programme.
Solidarity is power!”