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I’m Ukrainian – and I cannot keep calm

In November 2013, Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych refused to sign an association agreement between the Ukraine and the European Union. This triggered dramatic events: Ukrainians protested on the central Maidan square in Kyiv, which left more than 100 people dead and ousted him and his government in February 2014. Following an internationally criticized referendum, the Ukrainian peninsula Crimea was annexed by the Russian Federation in March. Political turmoil continued and protests in Donetsk and Luhansk regions escalated into an armed conflict between pro-Russian separatists and the Ukrainian military. Many people died. The EU and the US imposed economic sanctions on Russia. And in July, a Malaysia Airlines passenger flight was shot down over the conflict zone in Eastern Ukraine, killing all 298 people on board.

Riot – but different

We know them for their gaudy facemasks, their miniskirts, their blaring guitars and their screamed vocals: Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina. On 21 February 2012, these two women suddenly attained world renown. As activists from the feminist punk band "Pussy Riot", they demonstrated against Russia's President Vladimir Putin with their "Punk Prayer" in Moscow's Cathedral of Christ the Savior. The performance lasted just 41 seconds – their resulting prison sentence almost two years.

First Kyiv, then Ukraine

Lesya Orobets is not happy about things in Ukraine. But she plans to do something about it. At just 32, she is currently the youngest member of the Ukrainian parliament. Now she hopes to become mayor of Kyiv. If successful, she would become not just the youngest person ever to hold the position, but also the first woman.

Marguerite Barankitse and Maison Shalom: Promoting love and peace in Burundi

Marguerite Barankitse established Maison Shalom in 1993, amidst armed conflict and massacres in Burundi. She has since taken in and educated 20.000 children who lost their parents to war and AIDS, but continues to fight for lasting peace in the country, reconciliation and a better future.

Benki Piyãko: Self-empowerment and struggle against outside exploitation

The leader of an indigenous community in the Amazonian state Acre, Brazil, has decided to defend their land against outside exploitation. He seeks to increase the capacity and ability of the indigenous people to defend themselves and their rights against intruders, and teaches them land management techniques and how to preserve the rich ecosystem of the rainforest.

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