Twenty years ago, a group of men and women built a house on Ivana Franka street in the Ukrainian town of Vynnyky. The house was created in order to help the homeless, and people with a history of substance abuse. There is room to sleep, to eat, to bathe and to work. The community calls itself ‘Oselya’, meaning home. The residents of this place call themselves the ‘Oselyata’. They refurbish furniture and collect second hand clothes that are sold in the store around the corner. Right now, around twenty men, three women and two children - one born on the premises - live in the home of Oselya. They live together in harmony, share bedrooms, work, have breakfast, lunch and dinner together. Life is simple and the rules are clear: no alcohol, no drugs, no sex, be nice to your roommate and always try your best.

This is an ongoing project, partly in collaboration with writer Lisa Weeda. It has made possible by Gemeente Utrecht, Emmaus Haarzuilens, Free Press Unlimited, Postcode Lottery Fund and Carel Nengerman Fund. ‘Oselyata’ has been exhibited at the municipal office of Utrecht (NL) and Lviv (UA) in 2018 and was part of the Naarden photography festival in 2019.

Self-published newspaper in edition of 2000. Text by Lisa Weeda and design by Lyanne Tonk.

EN [ Here at Oselya, no one will ask what you did before. It doesn’t matter who you were. If you follow the rules, if you are nice, if you want to work and stay in the community, you are welcome. ]

EN [ Life is sometimes made of basic things. Eat, take a shower, that’s easy. But if you want to change your life, really have a life-changing moment, it’s harder. ]

EN [ Some people can’t handle the people from the street. They are afraid. They think people could be sick. It is hard to explain some things to people. It is hard to see people as they are. ]