Cute comic characters Savka and Baklan are teaching Ukrainian kids about safety rules around mines
Each year, ammunition takes away the lives of civilians, especially children who do not yet understand the dangers of the war time. Since the beginning of the conflict in the Donbass area more than 40 children have died because of the mines and stretch marks. According to the evaluation of the ATO’s mine action team, in order to clear the Donbass of mines the specialists will need at least 10-15 years. And this is provided that the conflict and mining of the areas near the contact line will stop right now. That is, minefields and stretch marks on the paths in the “gray zone” are a severe problem for several generations of children in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions.
Kids are kids and they play wherever they want without heeding their parents’ warnings. How can we make them pay attention? A simple yet brilliant answer was given by the painter Sasha Komiahov: we have make them interested! In June a group of Ukrainian volunteers headed by Lukian Turetskiy prepared and presented an unusual comic book “Savka and Baklan – A Mine-studded Stroll” to junior children from the front-line territories in the East of Ukraine. It tells children about adventures of two friends – a little fox called Savka and an egg-plant Baklan.
The painter’s task was rather delicate: to tell clearly about the danger of mines and at the same time not to frighten the target audience, among which there are small children. That’s why one of the characters who suffered from the mine is depicted not as a man, but as an eggplant. “It’s for these reasons that I decided to make the victim character a vegetable – so that there would not be red blood, because it seemed problematic to show the danger without injury”, says the painter, “In my opinion, it turned out to be an interesting world where vegetables and fruits live and act together with animals and people, which reveals their characters better”.
This is not just a comic book with an instructive story, but also a kind of safety manual with the rules of how children need to behave in dangerous situations. All the ammunition items have been painted in great detail so that children could easily recognize them in real life. There’s even a whole page where a sapper tells you what mines and grenades look like and what to do with these explosive objects.
The publication was made at the expense of sponsors and freely distributed by volunteers and representatives of the Civil-Military Cooperation of the Armed Forces of Ukraine among children living in the ATO zone.
The publishers review all proposals to promote the production and distribution of additional comic strips. The urgency and the need for such a publication will not cease for a long time. For distribution, please email NGO Prometheus at firstname.lastname@example.org