The Russian-Ukrainian conflict that started in 2014 has become a grave humanitarian catastrophe the likes of which Europe hasn’t seen since the Second World War. Triggered by Russia, the war took a much more violent turn at the beginning of the invasion of Ukraine, launched on February 24, 2022.
With an estimated 5 million refugees, including 2 million children according to the United Nations Refugee Agency UNHCR, refugee integration into new society and especially access to education for young Ukrainians in host countries have become urgent concerns. How can young Ukrainians of school age quickly be integrated into society?
For the Ukrainian pianist Anna Fedorova, soloist of the Verbier Festival 2022 opening concert, it’s all about helping musically talented children even in the most challenging of times. The need to develop every child and to provide not only basic education but also to identify special abilities, to help them realize their talent, led Anna to found the Davidsbündler Music Academy even before the hostilities broke out.
The rising star of global classical music elaborates: “Many of these young musicians were forced to leave with little or nothing. We have so far helped dozens of refugees to find musical instruments, as well as housing and tuition, allowing them to continue their studies and find solace in music. The stories of how they escaped the ravages of war meant that some could not face hearing or playing music for weeks. They were tormented by feelings of guilt for those left behind, disorientated by living in a world that seemed so ‘normal,’ while all too aware that their friends and family members were still suffering in Ukraine. Through the Davidsbündler Foundation, we fund and sponsor gifted musicians who have had to flee Ukraine and have found safety and shelter in the Netherlands. The Foundation provides a safe haven as well as emotional and practical support to help rebuild lives.”
She adds: “The Foundation already supports a significant number of young talented musicians. But the high cost of teaching makes it impossible to provide music courses to everyone who wants or needs them.”
To increase the number of donations and raise the money needed to teach the children, Anna turned to blockchain and NFTs (non-fungible tokens, digital assets that represent ownership of real-world items, like drawings and music). She formed a partnership with Swiss technology company DCM (Digital Content Marketplace) to create and promote an NFT collection to raise the necessary funds.
Having reached a turning point in 2021 with record sales volumes of $24.9 billion that year, NFTs have been on the rise. Although they are best known for their speculative aspect, in 2022 other much more honorable use cases for NFTs were revealed – including one in particular, donations.
The year 2022 is indeed notable for the support the crypto community has given to the Ukrainian people. Since the beginning of the war, Ukraine has been offered considerable help and has received nearly $100 million in cryptocurrency donations. This success helps affirm that sending donations via blockchain can be a safe way to fund aid campaigns around the world.
The NFT “For Ukrainian Talents” collection created with DCM Swiss shows support to Ukrainian children by residents of various cities the world over. Currently, the collection includes 11 cities (with more to come), original audio recordings of the children for whom the funds are being raised performing music, as well as an exclusive excerpt of a recording of Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 performed by Anna Fedorova.
People who purchase these NFTs are funding musical courses for Ukrainian child refugees at Davidsbündler Music Academy in the Netherlands.
“The yearly tuition fee is €8,500. With no end of the current conflict in sight, we are raising funds to provide these young musicians with a future perspective. It is absolutely amazing that tech company DCM Swiss is now helping us to help these children, broadening the network of donors for our peaceful and musical mission. You all have my personal word that not even one penny will be spent on anything other than helping these very torn yet very talented and brave children. Please purchase an NFT and you will find exclusive pictures and recordings of these children, and also of myself, inside.”
– Anna Fedorova
Julia Zolotarenko, Co-Founder of DCM Swiss, a Ukrainian herself, commented: “DCM Swiss is proud to start this campaign globally in collaboration with brilliant Anna Fedorova to help child victims of this unforgiving conflict to continue their music studies, getting from the classical music a future opportunity.”