In February 2023, a reporting press conference of the NGO "Community Self-Help" was held on the results of the 10-month response to the war against Ukraine: achievements, crisis interventions and building a network of international trust and support. Michael Redigan is one of the participants of the press conference, the head of the communication department of the NGO "Community Self-Help", which is actively involved in the fight against Russian propaganda. Michael was born in the USA, has a doctor of philosophy degree and was in Ukraine during the entire period of Russia's full-scale military aggression against Ukraine.
As someone who has personally been and continues to be in Ukraine, he also raises the awareness of people around the world about what the Russian military is actually doing in Ukraine: about the crimes and atrocities they commit on Ukrainian soil and about ordinary Ukrainian people who become victims of the violence of the occupying army. In his speech at the press conference, Michael noted:
"I am from US and have been working in Ukraine for 5 years, mostly with the Ukrainian Catholic University. As an Alaskan being connected to militaries, I have always seen that russia it a threat not only to the US but also to its neighbours.
We have been collecting oral histories from people who have been affected by war. This will add a human face to the war and enhance connection between what is happening in Ukraine and people who are unaware, who are living in safe places of the world.
We provide a platform for storytelling and newsletters to spread information in the world.
Information is a weapon, but this weapon can be used in a positive way: we can show awful consequences of russian propaganda on people's` lives without having to paint a false picture. We cannot combat by ourselves, but there are around 150 countries in which russia has propaganda weapons in social media, but we can tell a message to someone who will listen and tell this message, and thus the situation will spread in the world. Information and the way we present it matter.
We can see this works since this has impacted medical aid and humanitarian help delivered throughout 10 months of work.
We can do small things, e.g. help around 300 moms with children to get such basic necessary things as vitamins. However, when we spread this message we can show that people are in need of basic things, at the same time that the resilience of these people, their cooperation, sense of humour, gratitude is a strong message to the world. Ukraine represents what democracy should be like amidst the crisis. Sharing the stories of these real people that have been affected by the war can counter russian propaganda, can change points of view and also bring more help.
We care for civilians from babies to elderly and veterans. As a teacher, I can see the students writing message to the world not to be bored of the war situation, and small children that acknowledge Ukraine as their country".