Quintina Valero – Dacha house

Quintina is documentary and press photographer from Spain. She is based in London since 2001 leaving behind a career in finance. Her passion for photography took her to study a degree in Photojournalism at the London College of Communication, (University of the Arts). Her documentary work focuses on human rights and humanitarian crisis. She has also documented nomadic lives that included Bedouins, travellers and gypsies for several years. Her interest to learn about their identity and culture took her to the Balkans, Jordan, France, Spain and England, documenting their traditions, festivities and rituals. Her work has been exhibited in London and Spain.

In 2009 she received training to design and deliver educational and artistic workshops. After her experience documenting communities in remote areas with difficult access to education and artistic program, she founded Sharevision Workshop. Since then, she has collaborated with international and local artists to design and deliver art projects using her photography as a tool for social engagement. In 2015 she launched together with Colombian artists Food of War collective, exploring the relationship between food and war through art.

Quintina spends her time between London and Ukraine where she has been travelling since early 2015 documenting the ongoing conflicts and the huge impact on the most vulnerable, especially those displaced from the east, Donbass region.

Currently she is working on a long-term project about the impact of Chernobyl’s nuclear disaster, especially the young generations and the implications of such disaster for those living on contaminated lands.

Her work ‘Ukraine, a daily challenge against cancer’ has helped local charities to raise internationally awareness about the situation of children suffering from cancer in Ukraine.

Dacha House, a large detached house in the outskirts of Kiev in Ukraine, has become the shelter for families whose children are affected by cancer. Zaporuka, the charity that runs the house provides a safety and loving environment for children to recover from cancer treatment. They provide accommodation to six families from very poor backgrounds and limited access to treatment. They are allowed to stay for two months while receiving treatment, surgery and rehabilitation at the National Cancer Institute.

Zaporuka receives financial support from European donors like Soleterre in Italy. The organization pays for two psychologists and two physiotherapists working at the National Cancer Institute to treat children affected by cancer. People claim that hospitals appear to be corrupted with patients forced to pay bribes for surgeries and medicines. The charity helps the families to overcome with those situations.

Quintina documented the life at Dacha House, and the families living there temporally. Among them, Kirill, nine years old boy who grew up in Horlivka, Donbass Region, and east Ukraine. Kirill and his mother, Natasha fled Horlivka after his hospital was shelled in August 2014. He was diagnosed with Ewing sarcoma (bone cancer) a year earlier. This is a very rare type of cancer affecting fewer than 30 children in the UK each year. However, in Ukraine, the legacy of Chernobyl means far more people suffer from bone cancer including many children.