Volunteering — Hobby that became work

Volunteering — Hobby that became work

Journalists of «Donetsk Dialogue», program broadcast on Donbas Public TV, interviewed a married couple who have found themselves at a new place.

A young woman says that not a long time ago they held an event, «Chervoni Nosyki» («Red Little Noses») in Mariyinskiy Park. Before that there was a photo session with red noses.

«We were with red noses in Mariyinskiy Park, and the event turned into a festival. There were master-classes, and souvenir fair», recalls volunteer Olena.

Olena is from Donetsk. It was a random choice to become a volunteer. When she was in Kyiv, she was present at a charity event arranged by «Dacha» (a rehabilitation center for children with cancer). After the event, all people who wanted to develop children’s creativity skills were invited.

Olena and Slavik are a bright example of such active IDPs who cannot be idle. Now she teaches children and they teach her. Olena can speak about children non-stop, with eyes bright and smiling face. She is proud of her pupils; she admires their courage and zest for life.

«Once children and I were playing in the yard. We saw a boy without a leg. I could not invite him to play with us as I was afraid of offending him. However, when he came closer, I offered him to play with us, and he agreed. Then we went home, and the boy turned on some music, and invited us to dance», Olena recalls.

«Children with health problems are full of life; they smile and plan their future. You look on them and think that being an IDP is not a problem. Nothing to eat — go and start working.

However, not all children's stories from IDPs' families are pleasant. «Children cannot understand everything they hear adults saying. One little boy identified himself as a separatist. I did not respond to that. I understand that children repeat what adults say. Now she teaches children and they teach her.

The young activists showed us around the medical center and told us their story and about the events they had to go though in Donetsk.

“We lived downtown and saw the bloody events in
Lenin square. We saw fear in the eyes of the people who participated in Ukrainian meetings; they were with Ukrainian flags, and they were supported by lots of others this or that way ...

When Girkin came to Donetsk from Slovyansk, his base was near the third building of the Polytechnical University. There were armored vehicles and armored troop-carriers. It was uncomfortable and risky to stay there”, recalls Vyacheslav.

At first they moved to their relatives’ place when they were on holiday. They wanted to live the time and the events through. However, when the relatives came back, Vyacheslav and Olena moved to Kyiv though even now they experience nostalgia.

Slavik and Olena are a young family of IDPs from Donetsk and a bright example of successful realization of themselves in new conditions now. However, at the beginning it was not so bright. They were depressed because of the events in the country; there was endless job-hunting in the capital in the new conditions… They could not allow themselves to lose heart. Then “DonbassSOS” came to the rescue. Olena plunged into work as she has always though that helping people, and to do socially useful work was her mission.

“I understood that I didn’t want to have an ordinary job. I wanted to make my hobby my work. I changed my values. When I was in Donetsk, I had my main job, and helping orphanages was my hobby when I had free time”, says Olena.

Volunteering is unthankful at times, and stressful. We had to listen to a lot of different people who are sometimes very aggressive. It happens that sometimes, when people call us, they just want to sound off.

“People call us asking for helping them get out of the occupied territory. We take them out of there. Then the people ask for helping them to go back as they want to go home”, says Olena.

Olena likes when people call to help them find a job. I enjoy it not because I help them solve their problem, but because people roll up sleeves, stop going with the flow and take responsibility for their own destiny.

Together with volunteering, Olena got some other offers. For example, friend from Israel started their business in Lviv. Olena and Vyacheslav were invited there. However, Vacheslav, who managed to find a job too, thinks that the future of their family is connected with Kyiv.

The couple does not think about going back to Donetsk. Still, whatever they speak about, they touch upon the problem of the war. Vyacheslav is sure that the war will be over, but people will stay. With the time the people who seized the regional administration building will support Ukraine.

The young couple believes that one may be successful in any conditions. They lost everything, but act after their kind.

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