The hardest thing for Olena was to see the war as a challenge
When the war started, Olena and her family were sleeping and when they found out they couldn’t believe that it had actually happened, they didn’t understand what to do and where to hide the children. They packed every possible thing and hid in a cellar where they spent 11 days. There were 6 children and 5 grown-ups in the cellar. The hardest thing in the first days was to realize that our country, our home, had been attacked.
After 11 days in the cellar, Olena realized that it was necessary to get the children out of there. They were leaving by minibus, under fire, the children were told to lie on the floor of the vehicle. They left for Dnipro, in a couple of days went to the Western Ukraine, spent a month there and moved to Kropyvnytskyi where they are staying till now. Olena’s husband stayed in Kharkiv.
The war started 8 years ago for Olena. Long before the full-scale invasion, she had launched a project “Children against war”. She was supposed to hold an event in Bucha during the spring break.
Together with a team of 24 people, Olena is engaged in helping people and focused on 3 main directions now:
- psycho-emotional support for teens;
- targeted delivery of food products in Kharkiv;
- work with temporarily displaced persons – providing them with food and clothes, psychological support.
As a coordinator and the head of the educational space, Olena managed to get back the whole 1st and 2nd courses of the teens who have left. And to involve 27 teens in studying on a permanent basis. They manage to provide 2400 elderly people with food products on a regular basis. In such districts of Kharkiv as KhTZ, Saltovka, Zhukovskogo. These people need long-lasting foods and medicines.
The hardest thing for Olena was to see the war as a challenge. There were a lot of emotions: lack of understanding, offense, disappointment. She doesn’t even know now whether her home in Kharkiv hasn’t been damaged. She has accepted it and shows people by her example that we have to restart our lives from scratch and not live in hopes to return home soon. Because what matters most is life, and everything else can be built.
Olena really hopes for the victory and understands that it depends on each of us. And that every person brings this day closer by helping. The people on Olena’s team constantly support each other and it helps to hold on. That’s why after the victory Olena dreams to get all the team together and simply hug everyone, say thank you to each other.
Before the War
Head of the educational space Academy of Future Leaders
Site of Operation