Unity is our main power. Together we can do more
Valeriia Svietlaia from Dnipro was a deputy of the regional council before the war and worked as a member of the commission on the development of family, youth and sports in the region. When the war began, on the morning of February 24, Valeria was in the hospital. She had suffered a severe form of Covid-19 and was undergoing rehabilitation therapy. At first, she thought it was safe to be in the hospital, because in all wars the military does not target hospitals and other civilian facilities. But it quickly became clear that this was not the case – Russia is waging an unprincipled war; and her husband took Valeriia home.
On the first day of the war, the guys created a chat room for volunteers, which quickly brought together about 1,000 people who wanted to help their country. At first, they helped the soldiers of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and the territorial defense forces by purchasing helmets, body armor, copters, walkie-talkies and optical devices. But at the same time, they started to receive many requests for help from civilians, and refugees from other cities began arriving in Dnipro. So the guys couldn’t operate in only one direction, and they’re keeping to process different requests. Valeriia says that their volunteer self-organization is headed by 10 people with whom they have been friends since school. Some of them search for and solicit funding and humanitarian aid, while others coordinate the process of receiving, distribution and delivery of aid. Valeriia’s team also set up their own production of body armor.
To produce body armor, the guys buy expensive armor plates, which they always test by shooting them and using them themselves. Not only do they send the body armor to the soldiers of Ukrainian Armed Forces, but they also sell them to bear the production costs. They also collect donations for the purchase of ammunition for the military. Since they began their work, volunteers have managed to raise and send 700,000 hryvnias of aid to soldiers. Valeriia says that many of their friends are now on the front line, so they get their requests directly from the soldiers, know their needs, which they try to meet in the first instance.
The guys attracted 12 international partners from different countries who help by providing money, medicines and humanitarian aid. To help civilians, Valeriia’s team set up a large warehouse, where they’ve already collected and distributed more than 60 tons of humanitarian aid. From their warehouse, humanitarian aid is delivered to the 6 regions of Ukraine where intense battles are still being fought. The team provides aid to the elderly who are left without help, and even to animal shelters.
Also, the guys supply medicines to 9 city hospitals. They’ve raised funds and bought a device used in negative-pressure wound therapy for the hospital no 16 in Dnipro. They are always raising money to meet both everyday fuel and medicines expenses as well as pulling together the money for bigger purchases on the needs of the front line and hospitals. Valeriia’s team is confident that Ukraine will win and they have huge plans for the future. They are already negotiating with European funds on how they will rebuild the destroyed cities. Valeriia is sure that her and her husband’s lives are now forever tied to Ukraine and the great Ukrainian people.
Before the War
Deputy of the Dnipropetrovsk regional council
Site of Operation