The war made us all much older
Vlad woke up from loud explosions and immediately realized that the biggest fear of all Ukrainians had come true. War had come to Ukraine. Vlad needed to urgently take his son and ex-wife to safety. Therefore, the first 2 days were spent on the road. While Vlad and his family were getting to Western Ukraine, he gave recommendations to his friends which route to take. And then he had an idea that he needed to help other people to leave Kharkiv. And that he can help and wants to help.
Now Vlad is in Lviv and is trying to restart his business so that people can return to work. But most of his time he devotes to volunteering. His team is delivering food and medicines in Kharkiv to people in need. At first, the guys collected food and clothes and brought them to the underground stations where people were hiding. Over time, the team has increased to 35 people, they have found a warehouse, the work structure has been put in place and humanitarian aid supplies from Lithuania have been established. Now the guys help 1500 people every day. The main need is still food, baby products and medicines. Vlad says that in the first days of the war, fellow businessmen helped a lot: some gave food to the volunteers, others helped financially. But their resources have run out, and now volunteers buy almost everything themselves. A week of work costs 300,000 UAH at minimum.
In the early days, Vlad organized a collection of donations through the web page of his online store, but very quickly he joined forces with Nika Orlova. Nika is a well-known photographer and a public person, so they decided to use her name and named their volunteer organization Orlova.help. Requests are received via a Google form, social media and through word of mouth – Vlad’s phone number is now known to many Kharkiv residents. During their work, the guys managed to raise more than $60,000, received several tons of humanitarian aid, bought 4 cars and more. But often there is not enough money and they have to spend their own or borrow from friends.
Being a volunteer in a city that is close to the front is dangerous. Drivers are equipped with helmets and bulletproof vests, but still risk getting under shelling every day. Such cases have already happened in their team, but, fortunately, everyone survived. Vlad admires their courage, but each time he is worried while waiting for a call from the drivers and hopes that they return unharmed. But the hardest thing about being a volunteer is not getting through the line of fire to feed people. The hardest thing is to communicate directly with people. Every story, every tragedy breaks the heart. Vlad says that call center volunteers burn out in just a week, so the guys often change places. It is very important, albeit difficult, to keep mental health.
The war has made Vlad much older. Now he looks at material values and people differently, he revised his plans for the future and his attitude to business. He looks forward to victory to see his old friends and meet in person the new ones, people he met during the war. And then he, together with others, will rebuild Ukraine to be free and happy.
Before the War
Site of Operation