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Charity dialogues. BLOG by Natalia Yemchenko, SCM’s Director of Public Relations and Communications


For me, the whole last week was marked by the International Day of Charity. The holiday is only five years old. It was in 2012 that such an initiative was launched by the United Nations. It was timed to the death anniversary of the Nobel Peace Prize laureate Theresa of Calcutta - Mother Teresa, who fought against poverty and diseases.

Just 5 years ago, charity got its own day that is both strange and good at the same time. It is strange that it appeared after centuries of charity work of millions of people. It is good that it got this day at all.

This day means an opportunity for me. The opportunity to share experiences, to discuss innovations, to sum up what was done and to plan millions more good deeds - both independently and together with other sector participants. And this is also an opportunity to say "thank you" to colleagues, volunteers, partners for what they have done and for their relentless contagious desire to help. This is exactly what the Rinat Akhmetov Foundation does. I also do this as a member of Supervisory Board at the Foundation.

There is always someone to talk to. There is always something to talk about. There are thousands of charity projects and organizations in Ukraine. Traditionally the way we learn about the work of the largest of them is through the charity rating compiled by the Ukrainian Philanthropists Forum. Last year the Rinat Akhmetov Foundation became the first one among Ukrainian charitable organizations. Only during the years of combat activity in Donbas more than 1 million people received assistance from the Humanitarian Centre, the structural unit of the Foundation.

For Ukraine, charity is a fulfilling social phenomenon. Most of the social problems and tasks are solved on the initiative and with the active involving of philanthropists. How does this work for us?

Forms of charity:

• Private charity is the most common form of assistance provided by a specific person or group of people;

• CSR (corporate social responsibility) is a voluntary mission of the company that goes beyond the legislative minimum, develops society and fulfils social obligations. Such philosophy is successfully practiced by the SCM group;

• Corporate charity - charity foundations of large companies;

• Volunteering - its boom in our country happened in 2014-15. According to the Ukrainian Philanthropists Forum, 14% of Ukrainians are volunteers. At the same time, 5% of them are engaged in this work every day. Volunteers are involved in solving various problems: from helping animals and cleaning up the city to raising funds for surgeries and delivering products to the military conflict zone.

Of course, this is not 30-35% (as, for example, in Germany). But it is more than 10%, and therefore the charity becomes a trend.

In international charity of 2017 there are also a number of trends that have an impact on the situation in Ukraine.

1. Common course - involving the maximum number of people and combining efforts.

2. Focus on internally displaced people: this is more important than ever for Ukraine.

3. Simplicity and avoidance of drama. It is necessary to provide assistance simply and with a smile. This attracts people to charity.

4. Empathy: such things as empathy and accepting other people as they are, are becoming an important part of modern charity.

5. Introduction of new technologies in charity. For example, technology IA and Blockchain. The future of charity is surely digital. Today, like never before, there is a million opportunities to do good. But still the charity centres around people. People with large hearts and people in trouble.

In many ways, this is also the case for Ukraine, but there is a specificity:

• High burnout of the sector and the search for new forms and meanings;

• Transition from emotional charity to system one;

• Appearing of organizations focused on solving important but previously unobvious social problems.

In general, in Ukraine, it is mostly young people who are engaged in charity. It seems to me to be the most important trend. There are many new faces, steep system projects and a lot of work. It is in charity that in many ways hope, perspective and, in a sense, the future, are born.

Why is charity so important? Because it is one of the few ways for adults to change themselves and the country. This is one of the few ways to "burn."

Why are dialogues so important in charity? Because it is the dialogues that give birth to a common vision and synergy.

A couple of days ago I asked Mr. Ivan Miklós, the Slovak politician and reformer, how to defeat populism. And he told me: "In order to defeat the populists, we need non-populists who are burning."

And I am sure that large foundations, including Rinat Akhmetov Foundation, in dialogue with such new rapid initiatives, can make people's lives better. Not all by themselves. But still they can do it.