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Helping overcome the woe


World Day of Social Work is observed in dozens of countries of the world today. This is one of the forms of professional activity where success largely depends on the worker’s personality, not on their professional skills. The foregoing can be fully applied to volunteers, for whom non-indifference, mercy and warmth are the most important instrument in their work. For the Rinat Akhmetov Foundation and its largest program, Humanitarian Headquarters, they are an unalienable part of the team. In any weather and often under fire, mobile volunteers deliver Rinat Akhmetov’s help to the most distressed residents of dozens of towns and villages allocated along the confrontation line in the Donbas. They often had to work in the conditions when every second counts.

That’s what happened after the shelling of Mariupol in 2015. Back then, the Foundation’s volunteers delivered medications to the city’s hospitals, needed for urgent surgeries. They kept watch at the clinics to promptly handle all problems which victims could face and help doctors in their work. Over 500 families left without housing and food received food assistance.

Residents of Avdiivka, which remains one of the region’s hotspots, are also grateful to the Rinat Akhmetov Foundation’s volunteers. For the fifth year, it have been volunteers who are delivering food parcels there.

‘There were times when there was no water and power in Avdiivka; shops were closed, and the nearest open ones were in another town several dozen miles away. That was when Rinat Akhmetov’s Humanitarian Headquarters came to rescue the people of Avdiivka. Aid deliveries continued even in the most difficult times for the city, and aid continues to flow in today. In the past years, over 100 thousand adult and children’s food parcels from the Headquarters have been brought to Avdiivka. That’s a serious help to our townsfolk’, Borys Karmazin, Director for Personnel and Social Matters at Adviivka Byproduct Coke Plant recalls.

According to Mykhailo Katerynchak, Project Head at the Rinat Akhmetov Foundation, the ability to sincerely empathize with people is extremely important for volunteers working in the conditions of an armed conflict.

‘After years of this work, the Foundation’s personnel know very well that even direct aggression isn’t actually aimed at them. It is the pain, indignation and frustration which the conflicting person has nowhere else to spill out. When handling situations like that, a volunteer begins to develop and strengthen a “protective screen” in order not to destroy their emotional shell. But at this point, it is extremely important not to let this screen turn into a rock-solid impenetrable wall. The volunteer’s emotions are like a shield: you have to raise it to fend off a threat but always lower it to see the person’s woe,’ Mykhailo Katerynchak said.

Since the outbreak of the War in Donbas, over 5000 persons became the Rinat Akhmetov Foundation’s volunteers, delivering over 12.2 million food parcels.