Ukrainian Catholic Education Foundation

Rebuilding the Ukrainian Catholic Church through education
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Step by step to victory – UCU students tell about their experience volunteering during the war

The Dean’s Office for Student Life of the Ukrainian Catholic University launched among the students a flashmob #крокуємо_до_перемоги [step by step to victory]. Some 60 stories have been collected from various parts of Ukraine, where each person shares what he or she is doing to bring the country closer to victory.

Orest Tsebenko, coordinator of the Volunteer Laboratory of the Dean’s Office for Student Life, tells how the idea arose.

“We understood that during the war UCU’s students are involved in many volunteer movements, and so we decided to share their experiences with a wider public. That’s how the flashmob ‘step by step to victory’ happened… Each story inspires and, at the same time, unites us,” says Orest Tsebenko.

We share some stories of UCU students volunteering:

“I believe that even the small efforts of each person accomplish something big!” – Sophia, 2nd-year student in the Social Work Program

I’m volunteering in my town: I help refugees find lodging, I prepare food…

I also volunteer online: I’m helping add to a database of volunteers for work with children. I communicate with foreign friends. I talk about the real state of affairs in our country.

I sincerely believe we will be victorious, and I know that a bright future awaits us all!

“I help because people are the most important thing.” Khrystya, 3rd-year student of the Sociology Program

I volunteer at the railroad station in Lviv: I help refugees find lodging, transport. I pass out food on the platforms and give moral support, as much as I can.

“When I volunteer, I realize that I’m part of a strong rear guard for the defenders.” Daryna, 3rd-year student in the Ethics-Politics-Economics Program

With the start of the war in Ukraine, I became coordinator of a volunteer office in the city of Kalush, Ivano-Frankivsk Region.

My main task is to coordinate efforts so that everything works efficiently and effectively.

My first feeling the morning of 24 February was fear, very great fear. Fear for my neighbors, fear of the unknown, fear of the uncontrollable. Then I realized that the war is my new reality, and I need to fight with it. I decided to travel home to my parents. I found something useful to do in my town.

Before I sleep, I think about how much will need to be done after the victory! Every day the list grows, but I can’t wait to start it: embrace neighbors who are now at a distance, dance the whole night, celebrate my birthday, which was recently, travel to the sea, to Crimea! … So I can’t just throw up my hands. I need to keep going!”

“Ukrainians have to support one another – this is the law of preserving energy: those who have something extra can give to those who don’t have enough.” Oleksandra, 1st-year student in the Sociology Program

The main way I help is by creating photo content for the initiative  ТеплоДія [Act of Warmth].Though in these unstable times, your hands need to be everywhere. Our organization provides continuing support to people in difficult situations: the poor, and now also internally displaced persons. We spend the majority of our time in the kitchen, preparing and packing food to hand out at the train station and downtown.

Photo  by Fiora Garenzi