Bohdan Zdanevich is 26 years old. He is from Lviv, works as a lawyer at the “Law Craft” company. Since August, he joined our volunteer assistance project as a lawyer. He consults volunteers, IDPs and charitable organizations, while continuing to volunteer himself. Bohdan is also studying for a master’s degree.
For Bohdan, the war began at home, he did not believe that a full-scale invasion would begin. Even on the evening of the 23-rd of February, he and his friends were calmly playing football. In the morning, he woke up to a call from a girlfriend who told him that the war had started. The day snowballed. Calls to relatives, friends, acquaintances…
The question “How are you?” from the first day of the war had firmly stuck in the head of every Ukrainian.
Then – a trip to the gas station, to stock up on food… In the first days, no one understood what was going on. In the evening, Bohdan saw the news about the huge number of refugees who had arrived to Lviv. He went to the city center – until late at night, in his car he transported people who ran away from the war.
The next night was sleepless: the noise of planes, little information, poor mobile connection…
In the early days, Bohdan became a blood donor, and also tried to join the ranks of territorial defense. There were huge queues at the military commissariat, and he decided to do what he was good at – he already had a lot of experience in volunteering, support work and logistics to help military and civilians.
On the 27-th of February, Bohdan was approached by the head of one of Lviv’s large volunteer organizations and asked to help to find a driver who would agree to take humanitarian aid to Kyiv (at that time, the city was partially surrounded and under fire). There were no people willing to go, and early in the morning on the 28-th of February, Bohdan was already on his way to Kyiv.
Since then, he regularly delivers aid to hot spots. There is no time or energy for fear: someone just has to do it. And who, if not us?..
Bohdan was one of the first to bring humanitarian aid to Buchа after de-occupation. There, he and his colleague even gave people sandwiches, which they took with them on the road… Bohdan does not like to talk about these trips. Each time he comes back exhausted and then starts working even harder.
– Why didn’t I pay attention to work, family, didn’t decide to just live, but chose volunteering? Damn, it’s so obvious – if there is no free Ukraine, will I work on the job I want? Will my family be happy?
I always tell myself, if you are doing something, devote 100% of yourself – otherwise there will be no result. When full-scale war began, I put everything but the interests of the country on the back burner. I donated all my savings that I had, I made most of the trips to the front-line cities and villages by my own car.
After everything I’ve seen… I have the opportunity, but I can’t go to a restaurant and eat my favorite Caesar salad and drink a latte. I always feel guilty, I know that people are dying of hunger in the occupied territories. There is also often nothing to eat in de-occupied territories, houses are destroyed, there is no electricity and water.
And people from there never ask for help by themselves. They are uncomfortable to stress someone. Most often, they do not even know that there are those who want to help and that there is such an opportunity. Even if they lack the things that are essential for life. When we bring humanitarian aid, people worry that we traveled too far, gave too much, always try to share the last thing: a piece of homemade bread made from the last supplies of flour, give a cup of tea.
They say: “You are not obliged to help us.” But believe me, we are obliged for sure, because these people are experiencing shelling, occupation, filtration camps… Everything is known in comparison. And compared to them, we do not know what war is and I think that we, living in a peaceful city, having everything, should first of all take care of people who have survived hell.
We are creating the history of Ukraine together with our own hands, and our future depends only on us. Now everyone has one goal – victory.
The gratitude of the military and people whom we evacuated from various settlements greatly lifts the spirit and adds faith in our victory.
I believed in victory from the first day, and still believe.
In the rear it’s quite easy to forget what’s going on. Sometimes there is a feeling of indifference when we have no air raid alerts or nothing “drops”. Here, people quickly forget about the war, about the necessity to help. There were times when we returned from another “tour” (that’s what we call our trips) and saw a feast with a lot of alcohol, hookah… And you look with tired eyes from driving for many hours and think why war for someone is to help and for others to be indifferent?
I started volunteering back in 2013, when I was only 17 years old, I helped in both places on the Lviv Maidan and on Square of Independence (Maidan Nezalezhnosti) in Kyiv. It was the Revolution of Dignity that changed me, my consciousness, after that I was never indifferent to the fate of our country.
After the Revolution of Dignity, the first phase of the war in Donbas has begun, and since that time I started actively volunteering. I remember once there was a choice: to go to prepare for the exam or visit the military in the hospital. I chose the second option. I didn’t pass the exam that time, but then repassed it.
That time, just like now, a decision had to be made, what was more important. And I make this decision every day.