Hello! I am Lesya and I am 30 years old. I am the communications and SMM manager at YMCA Lviv.
I was born and for my first 20 years lived in Belarus. When I turned 18, I started traveling to Kyiv, Odesa, Dnipro – to visit friends. At the age of 20, I decided to move to Ukraine – to enter the Odessa State Academy of Civil Engineering and Architecture. Even before I moved to Odessa, my closest friends and my personal life were already in Ukraine. Ukraine has become my home. Until February 24, I had already lived and worked in Odessa for 10 years.
For the past three years, I was the co-owner and the pastry chef at the gingerbread workshop Ururur Sweetgifts, where my team and I were creating unique desserts and handmade gingerbread. A cafe is a dream business, a favorite business for a beloved city by the sea with its special flavor…
At 4:30 a.m. on the 24-th of February, normal life collapsed: a full-scale war has begun. Strangely enough, the sticky fear that had haunted me for the previous months disappeared – the worst had already happened, it was time to act.
Within 10 minutes, my boyfriend and I decided to leave the city – we have a seriously ill relative who needed to be taken out in case fighting broke out in the city.
Documents, money, a cat, a few warm things – we jumped into the car and drove to Lviv. We were miraculously lucky to find an apartment – taking into account the fact that we had a sick person with us, it was critical.
But it was impossible to just sit still. The search has begun – where, and how can I be useful? That’s how I became a volunteer at The Student Fraternity of Lviv.
Over time, the relative was managed to be taken abroad to other relatives. My friends repeatedly advised me to leave – war is none of a business for a confectioner girl. But from the beginning I clearly decided that Ukraine is my place. This is my home, I cannot and do not want to leave it. I have to make my home comfortable again for all of its inhabitants.
It was in Lviv at the volunteer office that I realized how I could be useful at most.
I already had extensive experience as a manager and organizer of various processes, as well as experience in charity work. But I had to get the understanding at areas which I was completely unrelated to: medicine and military affairs. I went through some tactical medicine training to understand how to work with supplies for military medics. After all, in this case, the price of a mistake is a human life.
Now I know what armor our defenders need, how to find the right ammunition for people on the front lines, understand how to work with medical supplies.
Together with a friend who is a psychologist, we were able to, completely unexpectedly for ourselves, organize several large shipments of medical items to front-line hospitals.
Now I know how to get a drone, a generator, a thermal imager, etc., etc., etc. in a few hours without having financial reserves… even if it is not available in the country.
This is only possible because I work with incredible people who are ready to work around the clock for our common goal.
This is a job that requires to instantly adapt to a situation of any complexity and to be able to work in crisis conditions. I managed to be a loader, sorter, logistician, crisis manager, communicator, mediator and God knows who else.
Now I’m already used to a new life. In addition to volunteering, I have a paid job at a charity organization with a team of wonderful people. I was sent warm clothes from home – now I look almost like before the 24-th of February. But this is only on the surface, because every bad news – rocket hit, destruction, deaths, friends who do not answer calls – has become habitual, but each time they leave a new wound in the heart.
Life will never be the same as it was before the 24-th of February.
In the apartment there is a box of freeze-dried food, a lantern, candles, a radio and batteries – the supplies in case of a total blackout.
We will fight no matter what. Life always wins over death.