A Facebook post helped find money and premises
For the last 5 months, Natalia Cherniavska from Kharkiv and her volunteer team have been covering windows broken by shelling and bombing for people in her city. This is especially important now, considering the upcoming autumn and winter, as well as the constant bombings of the city.
To help people, she brought together a team of workers and volunteers and created the Help Save Kharkiv charity foundation, which is now raising funds and accepting requests from Kharkiv residents for new windows, which are installed for free.
Speaking to about the origin of her initiative, Natalia says that she was feeling very scared and distressed in March, when the city was constantly shelled, so she went to help her volunteer friends deliver medications to hospitals and food to the local Territorial Defense Forces.
"The girls told me that the city needed volunteers who would help to cover broken windows, but there was nothing available then — no premises, no money, no instruments, no workers. I wrote a post on Facebook saying that I was raising money and looking for people willing to help," Cherniavska recalls.
She said that she received plenty of calls, and on the very first day she managed to find premises, collect money, and buy the materials — so, starting from March 13, they have been actively working.
A call center and workers from all districts of the city
In the first months, the volunteers had been working off money donated by people from all corners of Ukraine and the world, but people have grown exhausted because many had lost their income and possessions, so donations dwindled.
"That’s why I’m now looking for foundations that help buy materials, which are mainly oriented strand boards. To this end, we have established a charity foundation," Natalia says.
A call center has also been created where eight managers process requests from all of Kharkiv while the workers who agreed to help accept requests from the areas where they live.
At the beginning of the war, nearly 100 volunteers worked on the initiative, of whom around 40 remained, as someone was mobilized to fight at the frontline, and others left the city after their apartments had been ruined.
So far, the foundation has processed more than 3 thousand requests from Kharkiv residents, Cherniavsla says.
A bus from Marseille and a hunt for a fraud
Natalia shared some stories from the everyday lives of volunteers who risk their lives to help Kharkiv residents keep their homes warm.
"There was an interesting story when my friend left us a van to use for our needs and it got under shelling on April 1 in Northern Saltivka, which made it unusable," the initiator of the foundation recalls.
She wrote a post on Facebook, and the next day, Svitlana, a woman from Kharkiv who now lives in Marseille and has organized charitable concerts there to help people in Kharkiv, including Natalia’s foundation, found a new van.
"People drove in, gave us the keys, and wished us luck! In the same way, we’ve been given the premises and a board cutting machine, all for free. One man from Kharkiv brought us a 20-ton truckload of chipboards from Rivne and paid for the delivery!" the woman tells.
One more interesting story Natalia recalled was when people from Kharkiv who temporarily lived in Dnipro had raised money, UAH 90,000 (more than $2,200) to buy materials, which was taken by a fraudster.
"The money was stolen. I wrote a post and gave all the details of the story. Then I received calls from the judicial police, prosecutors, and the Security Service of Ukraine. In a week, the fraudster was caught in Khmelnytskyi, and we got all our money back!" Cherniavska says.
Today, given the constant shelling of Kharkiv, the foundation needs help more than ever. You can donate to Help Save Kharkiv using the following details:
- Company Name: BF HELP SAVE KHARKIV BO
- IBAN Code: UA093515330000026009005902684
- Name of the bank: JSC CB "PRIVATBANK", 1D HRUSHEVSKOHO STR., KYIV, 01001, UKRAINE
- Bank SWIFT Code: PBANUA2X
- Company address: UA 61016 17 Donbasivskyi Lane apt. 9, Kharkiv, Kharkiv region
- Correspondent banks
- Account in the correspondent bank: 001-1-000080
- SWIFT Code of the correspondent bank: CHASUS33
- Correspondent bank: JP Morgan Chase Bank, New York ,USA
- Account in the correspondent bank: 890-0085-754
- SWIFT Code of the correspondent bank: IRVT US 3N
- Correspondent bank: The Bank of New York Mellon, New York, USA
- Account in the correspondent bank: 36445343
- SWIFT Code of the correspondent bank: CITI US 33
- Correspondent bank: Citibank N.A., NEW YORK, USA
- Privatbank UAH card: 4246 0010 6013 9908
The publication was prepared as part of the We Are from Ukraine project initiated by the National Union of Journalists of Ukraine.