About Alona Kharchenko, Request Manager

Alona is the first person you will see when entering the headquarters. Her workplace is at the reception of the Women Veterans Movement. She is the one who first responds to requests for assistance and works with their organization. She dreamed of becoming a volunteer, and for almost two months, she has been a member of our team.

Next is a first-person narrative.

About the first steps in volunteering

I had no experience in volunteering before the war, but I really wanted to help. At the beginning of the war, my daughter and I went to the Carpathians to look for some headquarters and started weaving nets. But it wasn’t enough for me. However, there were no large humanitarian headquarters there.

Then we returned to Kyiv. I went to work at a bakery because I thought, “what do people do in times of war? Either volunteer or bake bread.”

I worked as a cook before. I had my own cafe-bar, and I loved cooking.

I saw that almost everyone was volunteering, so I felt guilty for going and not doing anything in the Carpathians.

My husband is interested in drone technology, so he found the Women’s Veterans Movement. I contacted them for two weeks while also looking for a job. And then I received a job offer and a response from Katya Pryimak (acting head of the WVR) at the same time.

When I came to the headquarters, they assigned me to communicate with the girls from the sewing workshop and other participants in the headquarters. I process applications and look for different suppliers.

About Experience and Burnout

My secret to avoiding burnout: with every activity, you need to invest in yourself and see the result. If you don’t see anything useful in what you’re doing, you’ll always be “on the minor”.

People from different fields come to the headquarters. It’s both interesting and difficult at the same time.

I’ve been tuned to social work for a long time, so I don’t think I’ll burn out.

I’m not planning to combine volunteering with work yet. The main thing is for everyone to be alive and healthy, and values have changed now, and money is no longer as important.

On Motivation

What motivates me the most is our team. It consists of people with different professions. I like that we all work together on a common goal, but everyone expresses themselves differently and thinks differently.

I am happy that I have finally started working confidently with a computer. I have been wanting to do this for a long time.

I also like my flexible schedule: I come in at 10 am and leave at 6 pm. I have always wanted to have such a schedule.

On Emotions from Work

One of the most emotional stories I recall from my volunteering experience is about children’s drawings. So, the children drew pictures for the Armed Forces of Ukraine. I was asked to put them in packages for the military. As I put these drawings in the packages, my lips were trembling! Despite the fact that I was alone,  I was calm while doing it, but such things are very touching.