Zoola People share their experiences as volunteers and tell us about emotions felt during the war in Ukraine.Our colleagues do what is within their reach and beyond during these difficult times for Ukraine. The aim is to stop the aggressor and help others. Some have joined the Territorial Defense Forces; others give their time to various non-profit relief organizations. We gathered the comments of some of our colleagues who volunteer part-time at humanitarian organizations and refugee centers. Below you can read about their experiences as volunteers, their reasons for helping others, and their emotions felt during these days.
Yehor Chernyshenko / Net Team Lead I`m gathering money to buy tablets and other things for our Army and the Territorial Defense Forces. I help different people find each other for a volunteering collaboration (I have a vast network of contacts). I can’t just stand aside; it’s my homeland. "Ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country." I`ve been actively helping our army every month since 2019 gathering money and buying tablets, food, and other things, while passively — since 2014, donating money to well-known volunteers, like Serhiy Prytula, Nataliya Yusupova, and others. I feel pride for my nation — Ukrainians have never been more united than we are today.
Anton / Android Software Engineer My name is Anton. I’m an Android Software Engineer. I got involved with the Maltese Relief Service. Like many humanitarian organizations, the Maltese Relief Service accepts humanitarian help and sends it to where it is needed. I’m loading and unloading trucks and buses that deliver aid to and from the warehouse. We sort this aid — sometimes we go as deep as opening the boxes and reorganizing contents, so toothbrushes go to one box and toothpaste goes to another. I’m also trying to connect places where aid is provided, like the Humanitarian Headquarters in the Art Palace here in Lviv, where this Relief Service knows which type of things are abundant and which are lacking. All these actions are steps towards inevitable victory. The earlier we get there, the fewer people get harmed. I miss my family very much — they’re in a safe place, but far away. These days there is not much room left for anger or fear. We had too much of both already. I really miss old quiet days with my family and friends. It gets easier whenever I do something that helps our people and country — be it volunteering, helping someone we randomly encounter, or simply doing our job.
Dmytro / Team Lead of Infrastructure Operations Engineers During the past month, I had been donating more than UAH 1000 almost every day to the Armed Forces and volunteer organizations, for purchasing drones and walkie-talkies. I gave shelter for a night to 15 adults, a two-year-old girl, four cats, and a dog. Also, I tried to charge my guests’ electric car through the power plug all night. I am also trying to coordinate and provide informational assistance whenever possible. I believe that money will bring the Armed Forces closer to victory over the occupier. And for the people, I decided that they needed my help and support. I feel that my help was worthwhile. I mean, I believe that the lives of those I helped became easier and better. At least for that big group one night. Unfortunately, I can't help my relatives who are in Kherson now, and — as my sister says — that it's not about financial support. I fought with powerlessness on one front by attacking the other. As for donations — I knew how much I had to save for housing, food, and communal services. The rest was allocated to help the country and our soldiers because it had to be that way. I have paid taxes and communal services ahead of time. My mom knits socks for the soldiers.
Oleksii / Senior Software Engineer I am doing a lot of creative things. I made «stress testing» on the invaders and continue making them. Also, I ban channels and videos on Youtube that distribute misinformation. Every week, I send money to different volunteering organizations to help them prepare food and buy medicine for hospitals. Now, with the help of my father and brother (who is a citizen of Germany now) we are bringing ammunition (helmets, armor plates, and military clothing) to Ukraine. Why am I doing it? The answer is simple — I am Ukrainian. The more detailed answer is this: In 2014, I was forced to leave my hometown city Donetsk. And now I can't go back to the town where I grew up. And now that I have a baby, I don't want her not to be able to come back to where she was born. I am not a military man, so I am extending help in another way to my acquaintances, friends, and even strangers who are defending Ukraine and people who suffer tragically from all of this. There are two strong emotions that I feel: pride and sadness.
Nataliia / Android Developer I volunteer at the church, where we set up shelters for people who had to leave their homes. We cook there, wash dishes, clean, make the beds, and provide emotional support. Some people continue evacuating abroad; others go to different cities in western Ukraine. I want to be helpful because I know that human resources are needed just as much as material donations. One of my primary emotions is gratitude towards people, starting with those who gave shelter to my sisters in the Ternopil region and me, ending with the Armed Forces of Ukraine. I believe that Ukraine is getting closer to victory every day.
Oleksandr / Contingent Worker I cannot say that I am doing “impactful” volunteering actions. I made «stress testing» on Russian websites. Like many other people, I donated money to the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Also, I sent money directly to the volunteers who helped people on military assignments and helped organize such support. I believe that every action against the occupier can influence the timing of the Ukrainian victory, and it’s the question that should matter to every Ukrainian (to the best of everyone’s ability). I feel no emotions. I do everything within my reach and according to the situation that presents itself.
Daniil / Software Engineer I don’t think that I am doing something special. I just allocate money to the Armed Forces of Ukraine each month as much as possible. I am doing it because I love my country and want to help Ukraine protect itself and stop the war. My primary emotion is hope. I hope that the war will soon end, people won’t die, and we will rebuild our home.
Oleh / IOS Developer Every day I launch «stress testing» attacks according to the aims published in one telegram channel. I am doing it because I want to help tackle the occupier. And it’s the thing that I can do now. I do it in my free time away from work. DDoS attacks work 24/7. I feel different emotions, starting from the feeling that it’s the end, to experiencing the fear of air attacks, to the feeling of reassurance that the whole world is on our side. Launching a «stress testing» is a pleasure because I know I help the army in the information technology field.
Andrii / Program Manager From the very beginning, I have joined the IT army and periodically launched «stress testing» on Russian sites from all the personal laptops I could find (including the iPhone). Also, on the weekend, I joined my friends in Lviv at a small Molotov cocktail factory, where we managed to produce more than 3,000 pieces a day. In the early days, I was entirely sure that I would work as long as I could to allow my company to help globally where it was needed. It is my main field of struggle and a way to support the country. Nevertheless, there are 24 hours each day and time for everything, so that's why I divided it into work, support of relatives, and contribution to our common resistance. I am very proud of my country, and I become more assured of it every day. I am not ashamed of where I am and what I do.
Ivan / iOS Developer In most cases, my help is automated «stress testing» using the cloud, and manual attacks. In general, we attack banks, media, and digital signatures. I help with unloading the humanitarian aid at the checkpoint. And, of course, spreading the truth on VK (I had to find my old account as almost all the Russian world is there). In addition, I donate to the Armed Forces of Ukraine. I believe that everyone here does that. I love Ukraine. I remember pretty well when everything began in 2014, and I witnessed those events, and I don’t want all this to drag on for 8 years and Russia to occupy additional territories. I want to convey at least something to the Russians because some people have an understanding. I feel joyful for doing something valuable for my country. And the feeling that I somehow help people who are now at the front lines is a good one. I also feel proud because I am in a country that did not give up, one that is now united and friendly as never before.
Yuliia / iOS Developer I am making «stress testing» and helping two organizations as a designer. In one organization, I design posts for Instagram; in another, I search for designs with Ukrainian themes and arrange them on T-shirts for sale. The income is allocated to the Armed Forces of Ukraine. My primary emotion is feeling happiness because I realize how many people want to help and how fast we can make their ideas happen. Apart from it, I feel that my designs help maintain the interest of people abroad, which is essential now.
Kseniia / HR Manager I cannot say that I always volunteer. Whenever possible, I help my acquaintances find necessary information, shelter, or housing. When we only just arrived in Uzhgorod, my husband helped the volunteers take/pick /bring something by car. We wove nets for the military alongside 3 children. I have many friends in many Ukrainian cities, so if someone needs help, I connect two people I already know. Also, I gave my car to my friends (we got to Uzhgorod in my husband's car), who could not leave Kyiv because there was no transport.
Sergey / PHP Developer I am doing everything within my reach. I started by piling sand on the beach into bags. Then, I became a man who knows how to build barricades at checkpoints out of these bags. We built up the whole city. We hid the main cultural monuments. As soon as we finished constructing checkpoints, we moved on to their ennoblement: the production and masking with mask nets. Now, we are putting light and water on them. Also, I participated in the welding and delivery of anti-tank hedgehogs. Currently, I am conducting intelligence on the catacombs on the coast and transferring the coordinates of the entrances and exits to the Armed Forces of Ukraine. All in all, there are so many different things that I can’t even recall. I am doing all these things because I am not eligible to enter the Armed Forces of Ukraine due to my lack of experience. But I want to be helpful and not hide in the basement and tremble with fear. Also, I accompany French journalists. I even happened to appear on their TV channels. I am proud of my country. I had never experienced such spirit before. People united around a mutual aim without fear of doing what they can. I admire it.
Olha / NOC I volunteer in Ukraine. I help organizations and connect Ukrainian refugees with hosts and people willing to give shelter to people. I do it because it is a minor thing that I can do when I am not in my country. And it helps people. I see how desperate and broken our civilian people are, being forced to leave their homes with their children. My primary emotion during the war is a massive disgust for the Russians. I feel tremendous anger and abomination about people from the aggressor country (because of whom it all happens); and a huge desire to help my own people. Also, I am incredibly thankful to the people who provide their homes to live in. I have never seen such kindness and willingness to help.
Tamara / PE Accountant I was near the warfare. In a couple of days, I felt an urgent need to do something to be helpful to others. In the beginning, I gathered products for preparing food for the Territorial Defense Forces and soldiers. There were a lot of them in our area. I helped cook food in tiny cafes and the school canteen. We were baking buns and making sandwiches. I took part in weaving nets for the military. Also, I helped open accounts in UAH/USD. I did administrative work with finances. It’s something that’s second nature to me. All the people around me tried to help and participate. When I talked to the military, my mood was up because they were so positive. It’s precious now. When you see a rocket over your head and our air defense shoot the rockets, it’s really scary. You get used to the fact that it’s “our people,” our air defense. Still, it's very frightening when you are bombarded and under shelling. It’s all about so many emotions.