Thanks for taking the time to sit with us to share your story with our readers. Can you start out by sharing a little bit about you and/or your organization, business, or project?
“OSA” is an NGO that derived from a Kyiv citizens volunteer movement. In the beginning we were delivering humanitarian and military aid, evacuating civilians in the Kyiv region when russians were just a few kilometers away, and further transferring our efforts to the most “hot” places on the front line. Currently we are bringing civilians humanitarian aid to liberated territories (Kharkiv, Kherson, Luhansk and Donetsk regions) and to places where the fight doesn’t stop (Bakhmut, Lyman frontline), and we are also purchasing, repairing and delivering cars to the army, as well as needed military equipment.
Everyone has a story about how they got started, what was the inspiration or the catalyst for you?
In our case inspiration was absent, rather it was the need. The catalyst obviously is russia invading Ukraine.
The story behind the creation of OSA is me and my friend coming back to Kyiv on 28th of February with almost no plan, but with a wish to fight or to help. My friend asked me to deliver some military equipment I bought in the other city with an unknown driver who proposed to help out. That guy came with his Tesla to the train station and we went to the Northern Kyiv frontline to deliver the things to the guys. On the way back I just saw that Instagram was full of stories of 2 types “need help to bring” and “can help by bringing something”. So, I proposed to a couple of guys an idea of creating a group of Auto Volunteers. We created a chat, did some stories about it on Instagram and it just worked out. Further it is organically derived in what we do today.
Tell us about a time that you faced a challenging situation in your life, organization, business, or project. How did you find a solution, or over-come the challenge?
Being a volunteer in Ukraine is a challenge itself, because you need to find a lot of stuff with low resources “for yesterday”. This is all a big challenge itself (not the biggest one though), starting from saying goodbye to your career, education, salary and ambitions for an unknown period, finishing up driving somewhere unknown on the frontline in absolute darkness to find our guys and bring them what they need.
In my opinion, war is a challenge for any human affected by it, because you, your beliefs, character, morals and principles are tested in a real high pressure environment.
You can overcome all this just by reminding yourself why are you doing this.
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Running a business, an organization, a project is not always easy. What have your learned about yourself, about others along the way?
About myself I have learned that I am not made from steel (unfortunately), and that emotional burnout is a thing to take into consideration no matter what the circumstances are around you, and to manage it. Emotional burnout further may lead to bad managerial decisions or simply none, when they are in a crucial need to be done. This is a thing I am learning how to manage.
Regarding others I have noticed that one of the most dangerous enemies of people who are somehow involved in the war is human ego. It leads them to irrational decisions that badly influence the general efforts, as well as may lead to crucial consequences.
We've all had that one moment that makes what we are doing worth it all. Can you share with us a story about the moment that really impacted you and touched your heart?
Thinking about this question, I have no answer which story really impacted me. There are simply too many stories and memories in my head when I think of this.
Death of my friends, tears of women and children, ruined cities, dead bodies laying around, happy eyes of hungry children when they are brought food, goodbye kisses of couples before soldiers go to the battle, funerals and so on. Simply too many of that.
We are doing it, because we must. So this is over as soon as possible and russians are gone from our land.
If you could go back in time and give your self some advice on how to manage your business, nonprofit, or project, what advice would you give?
Biggest problem we are facing right now is a lack of donations, especially for the operational side of our NGO. We have never dedicated any finance for the operational purposes, because we always wanted to help civilians and soldiers more.
At the moment, personally I understand that this was a long term mistake, as we could have used that finance for our development, hence we could have done more cool things now and be more effective. Considering that a lot of things cannot be done without finance, this is slowing our development down.
Thus, my advice would be to plan the development of the NGO for the long term strategy, especially from the financial side.
If a potential client, donor, partner were reading this article right now, what would tell them about you, your team to convince them to choose you?
Our actions speak for themselves, thus we prefer to prove our value with our work, rather than words.
What is one fact about you, your business, your nonprofit, your project that most people might not know?
We are most likely the only NGO created during the war and that has developed organically just from random people meeting other random people. Most of the volunteers were not familiar with each other before the war, but we found the same grounds in our mission and values.
Where do you see your business, nonprofit, project going in the next 3 or 5 years?
I see our NGO helping out to rebuild Ukraine, fund the rehabilitation of soldiers (either physical or mental), and prepare our defense forces for another war with russia, because we doubt they will ever leave us alone.
It was so great sitting with you to learn more about you. How can people find out more about you, your business, nonprofit, or project?
Our Instagram is pretty live and reflects what we do on a daily basis. Other social media are available as well. Or just direct message me or any of the volunteers you see in our social media to find out more.
Thank you so much for sharing your story with HiHelloUkraine Story!
And thank you for what you are doing!
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