Problems grew every day
When the humanitarian problems started growing every day after Russia’s invasion, the many offers of assistance from abroad gave Zelenska the idea of creating an aid foundation.
“There were many requests to help Ukraine,” she says. “My main task, the foundation’s main task, is really to accumulate aid. And I hope I succeed.”
The foundation is also using funds to:
- renovate medical clinics and provide medicine and medical supplies
- keep people working by giving them new office space
- make sure children attend school by repairing public buildings and providing bomb shelters
- offer grants for training and scientific research
- support a mental health programme for Ukrainians suffering from the horrors of war, including people who have become disabled.
How not to fall apart
Keeping electricity and gas supplies operating has been one of the most critical issues this winter in Ukraine, Zelenska says.
“It’s incredibly inspiring to see Kyiv illuminated with lanterns in the evening,” she says. “This means we are standing our ground.”
Everyone is working, she adds, some in the trenches in the military and others in offices and others on the streets, and children are going to school. “Working keeps us from falling apart into little pieces and it inspires you to get up in the morning.”
There is still a big need for foreign support, Zelenska says. This help, in the form of financial or military aid, or the daily public statements from leaders around the world, encourages Ukrainians to keep fighting.
“Our economy is not designed for such significant losses as we see today,” she says. “We still need to hold on for a long time, and we have to prepare for the fact that help will still be needed.”
There is an impression among some Ukrainians, Zelenska says, that parts of the world are beginning to forget that the war is still raging.
“By forgetting about Ukraine now, people also forget about their own future,” she says. “We all of course are waiting for victory. We are all sure of it. To get it, we still need to work a lot.”