Let's do good together!

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— Mr. Yaroslav, readers of the newspaper "Visti Kovelshchyna" generally know about your public organization, because in the past we published some materials. But I would like to know more about her.

— The non-governmental organization "Gesture of Help" belongs to the Civil Society organizations, the national network of which is quite extensive. We have been working for 7 years. The main purpose of our activity is charity and volunteering.

— But there are many such associations in Ukraine. What is special about "Gesture of help"?

— I will say briefly: we are unique because from the first days we began to engage in specific work with people who are sometimes called "disabled" in society. They are not always surrounded by the appropriate attention in the society, not always, as they say, "hands" reach them in state institutions.

We started with the fact that near Kovel, our activists equipped a rehabilitation and recreation center for people with disabilities, veterans of labor. Since 2017, we have annually held a several-week gathering here under the name "Unity". In the first year, almost 150 people attended the event, and already in 2021, the number reached 212 people.

Since 2020, the NGO "Gesture of Help" has become a member of the All-Ukrainian Assembly of People with Disabilities, which made it possible to receive funding from international organizations for the financial support of such activities.

— Obviously, with the beginning of the full-scale aggression of Russia, the directions and content of the work changed somewhat?

- Undoubtedly. We began to actively provide assistance to people who became victims of Russian aggression.

- What kind of?

— Organized transport for their evacuation to Kovel. Here they provided temporary shelter or assisted in going abroad. In addition, since the beginning of the war, our volunteers have been transporting people from the most dangerous regions of the country every week. After the liberation of these territories, food products began to be delivered here,

personal hygiene products and medicines.

Activists of "Gesture of Help" organized the transfer of humanitarian aid to the population affected by Russian aggression in Okhtyrka, Lyman, as well as in the villages of Cherkasy and Chernihiv regions.

— Do you help the Armed Forces of Ukraine?

— This assistance is one of our priorities today. In particular, it was possible to "cover" the needs of three military units and purchase HyundaiTerracan, LendRover and HyundaiH1 cars for them.

Members of the "Gesture of Help" NGO organize the collection and delivery of food, personal hygiene products, special equipment and clothing for servicemen of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and the National Guard of Ukraine.

So, almost 4 tons of food kits, hygiene products, sleeping bags and clothes were collected and handed over to one of the military units of NSU. The help of public activists was noted by the former Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, General Valery Zaluzhnyi, who awarded the team with a certificate.

— We know from media reports that the authorities in Volyn do not miss the attention of your colleagues.

- So. On the occasion of the International Day of Volunteers, which was celebrated on December 5, 2023, awards were presented to our activists by the head of the Volyn Regional Military Administration, Yuriy Pogulayko. Thanks, in particular, were announced to the members of the "Gesture of Help" NGO Kateryna Mykhailiuk and Pavlo Smal.

Congratulating them, the head of OVA sincerely and warmly said: "Thank you for your daily hard work! What you are doing is a great contribution to Victory. May the Lord always protect you and give you strength, strength and good health!". Touching words that oblige us to work even better, even more efficiently.

— The word "gesture" is in the name of your public organization. In what context is it used?

— Due to the full-scale war unleashed by Russia against Ukraine, the number of people who have lost their hearing and are forced to communicate in sign language, which very few people know, has increased significantly.

So the activists of the NGO "Gesture of Help" decided to create a School of such a language, within the framework of which we conduct free courses of Ukrainian sign language for veterans of the Armed Forces, police officers and representatives of local self-government. The courses have already been successfully conducted in the Volyn, Rivne, and Lviv regions and have received high praise from both state authorities and their participants. We plan to open a similar school in Ivano-Frankivsk region in May.

In this important direction, my first deputy, director of the Department of Service to People with Hearing Impairments of the UHCHE, Pavlo Oleksandrovych Smal, is actively working. With the thanks of the head of the OVA, which I mentioned above, he was well deserved.

— Your organization has its own page on Facebook. Recently, it was reported there that, in addition to the various types of assistance to the Armed Forces, which you mentioned, your activists began to repair vehicles for the military.

— Our volunteers have already successfully repaired a jeep for the 3rd separate assault brigade and delivered it near Izyum. We also started repairing the Volkswagen T5 for the 95th Separate Airborne Assault Brigade.

Using this opportunity, I would like, through the newspaper "Visti Kovelshchyna", to appeal to those who wish to help the Armed Forces, to participate in the repair and delivery of transport 

these means to the soldiers defending the Ukrainian land. You can help by making a donation to the account of our organization UA 9630529900000260090 30800423.

I cannot help but mention another good deed of our volunteers. At the request of military unit A 4005, the activists of "Gesture of Help" purchased 12 airsoft assault rifles, 13 batteries, 6 chargers, 12 ballistic batteries, 12 protective masks, etc. This is an important step in the direction of supporting the soldiers of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, and we are grateful to everyone who joined this initiative. Our joint and united actions demonstrate the great strength of the human community and dedication to the sacred cause of the struggle for a free and independent Ukraine.

— It would be interesting to hear, Mr. Yaroslav, information about your nearest plans.

— We want to "launch" our new Center for people with disabilities and war veterans in the summer. Every day, from morning to night, the "Gestu dobuja" team works on the arrangement of the rooms, as well as the territory, to ensure maximum comfort and convenience for those who will stay here.

In July, we plan to hold the traditional event "Unity" in the new Center. We believe that as a result of improving the conditions of stay here, the vacation for our wards will become more pleasant, in fact unforgettable. Once again, I urge those who wish to join our common cause, help to create good together and make this world a better place together.

— Well, I am sincerely grateful to you for an interesting and meaningful conversation! I will say frankly: I am pleasantly surprised by the scale of activity of the public organization "Gesture of Help", the activity of their members. This is of great importance at a time when Ukraine is fighting for its will and independence, the right to life for each of its citizens.

God's blessing to you and the team of volunteers for each coming day, new achievements for the good of society and especially those who need your help the most!

Mykola VELMA led the conversation.