Social work cannot be learned, you have to come to it,
you have to understand and like it

Forced to leave the city of Slavyansk, in 2014, Eleanor Rudenko for a long time did not want to try on herself the status of a displaced person, hoping for her return home, she considered it useless. But her friends, nevertheless, convinced her that the status of IDPs was a very important thing and should not be abandoned. Now Eleanor understands that if she did not receive this status, her life could have turned out in a completely different way, and acquaintance with the public organization OP “Spilna Sprava” might not have taken place. But, fortunately, fate decreed differently, and Eleanor actively develops herself in the public sphere, helping people and hoping that someday, her life and the lives of her countrymen will change for the better.

Before moving to Vinnitsa, Eleanor Rudenko worked in the field of trade, which she continued to do in the new city. At the first time, her acquaintance with the public organization OP “Spilna Sprava” was just in the framework of humanitarian aid. After that she visited various events and workshops for adults and children organized by a public organization, where Eleanor was with her child. At first, she refused to believe in the seriousness of the organization, and only making sure that it  “really” works, conducts active social activities and actually helps people, Eleanor Rudenko decided to join the ranks of the public organization “Spilna Sprava”.

Eleanor, tell me, about your first steps in the public organization «Spіlna Sprava»? What are you doing now?

At first, in truth, I didn’t understand where I got and what to do. I have never encountered such work before, and there were no problems earlier that existed in 2014. But, as problems arrived, appropriate solutions were found. I can say one thing, this work cannot be learned. You have to come to it, you have to understand and like it. And now, I am happy with what I do. Now,  it is mainly a children’s direction.

Today, we are working on the project “Mrii pro dytynstvo”, which was supported by the Zagorii Family Foundation (“Schedriy Vіvtorok”). It will be a photo exhibition, as well as a social video. The photographs will show our children. In general, this will be a comparative picture of how the child came here and what he achieved in these five years. After all, we want to show that we did not lose our heart, and that we have lots of achievements. In addition, children are much easier to get used to changing the pace.  They gain new knowledge, acquaintances and continue to develop. Many children, during this time, have opened up new talents and opportunities that they did not have before. Parents fully supported this initiative and agree that it is necessary to talk about it, and it must be shown.

Eleanor, tell us how often you organize recreational activities and, possibly, tourist trips for IDPs?

We will try to do this as often as we can afford it. I want to note that IDPs are our target audience, but we also provide assistance to families who find themselves in difficult life situations, large families and low-income families. Once a year, we organize a trip to the “Kidlandia” children’s entertainment center, which is located in Kiev. It is the largest children’s park of professions, very similar to a real city. There are 50 gaming stations and each of them introduces children various activities. Therefore, children are looking forward to this trip, because they not only have fun and usefully, but also learn a lot, getting vivid, unforgettable impressions. A trip to «Kidlandia» was organized by the public organization «Spilna Sprava» with the financing of the Regional Department of Social Policy.

We have established very close communication with our parents, and our trip to the Carpathians, which I was directly involved in, was our unforgettable trip too. The program included joint visits to museums, joint walks, and we were able to visit five different points in the Ivano-Frankivsk region. In fact, in everyday life this is very lacking. In turn, this gave positive impetus to communication between parents and children. In particular, parents learned a lot about the interests and hobbies of their children. It was then that I realized that there are a lot of people like me in Vinnitsa. And some time after our close communication, it turned out that I already officially started working in the public association “Spilna Sprava”.

Our organization has already drawn up a plan for 2020 and submitted a budget for the activities that we would like to carry out. We plan to have two trips only for children, and two trips for children and their parents. Parents, unfortunately, do not have enough time to pay attention to the children, because in their life there is constant material stress. In this regard, we would like to give them the opportunity to communicate with each other, to unite and just spend time together.

Tell me, Eleanor, do you have to face certain difficulties in your working process? If so, with which ones?

A very large number of people pass through our public organization. And every person comes with his own mood, with his emotions, pain, questions … And all of this is individual. One person may come depressed, but after our communication with him, he leaves already with a smile on his face. Moreover, when people find out that we are the same displaced people as they are, they come to understand that you can open up and, without a shadow of a doubt, calmly talk about everything.

Also, in my opinion, one of our problems, today, is that we do not have enough specialists such as a psychologist and a lawyer. For example, I have to redirect a person to specialists who collaborate with our public organization, although he could get this help here, on the spot. Next year we will again have to combine these different points and all in one location, but we would like it to be a consultation of this or that specialist.

«This work cannot be learned. You have to come to it, you have to understand and like it.»

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