My name is Olga Serdyuk, and for 15 years before the war, I was involved in charitable and social projects as the program director at the Olena Pinchuk Foundation. I believe that this experience helped me stay in Kyiv from the first day of the war. I was taught to do my best, never to expect gratitude or praise, and later on to see the results of my efforts.
During the war, my Kyiv became empty, gloomy, and frightened either by the terrible silence, the explosions or the work of artillery or air defense. But neither I nor any family member had the question of leaving the city. Someone had to stay to help the Armed Forces and fill the capital with life. It is simply impossible to describe the fear when a missile falls a kilometer away from your home at night. These are the worst moments of my life, for now…
I hardly slept for 55 days. But somehow, quite strangely, I had enough physical resources for work, volunteering, taking interviews and running the column "I'm staying" in NV and for keeping the household, which also fell on me. As in any crisis, the burden on women is the greatest. But I'm not complaining. This war allowed everyone to find their place in it. Someone with a weapon in their hand, someone with a phone, someone with a microphone, someone with a pan – all roles are equally important. The war has put everything in its place, and mine, here and now, is in the vortex of events, not only with Ukraine in the heart but also in the heart of Ukraine.
Even before the war, we talked a lot about women's support, but during the war, this issue became more critical than ever. Unfortunately, as of now, we see the atomization of society. And before we talk about rebuilding the country, in my opinion, we must first rebuild the nation. Now we focus on the common super goal of winning. However, we still manage to divide ourselves into those who stayed and those who left, those who are at war and those who are in the office, those who are not patriotic enough, and pseudo-patriotic. We declare unity, but we do not want to recognize decisions that differ from our own. We talk about tolerance of choice, but we isolate ourselves from each other. Each of us became a Ukrainian, even if they were not, but we still have to go through rebuilding a genuinely monolithic nation.