President of Ukraine

Volunteers are the most powerful part of the civil society of Ukraine - address by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on the International Volunteer Day

5 December 2022 - 17:12

Volunteers are the most powerful part of the civil society of Ukraine - address by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on the International Volunteer Day

Fellow Ukrainians!

Today is International Volunteer Day. International, yet so Ukrainian.

This is the day of millions of our people. Not hundreds, not thousands, but millions. This is the day of everyone who helps defend the state. Everyone who helps protect the people. All those who give their soul, time, and money for Ukraine and Ukrainians to succeed. To win.

The volunteer movement in our country rose in waves from Maidan, from 2014 and from February 24. The waves that were getting higher and stronger.

Today, volunteers are the most powerful part of Ukrainian civil society. This is a movement that unites all cities and communities of our country and all social groups.

And this is an idea that attracts millions of people from different countries of the world to the Ukrainian struggle for freedom.

Today is the day of very famous organizations, whose names every Ukrainian has heard, and the day of people whose names do not yet sound throughout the country, but who, together with everyone, will feel that this is their result on the day of our victory.

This is the day of Veteran Hub and Army SOS, “Zgraya” and “Aerorozvidka”, KSE Foundation and those who founded and help “Nebesna Gvardiya” project.

The day of "Hospitallers" and all paramedics and doctors who help at the front. This is the day of "Kryla Peremogy" and NGO "Zemliachky", “Povernys Zhyvym" and "Motohelp" foundations, Serhiy Prytula Foundation and the Volunteer Hundred of Dobrovolia, "Kolo" and "Solomyanski Kotyky" foundations, the Marlog Center and the Ukrainian Volunteer Service, Razom for Ukraine, "Narodny Tyl" association, Help Army volunteer group and the Ukrainian Red Cross Society. This is the day of United24 and each of the more than a hundred countries who help us buy ambulances or naval drones. This is the day of star ambassadors who have also become volunteers and direct the power of the world for Ukraine.

Today is the day of Kharkiv “Pidtrymka Zakhysnykiv” Foundation and Lviv NGO “Nezalezhni”, the day of the Union of Ukrainian Women from the Ivano-Frankivsk region and the Kramatorsk Center “Razom do Peremohy”, “Angely Spasinnia” Foundation from the Donetsk region and  NGO “Miskyi Tsentr Dopomohy” from Zaporizhzhia.

This is the day of SpivDiia and PLAST, NGO "Ridne Polissia", the Active Rehabilitation Group, the Ukrainian Women's Battalion, "Kotyky-Patriotyky" and "Dobra Sprava", Let's help, "Kharkiv z Toboyu" foundations, HopeUA, "Tvoya Opora", "My z Ukrainoyu" and "Rayon Nomer 1".

And also the day of Yevhen Subota, coordinator of volunteer centers in Hostomel. Ulyana Hredil from NGO "Apostolska Chota". NGO "Zakhyst - Obyednannia Volonteriv". Yulia Konovalova, head of NGO "Liudy Usiudy" and volunteer of the World Central Kitchen project. Volodymyr Firman, rector of Zarvanytsia Marian Spiritual Centre.

This is the day of the Ukrainian Catholic University and dozens of universities and student communities in our country and abroad, which have joined the defense of our state, freedom and people. And humanity.

That's why today we thank organizations like Zoopatrol and UAnimals, and everyone who knows that saving animals is also saving souls.

You probably know most of these names, you may have already helped some of these organizations and projects. But the volunteer movement is much larger and broader. These are thousands of structures, tens of thousands of people who care and millions of those who join.

This is the day of those who were looking for bulletproof vests on Maidan and continued to look for and deliver everything that might be necessary for the frontline.

This is the day of those who make camouflage nets: Lviv, Rivne and thousands of other Ukrainian cities and villages, tens of thousands of people.

This is the day of ordinary Ukrainians who help us all solve very difficult tasks. They help restore the energy sector after strikes. Return normal life to the de-occupied territory.

This is the day of those who provide rehabilitation and prosthetics. Who provide psychological help. Who support displaced persons. Who help those released from captivity. Who bake bread for the military and deliver food to the most dangerous places.

This is the day of the drivers who helped with the evacuation and the delivery of the humanitarian aid. This is the day of many different people who all together strengthen Ukraine.

This is the day of thousands of Ukrainian businesses that made their projects to help the army and ordinary people or joined existing volunteer programs. And the day of businessmen who do everything to strengthen Kharkiv and Zaporizhzhia, not Monaco and Vienna.

Although the volunteer movement has become part of the foundation of Ukraine, we did not have a special award that could become a symbol of our gratitude to volunteers and those who give strength to this movement. Who give a part of their own life to help save the lives of others. Now there is such an award.

This is the heart. The heart of gold for the ordinary people who protect us all.

This year, we establish such an award. For those who really deserve it. Those whose hearts are of gold, and that is why they are volunteers.

Today I named 50 volunteer groups whose representatives will receive an award this year.

And every year we will celebrate volunteer projects, other organizations, and new personalities. People should know who provides this aid for Ukraine. People should know whose heart gives us such a result, for which Ukrainians are grateful.

Glory to everyone who helps our defense!

Glory to everyone who helps our volunteers!

Gratitude to everyone who is involved in the work of the volunteers!

And congratulations on Volunteer Day!

Glory to Ukraine!