War Stories continues to publish war stories of volunteers of the Kyiv Volunteer Charity Foundation.
This is the story of a volunteer from Georgia – Irakli Kalandadze, who came to Kyiv to help Ukrainians after learning about the Russian invasion.
On February 24, Russia invaded Ukraine, and this nightmare began again. At that time, I was at home in Georgia and watched on TV how Russian troops were bombing buildings, killing civilians, older people, women, and children. They were doing the same thing they did in Georgia in the past years. Ukrainians have always been friends of the Georgian people, and it was hard for me to just sit at home and watch my friends, who are fighting for the freedom of their country, suffer. The only thing I could think about was the war in Ukraine. “Children”, this caption in front of the theater in Mariupol will never disappear from my memory because children and the time spent with them are the most magical thing for me. And I watched as our common enemy killed them.
Angry and emotionally exhausted, I crossed the border of Ukraine on April 6, and everything changed in me. Full of pride, energy, love, anger, and hatred, but also with great hope for victory, I arrived in Kyiv and started looking for volunteer work. Soon I met a person for whom I feel special respect and admiration. Leyla Tuvaklieva, the director of Kyiv Volunteer Charity Foundation, who knew about me only that I am Irakli from Georgia, gave me the opportunity to do what I love the most. She allowed me to join her team and help people suffering from incredible pain today.
Over the past five months, my love for the Ukrainian people has grown immeasurably. I have made many friends here who do everything, so I don’t feel far from home. They do it so well, and I am so grateful to each of them.
Ukraine celebrates its Independence Day so let August 24 become a symbol of victory and peace for Ukrainians, as well as for people from Georgia and all humanity. I am Irakli Kalandadze from free, independent, and beautiful Georgia. I continue to volunteer and do my best for the Ukrainian people. Victory is near. May God bless you all.