Interview with Svitlana Dreval

Meet Svitlana Dreval, Project Manager in Ukraine

Tell us a little about your background. What were you doing before the war?

I was born and raised in Kyiv. I graduated from the Economics Faculty of the University of Technology and Design and started searching in different directions to find my true path. Over the years, I have lived and worked in various parts of Ukraine. I created the first shopping complexes in Poltava, Chernihiv, and Crimea. I implemented projects for processing sludge and slag deposits in Donetsk and Dnipropetrovsk regions. I managed commercial real estate in Odesa, where I now live, having established myself as an entrepreneur in the advertising business. 

I considered myself a “worldly person,” traveling often and spending winters in Asia. But when the war broke out, I knew I would not be able to stay on the sidelines. My family made a conscious decision to fight.

How does the war affect your daily life?

My husband is at war. I experience both joy and loss with him every day. I work with hospitals, and it brings me immense happiness to be involved in doing good deeds through Nova Ukraine. At the same time, it highlights the price we pay for the peace at our home.

Why did you decide to work at Nova Ukraine?

At the beginning of the war, I used my own funds to assist hospitals in purchasing external fixation devices. But the hospitals’ needs grew, and the number of hospitals requiring assistance also increased. Meanwhile, my personal resources diminished. That’s when Nova Ukraine entered my life like a gust of hope and victory. From the very first day, even before becoming a foundation employee, I witnessed the round-the-clock dedication of the entire team. It was love at first sight. 

What’s your typical day at the office like? Please describe your daily activities and tasks.

Each day begins by reviewing the previous evening’s communications with colleagues in different time zones. Needs are constantly changing and we have to coordinate and re-prioritize daily.

Can you share with us a particular story that struck you?

I want to share my first case. We bought portable VAC devices for several hospitals, including one in Zaporizhzhia. A boy was brought there for the amputation of his right hand. The local doctor wanted to save this child’s hand. But the boy would have to be transferred to Zakarpattia, where neurosurgeons were on staff to operate. Our VAC device was given to the boy, and he was sent by train. But shelling began throughout Ukraine, and the train was delayed by eight hours. Throughout that time, the device continued to work, allowing the patient to reach the hospital without complications. The doctor called me later and said that thanks to that device, the boy’s hand was saved. 

What do you think Ukrainians need the most right now? (Besides victory.)

Faith, hope, attention, and continued support and assistance.

What is the most challenging part of your work at Nova Ukraine?

The 24-hour nature of the work. And accepting the harsh reality that not all requests can be fulfilled, no matter how hard we work. 

What is the most rewarding aspect?

Transformation and personal development. I constantly witness how the foundation team progresses, new projects emerge, and the wheat is separated from the chaff.

What else would you like our donors and readers to know about you and what you do at NU?

I will always regret the diminishment of my attention to the war from 2014 to 2022. I regret living with rose-colored glasses, thinking the war in another region wasn’t real. Now I understand that everything that happens everywhere is interconnected, and it is necessary to resist aggression wherever it occurs. 

I want to say that war is terrifying and painful. Please support the people who sacrifice their lives in both the literal and figurative sense. Even if the war in Ukraine seems distant to you, it isn’t. Becoming part of Nova Ukraine is a way to help change the world for the better.

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