“My task is to ensure that every day of the child is the best option for his life,” Olha Kudinenko, creator of the Tabletochki charitable foundation
Olha Kudinenko is the creator of the Tabletochki charity foundation, which helps children who have cancer. For 10 years, the foundation has provided support to 5500 patients.
On the Big Fish Youtube channel, Olha spoke about the way the organization works, how they work with partners, and why charity always goes hand in hand with system changes.
ABOUT THE TABLETOCHKI FOUNDATION
My task is to ensure that every day of the child is the best option for his life. Even if our ward is dying, we will do everything to make his dreams come true, and he receives pain relief and proper nutrition.
ABOUT THE BUDGET OF THE FUND
It is about 10 million UAH per month. In October, we provided assistance in the amount of 11.3 million UAH. When we buy equipment, we spend more. Last year it turned out to be 100 million, this one the sum will be more — about 150 million.
ABOUT THE DIRECTIONS OF WORK
We have 4 directions. The first is targeted assistance, everything related to the treatment process. Further, depending on the result, it is either a psychosocial rehabilitative program for children, or palliative care and support of parents after losing a child. The third is the purchase of equipment and consumables for hospitals, repairs, an educational program for doctors. The fourth is the protection of the rights of a child with cancer.
ABOUT FEES AND PRIORITIES
In Ukraine, we are the largest fund. It makes no sense to compare with US. They admire our fundraising technologies. We have been asked to speak at fundraising conferences for other countries so that we can talk about our experience in Ukraine. We focus not on the amount of money collected, but on the changes. My result is the level of recovery of children in Ukraine. How much do we raise? Not enough.
Every project is my favourite. Every year Aroma Kava makes a special offer: one hryvnia from each large cup goes towards helping children with cancer. This is the first all-Ukrainian chain of coffee shops that has made such partnership with us.
The largest campaign is “It concernes me. And you?” More than 13 celebrities have supported it. Last year, in two weeks, we raised 10 million hryvnia, this year 29.5 million hryvnia per month. This is an absolute record.
ABOUT THE STRUCTURE OF THE FUND
Mostly women work for us. They are, in my observation, more stress-resistant. The team is structured in following manner: me, the founder, the CEO of the fund, Slava Bykov, and a management team — 4 girls, who they work with their teams. Slava is responsible for everyone, and I work with Slava.
ABOUT RENOUNCING THE SALARY FROM THE FOUNDATION
I work in the foundation for free. My ex-husband supports me financially. I am also counseling on the topic of fundraising. I want to earn money, but I do not want to receive a salary from the fund. At the moment, I can afford to do so.
I believe that charity can be public. To motivate others. There was a story when one person transferred a bitcoin to us every Friday, we are very grateful to him. In total, we received about 18 bitcoins. Today it is over a million dollars.
ABOUT ATTITUDE TO PATIENTS
In Ukraine, a child is not perceived as a person. They don’t tell him what they will do with him. It is concerned, that the child is capricious and can be patient, therefore, most procedures do not include painkillers.
Treatment in post-Soviet countries is a traumatic experience. The process that requires a whole team abroad is throwen together by two people here. It is impossible to demand some kind of extra-relation to the spiritual component of the patient from them. I am aware of all this, but this is not the norm.
ABOUT SUPPORTING OTHER FUNDS
The Tabletochki Foundation is the first on the list, but I also support SickKids, helped the SOS Children’s Villages, Vera, Pravmir, Zhiznelyub, Dobrodiy, and Ukraine Without Waste funds. I do a lot for fun, curiosity and professional development.
ABOUT PSYCHOLOGICAL CARE
I regularly visit a psychotherapist, but I hardly discuss work there. My problem is that there are almost no children in the offices where I work. We’re talking about donation returns, reporting, percentages of survival. In an entrepreneurial language. I am morally supported by my ex-husband.
ABOUT THE FUND’S ADVANTAGES
We have many partners. Some negotiations take more than two years. It is necessary to explain why it is important to help within the foundation, to hear their needs, to demonstrate ours. Charity is not on everyone’s list of priorities. When we are refused, I get upset.
However, even with money, you cannot do what the foundation does. Due to the fact that you do not have such competencies and opportunities. You cannot buy medicines that are not available in Ukraine, you cannot provide psychological assistance. We have been doing this for 10 years. You don’t need a legal organization to help, you need specialists, knowledge and expertise.
TO HELP OR TO CHANGE CONDITIONS
It comes in a bundle. If only to help, but not to change the conditions, we will have to help always. And if we only change the conditions, then those who need help will not receive it and may suffer. The standard of living, the level of awareness of one’s rights and one’s role in society must change.
ABOUT THE DREAM
My dream is that the level of treatment in Ukraine changes dramatically. I am motivated by the opportunity to make the world a better place for me and my daughter. I want her children to feel safer and more confident in this world. I am a dreamer, visionary and the engine of many processes. I am a person who sees no obstacles. Am I a volunteer? Well, yes, I am a volunteer. I am also an entrepreneur, a negotiator.