B50 is celebrating its first anniversary! And on this occasion, we want to remind how it all began😊
In the first weeks of the full-scale invasion, the founders of the community met under the walls of the Territorial defense forces headquarters with a secret address of B50 (hence our name), and then united the reservists and their friends around the achievement of the global goal of eliminating the consequences of the russian invasion.
After the de-occupation of Kyiv region, already in April, B50 activists visited Irpin, Bucha, Hostomel, Vorzel, Borodianka, and helped clean the streets from the consequences of hostilities and the russian invasion. The first trip took place on April 6, so today we are celebrating the birthday of our community😊
First, we volunteered in collaboration with local administrations, communal services and other organizations (for example, with the #SaveFOP initiative, which later turned into Toloka). And a month and a half after the first work trip, B50 completely took over the administration of the trips – from finding those who need help to providing volunteers with inventory.
During the year, the organization grew, determined the areas of activity most relevant for the reconstruction and development of the country, and diligently worked within these areas. We ask you to join the activities of the B50 – physically, informationally, financially!
We also want to get a little nostalgic and share the memories of the founders and first volunteers of B50.
Oleksandr Kramarenko, founder of the B50 community, talks about how the idea to clean up de-occupied cities came and test trip organization:
Then, in early April, we had just completed the first stream of weapons training for the territorial defense and reservists and were looking for how else we could be useful. Orcs just left the Kyiv region and my wife suggested we could go and clear the debris. I made a list of 5 cities, started calling, writing in Telegram/Facebook.
The first trip was to Irpin. It was a test ride, because we didn’t know what to do there and how, but we had to try. Nevertheless, 20 people wanted to go! I took with me a tourniquet, Esmarch tourniquets, hydrogen peroxide – just in case. Although we were told that it was safe there, that the sappers checked everything.
We cleaned the central streets of the city then. I actually had a record of 31,000 steps in a day!
We organized the first trips ourselves. I asked people to bring water / food, tools (if someone had them). There was almost no communication there, so we always moved in columns: we left the Epicenter on Bratislavska Street, and the boys joined along the route.
Denys Herasymov, director of the “B50 Volunteers” charitable foundation, talks about the origin of the name of the organization:
The first asset of our volunteer community was the territorial defense reservists who could not sign a contract, but felt the need to do something for the country. Then Oleksandr Kramarenko offered to organize the first trips to Irpin. In order to somehow mark ourselves in the crowd of people willing to help, we used B50 – the concise name of the location of the territorial defense, to which everyone belonged.
The name caught on rather quickly, and a little later, Oleksandr and I added the word “volunteers” to this name, and thus later it became the name of the community. And in general, the abbreviated designation of the Territorial Defense “B50” appeared in the crowd who stood in line to sign the contract with the Territorial Defense in February 2022. With it, we marked the address of the Territorial Defense headquarters, our meeting point. The name of the street and the house number were abbreviated to avoid mentioning the direct address of the headquarters, because at that time enemy sabotage and reconnaissance groups were working en masse in Kyiv.
Diana Naichenko, one of the first B50 volunteers, talks about her impressions of the first volunteer trips:
We were going to Irpin since the very morning, and it was still cold. There were checkpoints everywhere, documents were checked.
There was still a lot of fuss from the host side, it took a lot of time. When we arrived in Irpin, I was very scared: there were many strangers, and I only knew Sashkо. And I was next to him: “Sasha, don’t leave! I don’t know who it is, what it is!”. We were led to some street, to the private sector. There was trash there – a lot of glass, garbage. All this had to be cleaned. We were warned that the sappers could have missed something, that it was dangerous, that we had to be very careful. At first, I did so: I looked at almost every blade of grass. Then I got tired and started waving this rake normally, in a human way. I realized that I don’t want to sit at home.
And sometime in April, I started riding around cities and villages and volunteering. Irpin, Bucha, Hostomel, Vorzel, Borodianka, Moshchun…
This is how it all began, and what happened next – you already know)) Thank you to the B50 volunteers for this year spent together! Thank you for your kindness, sensitivity, and help! We love and appreciate you!