15 September 2021

Olga Tkachenko and Olga Skarlat both graduated from the same SE MBA class DBA class. When studying at MIM-Kyiv they decided to launch charitable activities. They were building on their volunteering experience acquired when helping Ukrainian Army. At that time they were mostly following their heart. Nowadays, both Olgas believe that philanthropy calls for business approaches. Otherwise, ineffective activities will result in burnout. They are applying their business acumen to helping orphans and children from vulnerable families to join the camp “I’ve Managed” organized by the Benefactors’ Club that supports the aspirations of vulnerable children. In particular, successful entrepreneurs who knew hard times as children present their experiences and act as role models. 

Olga Tkachenko and Olga Skarlat shared their opinions on why people are engaged in philanthropy and what the challenges are. 

When did you start volunteering?

Olga Skarlat: In 2014, when the war had begun Olga told about her visit to the hospital on Facebook. At that time, we had mutual friends but never met. 

Olga Tkachenko: I could not stay away. Together with Lesya Vasylenko, my close friend and currently the MP we founded “Legal Hundred”, a non-profit association. Then I supplied equipment to Irpin military hospital and Central military hospital. We also assisted children of military men killed in action and displaced people. At a certain point, we burned out and needed professional help. 

That was the reason to change your approaches to charity?

Olga Tkachenko: When my former employee took the job with the Benefactors’ Club she told me about the organization. Maria Artemenko founded the Club in 2015 to help orphans and children from vulnerable families to get access to education. “I’ve Managed” camp is our third project implemented together with the Club. We aim to raise enough money to pay for the education of 60 teenagers. Olga’s and my initial contribution of UAH 100 000 is the first step towards the necessary UAH 500 000. We hope that MIM-Kyiv’s community will follow our example. 

Why did you decide to donate your own money?

Olga Tkachenko: We provide them with a necessary vehicle. Social services who know well all families in neighborhoods help us to select motivated children. Business is interested in well-to-do communities. We want to make children trust in their right to be successful and thus push them up. 

Olga Skarlat: We understand that those children were traumatized before. We want them to see that the situations could different. We want them to gain self-confidence. We want them to see with their own eyes that they can change their lives for the better. Overcoming life obstacles is very hard. We want to show them that it is cool and possible. 

I enjoy helping others because I can help. I was lucky to be born in an affluent family but I want to give back. When volunteering in military hospitals I did all kinds of work. When other people asked why I was doing that, I understood that I had to. 

You act as a bridge between those who want to help and those who need help. What are the most frequent biases from each side?

Olga Tkachenko: Some of my classmates were not involved in charity because they did not which organization they could trust. We are a kind of intermediary in such cases. In the kids' project, we have our portion of work based on our access to the resources. Other people do other things like selecting children. Thus we create synergies. 

Olga Skarlat: I joined the project when we were on our study tour to South Africa. Olga told me about the project. As I completely trust her, I immediately joined it. We want other people to understand the value of trust. The trust helps us to raise more money. Charity and social work are not for everyone, and it is not a problem. It is trust that can bring more people and more resources to support good causes.