Volodymyr Yurchenko, 65, is originally from Dnipro but moved to Irpin, Ukraine, a few years ago. When the full-scale invasion began, he did not hesitate to use his experience of being a conscript in the army for local territorial defence forces. He taught young civilian defenders practical skills, dug trenches, and stood guard. Later, he was forced to evacuate to Poland but returned home in just a month, eager to get back to his life.
Volodymyr lives alone. His wife, daughter, and new granddaughter live in Dnipro. He teaches children chess in a small school, on the ground floor of a residential building in Irpin. The building was damaged during the hostilities but was recently renovated and resumed hosting chess classes. It is here that Volodymyr finds joy in shaping young minds.
The work, though part-time, gives him some financial independence. The needs are plenty, with the most pressing of them being his poor eyesight.
“I need surgery to save my eyes. I know where I could get it and how much it would cost but I do not like asking for help. I try to earn my own living,” he says proudly.