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Goodacity – Dare to be Good

Olha Sahal
Written by
Olha Sahal
Written by
Technical Writer at United Thinkers

I am the author of the Goodacity blog, a journalist, and a translator. For 16 years, I have worked in professional journalism, contributing to regional and national publications, both in print and online media. I have written reports, conducted interviews, reviews, articles on cultural, social, and charitable topics, as well as materials in the style of "solution journalism" and communication materials.
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Yulia Didyk
Reviewed by
Yulia Didyk
Reviewed by
Culture Manager at United Thinkers

I am a manager of cultural affairs and a project manager with over 14 years of experience at United Thinkers. I have participated in the organization of numerous successful social and charitable projects and have implemented informational campaigns and communication cases.
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Light for Heroes – From a Spirit Strong!

trench candles

“When I was making my first trench candles, I struggled a bit: my fingers don’t work well, so to cut the cardboard, I clamped the scissors in a vise and cut it that way. Yes, it’s not easy – but if I can’t help our boys physically, I can at least keep them warm in the trenches.”

When people have a big, warm heart, they want to warm others. Vadym Bazyuk moves in a wheelchair, but his heart and hands tirelessly create light and warmth for Ukrainian soldiers at the front. To date, he has made and sent to the front… seven thousand trench candles!

“Throughout the time I’ve been making candles, I’ve used about one and a half tons of paraffin. That’s just what I’ve bought, and then many people have brought or sent more… Right now, I have about 200 kilograms of paraffin in my workshop – but that won’t last long, I’ll go through it quickly. As I’m talking to you right now, I’m pouring candles. I want to use every free moment to help!”

trench candles

We Stayed Because We Believe in the Ukrainian Armed Forces!

A tragic accident 12 years ago changed his life – but it didn’t take away his spirit or his desire to bring light!

“I’m from the Ternopil region, Ukraine. I trained as a carpenter and then moved to Kyiv, Ukraine, for work. I lived and worked, and then disaster struck: I went swimming in a pond, jumped into the water awkwardly, and broke my cervical spine.”

The first few years were incredibly tough – life was divided into “before” and “after,” and he didn’t know how to go on. Friends helped him climb out of depression – one encouraged him to train, work on himself, and go to rehabilitation and health resorts. 

It was in one of these resorts in Saky, in the Ukrainian Crimea, in 2013, that Vadym met Iryna – she also uses a wheelchair.

“I realized I had found my destiny – and a few years later, we got married, I moved to her in Lviv region, Ukraine. We’ve been a family for seven years now, and three years ago, our daughter Sofiya was born! She is our greatest joy!” says Vadym.

When little Sofiya was just a year old, the full-scale war began…

“We were shocked, confused, worried – it’s hard to describe all the emotions! Both of us are in wheelchairs, with a small child – we couldn’t even go to a shelter… People were leaving in whole families, but we… decided to stay! Why, you ask? Because we believe in the Ukrainian Armed Forces!”

Despite having the opportunity to leave, they stayed and began helping the military.

trench candles

“We saw how incredibly bravely our soldiers were protecting us, standing up against the Muscovite horde – and we wanted to help them with everything we could,” the man explains.

At first, we donated to various funds and volunteers. Then, by chance, I saw an article about trench candles – back then, a year ago, the ‘boom’ for them was just beginning. I got interested, it became a kind of challenge for me – could I do it myself? It also happened that I had some of the materials for such candles: I’m a fishing enthusiast and had collected a lot of empty corn cans at home – I brought them home so as not to throw them away on the shore. And then I realized they could be useful. I told my wife – let’s try this, and she supported me in it. After my injury, my fingers don’t work, but I’ve always tried to do things on my own – I’ve tried carpentry before, making kitchen boards.”

Indeed, it was not easy for Vadym at first – cutting cardboard, rolling it, and dealing with hot paraffin was challenging. He vividly remembers his first batch of 13 trench candles, which he made and sent to the front all by himself!

trench candles

Trench Candles: Warmth for Heroes

“Once my family and friends realized I was serious about this, they started to help me out. I saw a device for rolling cardboard on social media – and a friend made one for me, which sped things up! And my wife’s nephew started helping with the paraffin: the large paraffin blocks had to be chopped into pieces, loaded into a container where they would melt. Initially, we melted the paraffin in a kettle, even tried making a fire and heating it in a bucket over the flames.”

Vadym was overjoyed when volunteers from Dnipro, Ukraine, learned about his efforts in making trench candles and sent him a special melting furnace – a unique device they crafted with an electric stove, above which a large metal drum with a tap is attached. You load the paraffin, it heats up, melts, and then you simply turn the tap to pour the wax into jars with cardboard – it’s very convenient, and work just took off with it!

trench candles-02

“I make different types of candles – smaller ones that burn for an hour or two and larger ones that can last up to eight hours of light and warmth! I take this seriously, conducting tests before pouring to see how long each candle burns, so now I know exactly.

I turned our summer kitchen into a workshop – now, all the work is buzzing there. Every day, I spend four to five hours working on candles – my family helps and supports me. My wife is with our daughter, but whenever she finds a free moment, she joins in to help. And little Sofiya is the main assistant! She brings the jars, packs them up. We’ve got a family volunteer effort going on here – and our daughter is already part of it. Sofiya is really amazing – she helps us so much, both at home and in volunteering, and she doesn’t even fully realize how much she’s done for our guys.”

“The guys write, thanking us – the candles are really useful, and I’m glad I can help in this way!”

In warm weather, the man himself delivered candles to “Nova Poshta” – attaching a special bike trailer to his wheelchair, driving to the post office, and sending them off. But since you can’t do that in the snow, now he asks friends-volunteers to pick up and deliver the candles, or the guys from “Nova Poshta” – they already know him, come over, and help out.

“I have a TikTok page where I talk about what I do – I want to inspire others to help, to make trench candles. Many people write, support, and help with supplies – paraffin is in high demand. People bring paraffin, churches donate wax – churches pass on the remnants of candles, beekeepers share beeswax – a mix of beeswax and paraffin burns longer and smells nice.

Thanks to everyone who helps, we’re able to buy thermal imagers, thermal underwear, chemical warmers for the guys, gather funds for vehicle repairs, and everything the military needs. Thank you to those who help, donate, and trust. Without you, none of this would be possible. I’m happy that my work can slightly ease the soldiers’ daily lives at the front and also contribute to our victory!

Many of our soldiers are receiving severe injuries, becoming disabled. What advice would I give them from my experience? For these guys not to shut themselves away, not to stay within four walls at home, but for friends and family to help them adapt. For a person with disabilities, support from friends is crucial. It’s very tough within four walls – I know from my own experience. And from my example, you can see that disability hasn’t stopped me from continuing to live, finding love, experiencing the joy of parenthood, and now helping our defenders!”