Joining a local community was an important part of moving to Ukraine

Pictured: Ian Bearder - Founder RUNDAY

Ian Bearder


May 24, 2024

Pictured is Australian Daisy volunteering at the Runday races

Natasha Blumer (Daisy) moved from Germany to Ukraine on a Friday night. The next morning she found herself volunteering for Runday.

“(Volunteering) makes me feel like Ukraine is more home as opposed to me just living here as an expat,” says Daisy who originally hails from Australia.

A chance encounter between her partner Jan and Runday founder Ian back in 2015, before the couple moved to Kyiv, led to a fantastic volunteering experience three years later, in September 2018.

“When we moved here, we were looking for an apartment. And (Jan) thought of the nice Runday man, and Ian is now our housemate,” Daisy shares. 

A runner herself, she found a real passion in this free weekly running project, and now helps it in many different ways: from doing warmups and warm-downs to timing and providing tea for runners.

However, her true innate talent is best showcased via another centrepiece of a successful sports event – spirit building.

“Because I’m Australian, and a very loud Australian, I tend to do a lot of promotion. That, a lot of the time, is spreading the word… I try to essentially be a bit of a spirit builder. I have my whistle, I cheer people on,” Daisy says.

Despite Runday being her first volunteering experience, Daisy felt how it helped her develop a community in Kyiv straight away.

“As a foreigner, I feel the main benefit for me is that I feel part of the community. I know people, people smile, and it’s giving me more confidence to then try and use my language skills… I feel like I’m connected to the culture more, I feel something in common and experience something with Ukrainians. And I get fit,” she laughs.

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