Natalia Syvak: how a mother of 6 combines family, work and charity

Being a mother is challenging. But being a mother of six, running her project, and engaging in charity work seems downright impossible. However, Ukrainian Natalia Sivak proves that anything is possible!


The founder of the charitable foundation “MOM plus ME”, assisting orphans and children affected by war the author of the mentorship program “Path to Health”, television host, entrepreneur in the event industry, and a mother of six – this is all about Natalia Sivak. Even during a full-scale war, she did not lose herself and continued to develop her initiatives.

 

Sometimes finding balance is difficult, but my main motivation is the most important goal – to be useful here and now. This year, I seriously focused on my health and attitude toward life, making it easier to balance. The most critical thing is to love what you do and do what truly brings benefit and satisfaction”, Natalia shares her experience.

 

Natalia has been involved in charity work for almost 30 years – starting with volunteering at a children’s home in her adolescence, and 16 years ago, she established a professional charitable foundation.

Regarding her attitude towards volunteering, Natalia says: “Volunteering is a part of my worldview and philosophy. There are no strangers’ children for me, so I can never pass by the stories of children who need help. In orphanages or foster families, children in hospitals and shelters. I always try to help financially or at least with information. I always say that a small help is better than great sympathy”.

 

Helping children is a close and very personal matter for Natalia. Her mother became an orphan during the Second World War and spent her entire childhood in an orphanage. So, from birth, Natalia knew who “orphans” were and how life without parents could affect even her mother’s smile. Perhaps this is one of the main reasons why Natalia chose to focus on helping orphaned children. But concrete actions were prompted by the birth of her daughter.

 

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When my oldest daughter was born and ended up in intensive care, I saw children there whose parents had abandoned them. It was very difficult because our daughter had our support and care, while those children were completely alone. It was then that the thought of how I could support these children arose. When I was pregnant with my younger son, I had a dream about charity festivals for children. I decided that if the Lord directed, and my son was born without problems, there would be festivals. And so it happened. I gave birth to Volodymyr in July, and in September, the first Festival for 1000 orphaned children took place”, recalls the woman.

In 2007, Natalia, along with volunteers and donors, organized the first charity festival for orphaned children called “Mom+Me” in Dnipro. The festival opened eyes to the urgent problems faced by children in orphanages and boarding schools. Thus, what started as a one-time event transformed into an annual project. This marked the beginning of the charitable foundation “MOM plus ME”, which grew into a multifunctional organization.

 

“Back in 2007, it was challenging to grasp the full extent of the problem; discussions about orphaned children were rare. We were giving them emotions, inspiring the development of talents, and helping them find loving families. Overall, with our support, 255 children were adopted, and another 500 found placement in foster care and adoptive families. This is truly valuable, and our dream is to continue this even now”, Natalia shares.


As a mother of six, Natalia finds the time and energy to provide care for hundreds of others – the beneficiaries of the foundation. When talking about motivation, she primarily mentions faith, as spiritual values allow her to stay strong in any circumstances. Compassion, empathy, and a sense of responsibility hold everything together even in the most challenging times and inspire new projects.

 

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At the onset of the full-scale war, Natalia, like thousands of Ukrainian women, had to evacuate her children abroad. However, she now lives between two countries because she cannot leave the children of Ukraine without help.

“I see all the problems that orphaned children face today. War, stress – these are in addition to other, unfortunately, common problems of orphanhood. Society’s and the state’s focus has shifted today, and we all understand why (and it’s normal), but we continue to fight. We work directly with orphanages and families, staying in touch to address urgent issues. The majority of the team remains in Ukraine, continuing to work during alarms and shelling. It’s the dedication and commitment to the cause that I highly value”.

In Ukraine and abroad, Natalia negotiates with Ukrainian and international patrons and companies. She jokes that, even without formal education, she has become a diplomat. She conducts fundraising events to collect funds and draw attention to children’s issues. Natalia participates in forums, conferences, and charity auctions. As she says, “There are many ways to attract resources; it’s important to communicate effectively with donors”. And she has been succeeding in this for 16 years!

 

Before the full-scale war, Natalia was actively developing her own business in the event industry. Now, she channels all her creativity into organizing charitable events – evenings, breakfasts, brunches, forums for fundraising and discussing issues. Among the most significant are the charitable evening “Triumph of Good” in Vienna in November 2022 and the Mothers for Ukraine Charity Forum in Vienna in May 2023.

 

Constant stress takes a lot of energy but also prompts adaptation. Even in such conditions, Natalia transformed herself and launched new projects. This led to the creation of the author’s mentorship project “Path to Health,” inspiring a healthy lifestyle and habit change.

“I love sharing knowledge. If I know how to change my life, I can inspire others to do the same. It’s another way to make this world a bit better”, explains Natalia, discussing her decision to launch another project during the war.

She has a wealth of knowledge when it comes to motivation and balance. However, working on charitable projects takes a lot of time and resources, especially emotional ones. It often leads to burnout, but with ideals and support, one can stay resilient and find new meanings and strengths to move forward.

 

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“All my experience and knowledge I channel into the development of the main projects of my life: my family, charity, and self-improvement. Having six children, each with their own personalities, is a challenge. Combining family and charity is not always easy, but I have an understanding husband and children who always support me”.

 

For those who want to start their charitable activities, Natalia advises clearly defining the topic that resonates the most and finding the idea—why this theme is important and why it needs to be addressed. However, it must come from the heart, with sincere motives and compassion. And don’t forget to respect donors and their trust because effective collaboration is possible only in such cases.

“I believe that in the future, we will be able to create better conditions for the development of orphaned children. Today, we are already working towards this. It hurts. It’s necessary. Not only for us as a foundation but for the entire country.”

The story of Natalia Sivak inspires people to stand up and finally take action. Because combining motherhood and active work is possible, the main thing is to be passionate about the idea and surround yourself with like-minded people.

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