To Defenders of Freedom

Yuliia Samoliuk from Vinnytsia has made 675 trench candles for Ukrainian defenders

Yuliia began volunteering in the spring of 2022. In particular, she organized the collection of 10 kilograms of knitting threads, which local volunteers needed for weaving “kikimoras” (camouflage suits for snipers).

In the summer, Yuliia dried various fruits for the Ukrainian soldiers: the woman prepared more than 15 liter jars of pears and apples in total. When the fruit season was over, Yuliia looked for and cut fabric for camouflage nets that volunteers wove at a local school.

“Then I found some wax and old candles in the country house. I tried to make the first 9 trench candles. My neighbors helped me with the materials. Then they started asking if I could make trench candles for their relatives at the frontline,” recalls Yuliia Samoliuk.

Photo: personal archive

Now the woman makes trench candles for everyone who needs them. It took some time to perfect the technology and find the right materials. First, she cuts cardboard blanks, then twists them and puts them in tin cans. And after that, pours in the paraffin. “For trench candles, it is better to use food-grade paraffin marked P2,” Yuliia explains, as technical paraffin is toxic and smokes a lot.

Yuliia’s 5-year-old daughter helps her with the deed. “She is responsible for putting the finished candles in boxes sent to the frontline,” says the volunteer. Many people in Vinnytsia also help Yuliia with collecting materials for candles. They bring tins from canned food, candle stubs, paraffin, and wax. The local store regularly gives away cardboard.

And sometimes people bring scented and decorated candles for her to remelt: and that is how trench candles may end up a bit pinkish or glittery. Yuliia tries to use everything people bring to her, as there is always a need for more materials.

“If you take a tin can from corn or peas, one kilogram of wax will make about four trench candles. If the tin cans are small, like from under the cat food, 5 kilograms of paraffin can be used to pour approximately 64 candles,” explains the volunteer.

Yuliia Samoliuk plans to continue her volunteer work in the nearest future. She is determined to make trench candles for the Ukrainian defenders to keep them warm this winter.

Yuliia told her story to Suspilne.

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