EFDN Interview – Inna Khmyzova from Shakhtar Social Foundation

23 June 2020

EFDN Interview – Inna Khmyzova from Shakhtar Social Foundation

The next EFDN Interview features Inna Khmyzova who is the Director of Shakhtar Social Foundation.

Inna Khmyzova has been part of FC Shakhtar since 2005. She led the marketing department of FC Shakhtar for more than 10 years. Inna was appointed as Director of Shakhtar Social Foundation in January 2019. Inna develops and maintains social activities in various fields of action like health, gender equality, social inclusion, education, and charity. She promotes the development of grassroots football in Ukraine, making an impact to change lives of kids and the community itself.

EFDN: What is a typical day in your role like? What do you love the most about working for the club/foundation?

My typical day consists of different activities and it depends on what things I am involved in the current time. Generally, a big part of my work is strategic planning, budgeting and controlling KPI’s. Also, I communicate with partners, media and the club regarding current and future projects.  Besides, we have team meetings where we discuss routing issues, ideas and potential opportunities. Quite often I take part in events like football festivals for kids, coaches education, etc. and this is probably the favorite part of my job. When I can see the real feedback from beneficiaries of our activities it motivates me the most.

EFDN: What are the main target areas of your foundation?

The main target of Shakhtar Social Foundation is to give access to football for every child in Ukraine. There is a confirmed fact that in Ukraine very few children go in for sports besides the school curriculum. According to the State Statistics Committee of Ukraine, in 2019 only 11% of children under 18  were involved in sports activities.  And we want to change the situation. Moreover, we use football as a tool that helps not only strengthen health. During training sessions in our projects, children learn basic human values like respect, responsibility, initiative, creativity and etc.

To reach our main goal Shakhtar Social Foundation conduct projects in 5 main areas: health, education, gender equality, social inclusion, charity.

EFDN: What is the foundation’s most successful programme? Can you please explain in more detail what the project is about, including the projects main aims and objectives and the impact this programme has had, within the community?

Shakhtar Social’s main project is ‘Come On, Let’s Play!’ which is the largest social football project in Ukraine aimed at developing kid’s grassroots football. Its participants are 4,500 boys and girls, including kids with disabilities. The participants are socially disadvantaged kids, refugees and kids living close to the frontline. The goal of the ‘Come On, Let’s Play!’ is developing through sports, specifically through football.

The training process is designed for children not only to improve their health but also to develop the attributes that are important both on the football field and in life. The project has nowadays 66 playgrounds in 36 different cities and towns of Ukraine, 8 playgrounds among them are located on the frontline, affected by the military conflict in Eastern Ukraine since 2014. In that region our playgrounds sometimes the only place where children can do sports but also socialize and just be children despite the difficult circumstances.

‘Come On, Let’s Play!’ programme was chosen as the best CSR initiative in 2019 at the 13th EFDN Conference held in Barcelona. It helps us to attract more attention in our country to what we are doing within the project. More partners join the initiative, respectively. And help us to develop ‘Come on, Let’s Play!’ thought out the country.

EFDN: What kind of initiatives are you currently delivering to help to overcome the COVID 19 crisis?

The pandemic has hardly affected the potential capacity of clinics and hospitals in Ukraine. The club decided to provide medical equipment, so Ukrainian hospitals may treat more patients urgently at the same time. FC Shakhtar has already transferred 2 intensive care ventilators to hospitals in Kharkiv (current home ground city). Another 8 high-quality intensive care ventilators should arrive in Kharkiv in the next month. Also in April 2020, during the active phase of the pandemic, the club handed over 30, 000 express tests for COVID-19 to Kharkiv region for free.

FC Shakhtar players participated as role models in projects for children conducted by the government of Ukraine. They stared in the educational series called Digital PE Classes for Schoolchildren. The players motivate schoolchildren to exercise at home during quarantine, demonstrating in detail the performance of basic exercises.

EFDN: What makes the role of clubs and their foundations so important during this crisis?

‘Clubs can reach people in the way other companies can not’. FC Shakhtar supporters and Shakhtar Social Foundation beneficiaries are loyal and close to us. We have built a community that is dependent on us in some way. So we always stay in touch with our community (during the pandemic even more), give help where needed, and communicate the right messages to the audience.

EFDN: How do you stay safe, healthy and fit? Do you have any tips or advice?

My recipe is to do a lot of jogging before and after work, to eat healthy food and focus on positive things. Also, I try to spend as much time as possible with my 4-year old son.

EFDN: What are your (foundation’s) goals for 2020 and the near future?

Shakhtar Social main goal is to give access to football for every child in Ukraine. In this respect, for us, it’s important to restart training sessions of the ‘Come On, Let’s Play’ (training was stopped due to pandemic three months ago). And we still aim to develop the project tough out the country and attract more partners who share our ideas.

EFDN: EFDN believes that Football is #More than Football. Why do you think your foundation is #morethanfootball?

We believe that our sports projects are so much more than football. We use football as a tool to develop the best human qualities in participants, to promote human values and give equal opportunities to all children who come to us. And we can see this works.

EFDN: To whom would you like to #passiton too, and why? Please choose another CSR-practitioner within or related to our network. You can even suggest a CSR topic for them to use as a starting point.

I would like to #passiton to Matt Parish, director of LFC Foundation. Matt had presented an interesting topic about the foundation’s five years CSR strategy during the 13th EFDN Conference. It would be beneficial to know how the pandemic had affected the current CSR strategy and what changes might occur in the nearest future.

If you want to know more about Inna Khmyzova and her work at Shakhtar Social Foundation, then you can download her presentation from the EFDN Conference in Barcelona here or visit her LinkedIn profile.


‘Shakhtar Girls Team’ programme – Shakhtar Social Foundation

Shakhtar Social created FC Shakhtar Girls Team in December 2018. The team includes 25 girls, well-talented players aged 7-8 years ...

‘Shakhtar Talent Day’ programme – Shakhtar Social Foundation

‘Shakhtar Talent Day’ programme is aimed to popularize grassroots football in Ukraine and give a chance for the ...