Since 2019, we have worked with a talented team of lovely people who live and work in western Ukraine. They built our beautiful website and run a lot of our IT projects. They are an integral part of our French Bedroom family.
Since long before the Russian invasion, we worried about what might happen if the worst came to the worst. Would they still be able to operate? Would international payments to Ukraine still work?
But nothing could fully prepare us for the human impact of knowing that their lives are in real danger, and their whole nation was under attack from a country who denied their basic right to exist.
To us, our IT team aren’t just faraway work partners. They are people we’ve known for years, who we talk and joke with regularly; they are people we care tremendously about. The war has touched us all deeply.
There was no question that we would support our team in Ukraine in any way we could, to stand by them in their hour of need, to continue working with them, and paying bills that feed their families.
So here at French Bedroom, we stand with Ukraine. We actively support business in Ukraine, and despite the current war, our wonderful Ukrainian-based developers are continuing to keep our website running behind the scenes.
We have asked Iren, one of the Directors there, to shed some more light into the ongoing crisis and explain to us how we can best help. Her words moved us tremendously, and we would like to share her message with you.
What is the most important message you’d like for us to share with our community?
I believe that no matter what skills you do or do not have, the first step to success is to have a winner’s mentality. Us Ukrainians are the same as British, European, or American people, and we have the strong belief that freedom is a basic need. We believe in our victory despite knowing that Russia is the second strongest army in the world. Every day we survive in independent Ukraine, we are brought one step closer to victory.
We are lucky working in IT as our customers are across the globe. Our Ukrainian projects are on hold for the foreseeable future, but we continue to work thanks to our international customers. After some relocation processes, almost all the team can work remotely. Due to this, we can continue using our expertise to improve e-commerce, which in turn helps us pay the salaries for our team. We continue to pay our taxes and bills which is helping the Ukrainian economy continue to run during this difficult time.
Working is not easy. The sirens are going off throughout the day and we are having to stop and hide in safe spaces – some of us are even having to hide between walls. Nonetheless, we must stay strong not only in a fight for our land, but also for the future of the Ukrainian economy.
Supporting Ukrainian companies is a great way to help Ukraine. At the time of writing (in March 2022), the cost of direct losses suffered by Ukraine’s infrastructure from full-scale Russian military aggression has already reached $119 billion and this number is increasing every day. People are losing their jobs, their businesses, their homes. We’re trying to stay stable as we understand that we will soon need to re-build our country, and we are ready to work for this.
We are fighting for the business of our customers just as passionately as we are for our land. IT businesses are one of the rare areas people can continue working in, but to stay stable and strong, our businesses need more custom from the UK and Europe.
Is there anything sensitive that you’ve observed as counterproductive?
So far, our analytics do not see the strategic possibility of a change in tactics. The Russians do not have a chance of winning, but they continue to mercilessly kill people every day. They are killing civilians to scare us, as they can’t win in a face-to-face battle. These actions are disgusting and dishonourable, and it’s hard to believe we are observing it happen in the 21st century.
What do you personally think people living in the UK can do to support Ukraine?
We need more weapons and more protection. It’s not what I want to say, but it is true. Our people are standing in line to get an education to fight for our land, but we don’t have enough protection to do this effectively.
We feel such a huge support from the people around the world. An informational war is not comparable to previous wars, where the world lacked informational technology. The support in sanctions against Russia have helped us tremendously, and this support gives us hope for the future.
There are incredible stories about our military personnel who are experiencing feelings that are impossible to describe, as if somebody or something is protecting them. They say they can hide in the middle of nowhere and are managing to survive through incredibly tough circumstances - perhaps this is due to the amount of people praying for us and believing in our victory.
We truly are so grateful for you all.
If you would like to help, DEC charities and their local partners are in Ukraine providing food, water, shelter and medical assistance. Please donate here