Almost two years have passed since the outbreak of war, yet it is still unimaginable to think of the incredible hardship those who call Ukraine home are going through. French Bedroom stands with Ukraine, and from day one we have condemned the brutality they have faced. In turn, we have been amazed and heartened by the strength, courage and hope of the people of Ukraine, and their inspiring attitudes.
Here at French Bedroom, we have a very special connection to Ukraine. Since 2019, a team of talented people who live and work in western Ukraine have been an integral part of our French Bedroom family. They built our website and run a lot of our IT projects - we credit them for the way we are able to work.
Before the Russian invasion, we had 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? We realise now that these questions, whilst important, are trivial when compared to 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 about deeply, and the war has touched us all.
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, we pledged to stand by them since the war broke out two years ago, we know it’s way beyond ‘paying bills’, it’s personal, the project fees 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 have continued to keep our website running behind the scenes.
We are aware that as a company, we have a voice, and we want to use that voice to share what has been going on in Ukraine since the war broke out, from a true human perspective. To do this, we sat down with Yuliia, part of our IT team’s management, to share her voice in this war.
How has Luxinten been helping support the war effort?
It’s still bizarre to think we’re even facing a war, in the 21st Century, in the centre of Europe. Nonetheless, it can be understood when you take into account that for over 400 years, Russia has been eager to steal our territories and use our labour. Right now, it’s not the time for Ukranians to analyse the history - we need to take action, and we have been. The whole country, including our team, has chosen to stay strong and united against the enemy. We’re working in various directions and every Ukrainian makes a difference.
A member of our team has decided to go and fight for our victory. We all support him and wait eagerly to receive him back. We are also regularly buying on-demand supplies for our army; it’s often forgotten that the cars, equipment, weapons, and other supplies needed for war have an extremely short life. We help with the supply of these necessities, and implement them directly into our colleague’s battalion or into other charities that need our help.
Alongside this, our sales department has been working on helping to spread the truth about what is happening in our country, and to highlight the eyewitness testimony which plays such an important role in this war and the future courts following a Ukrainian victory.
As well as the practical army support, we also have been supportive of the initiative to cover Ukrainian cities with colour! Ukrainian artists have created three paintings to represent ‘peace, love, and freedom.’ We have created posters of these and hung them around Ukraine.
How did Luxinten cope with the start of the war? How did the team adapt?
February 24th 2022 is a date that has divided all Ukrainian’s lives into before and after. This night changed everything, including the fate of countless businesses (ours included).
In this, we found peace in the meaning of our own logo, and everything we have always believed in: the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness does not comprehend it. Despite being faced with uncertainty and fear, we gathered our strength and turned our anger into donations for our heroes of the whole world, as well as those suffering due to our unfavourable neighbours.
The early days of the war were filled with chaos, but we never stopped working. We found ourselves coding, negotiating, designing, and making strategic decisions in bomb shelters during explosions. Remarkably, we never turned down a single client. We worked tirelessly to meet deadlines and commitments. Imagine, a war had begun, explosions echoed across the regions, yet we were determined to meet our clients' deadlines. As a team, we quickly adapted to the challenges at hand. We equipped our offices with everything necessary to continue working during blackouts. We supported each other and learned we could adapt to any life situation. Through this, our team has emerged stronger than ever before. We have been determined to show that nothing can break our spirit. We believe that as a nation, we are among the strongest in the world. During these difficult times, our team has come together, united like never before
How did Luxinten’s clients respond to the war breaking out? How important has the support of your clients been?
We work closely with our clients so we have built strong communication and personal connections. When the war first began, our clients showed incredible compassion and support. On the first day, we received messages reassuring us that deadlines could wait and that our safety was the top priority.
French Bedroom, in particular, invited our employees to a safe space in their country and repeatedly asked for links to donate to support us. To this day, they continue to ask about our situation, publicly express their support, and support us in a multitude of ways. This means so much to us, as above all, we are all human beings.
Generally, how has the war affected most people’s income and employment, and the ability for most people to shop for food and essentials?
This war has shown that wealth, possessions, and success mean nothing when the most important things – your life and the lives of your loved ones – are at stake. Millions have lost their homes and faced business bankruptcies and job losses, but our people are resilient. There are countless stories of how people have had to rebuild their lives from scratch, yet they never forgot our heroes – our soldiers – and remained optimistic about victory. As for food and essentials, it seemed like our volunteers could move mountains to provide for those in need. Of course, it was challenging in the occupied cities, but even amid the sound of gunfire, our people still delivered food and essential items to those who remained in the frontline areas.
How has the war affected the lives of the Luxinten team and your families?
Many Luxinten team members were forced to leave their homes and relocate to different cities and countries. Some of us lost loved ones in the war, and others had to repair their homes after shelling. We all carry emotional scars and startle at the slightest noise. Even seeing planes flying overhead, which we used to take for granted, now triggers anxiety. One of the toughest challenges is explaining to our young children why they must run to a bomb shelter at night. However, we have learned to cope and adapt to our situation. Each individual has their own plan of action, and we support each other and monitor our mental wellbeing as best as we can.
How do you and your team feel about the international support Ukraine has seen?
The international support means the world to us. It empowers our people to stand up for the fate of the entire world against Russia. The support, rallies, demonstrations, weapons, and financial aid from every corner of the world are bringing our victory closer and filling us with even greater hope that a brighter future is just around the corner. We are incredibly grateful that the world has now seen us as a separate, independent, and very strong nation. As the saying goes, in times of darkness, the brightest individuals emerge.
Where do you all see Ukraine in another year’s time?
We envision Ukraine in a world where Russia no longer exists. Ukraine will be flourishing, prosperous, independent, and incredibly strong, albeit with a significant wound in its heart.
What are you most grateful for?
Above all, we are most grateful to the brave people who defend us and continue to give us the gift of a new day. We owe these people everything. If our people hadn't risen as one, it's terrifying to think of what might have happened.
Also, the support of the entire world is invaluable for our nation. There has been a complete reevaluation of values. We cherish every minute of life now and are thankful that we can wake up in the morning, spend time with loved ones, go to work, give our children a childhood, help others, see, hear, and simply live!
Are young adults and teenagers still able to meet, and go out to have fun?
Ukraine is the synonym of “bravery”. We are not afraid to defend our country and fight for freedom and our future, and this couples with our bravery to continue to live and enjoy life. It goes without saying that people do not hang out in the same ways as before, but we still go out and experience life where we can. In order to continue to enjoy life, people have started new businesses, opened cafes and restaurants, and they continue to travel where possible. Our defenders tell us that they want us to live, laugh, and enjoy. They fight for our happy life and if we cannot live now, then when?
Luckily, Luxinten employees are mostly located in the western and central parts of Ukraine. Almost all of our team who were living in the east have been relocated, but it is important to mention that some territories in Ukraine are still dangerous as they are close to the border of Russia or still occupied. Moreover, some Ukrainians made the decision to remain in their native towns and cities in the east of the country. They demonstrate their loyalty, love for their hometowns, and unprecedented heroism in the 21st century. Their experience will be different.
Is it still possible to exercise in the cities? For example: take morning runs, evening walks?
Of course! Certainly, you need to finish all your errands before the curfew, but people still lead a full life until that time. We've learned to adapt to any conditions. Even during blackouts, you could see barbers cutting people's hair right on the streets, manicurists working with miner's lamps in a dark salon or athletes on an evening run with a flashlight.
Despite the challenges and curfew restrictions, the people in our cities have shown remarkable resilience and creativity in adapting to the circumstances, finding new ways to enjoy life, and pursuing their daily routines even in the face of adversity. Influencers are even continuing to record travel blogs and inspiring people to travel all around Ukraine.
Do you need to have safety drills in schools and offices?
Yes. Workspaces, schools, and kindergartens should have bomb shelters equipped with enough water and food supplies. Unfortunately, these bomb shelters do not all meet safety standards, so to protect themselves, people often use basements or the "rule of four walls." After the air raid signal, mandatory safety rules are followed to protect lives.
Finally, what can people who live in the UK do to help?
At present, the strong bond between the people of the UK and Ukraine remains unshaken, and we continue to deeply appreciate their steadfast support. Contributing to reputable organisations actively engaged in delivering humanitarian aid in Ukraine remains as crucial as ever. Such donations have a direct and immediate impact, supplying essential goods, providing medical assistance, and offering vital support to displaced families. Moreover, these contributions help ensure that our soldiers have all the necessary supplies, including crucial medical resources, to protect and defend our nation.
Furthermore, it's imperative not to remain silent. Spreading awareness about the ongoing situation in Ukraine is essential. Utilise social media platforms, engage in awareness campaigns, and ensure that the crisis remains in the public eye.
British people should continue to cooperate with Ukrainian companies and freelancers. It significantly supports our economy and gives further opportunities to donate and support Ukraine. Also, the flow of work keeps Ukrainians strong psychologically as we can remain working in our country, realise our potential and be integrated into the wider world society.
This collective effort brings us closer to victory, safeguarding our nation and promoting a brighter future. Raising awareness about Ukraine's ongoing situation is not just an act of solidarity but a vital step in garnering more support to help us secure a triumphant future. Together, we stand firm, resilient, and united, working tirelessly to achieve victory.
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