What can I do against the war: story of IT company from Chernihiv resilience
Updated: May 6
"Here is the agenda for today: How many people are left in Chernihiv? We need to contact everyone here and collect the info on how they are feeling, do they need something, and how are their families? If someone leaves the city, we need to know where they are".
Sounds like a military operation planned in a Netflix movie. But since February 24th, these kinds of meetings are a part of daily life for an IT company in the city of Chernihiv, Ukraine, called JEVERA. It is the 71st day of the war in Ukraine. And we keep on!
Since the first bomb reached Ukraine, our team has started to move to the safest areas with one bag. Till now, the safest areas in the country are in the west, near the Romanian, Hungarian, Slovakian, Moldovian, and Polish borders. But some of us have remained in our hometown to protect and serve those who are in need and danger.
“Last 100 meters is our bottleneck, not the last mile. We can easily deliver staff from Kyiv to Chernihiv (150 km), but the last 100 meters for those who are in need are inaccessible. People are hiding and afraid to leave their homes, shelters, basements. The city’s infrastructure is destroyed for 60%”, - says Julia Dayneko, COO of the JEVERA Software Solutions.
Since day one, JEVERA COO Julia has stayed in Chernihiv to provide humanitarian help and safety equipment for the territorial defense units. "Do you need thermal imaging devices? I know everything about them,"- says she during the daily call. She has stayed in the city to be able to manage volunteer activities and support JEVERA employees who have decided to stay and help with evacuations.
When the war started those IT companies who stayed in the city cooperated and created chat bots to provide help and collect queries.
Today the JEVERA team works voluntarily on a logistic informational HUB for non-grocery food. The idea behind it: join donors, volunteers, and local manufacturers to make the impactful war effort.
"Dear colleagues, it is the first day of the month. And we could not imagine we would meet spring in such circumstances. Nevertheless, we need to track our working time; if you don't have access to the tracking tool, we can do it for you. Also, we have created a JEVERA-WAR project to track all volunteer activities", -writes Lesya, our Head of Delivery.
Since then, our team has spent more than hours volunteering. Some of them are part of territorial defense units. They make patrols, help civilians, and provide delivery of necessary supplies for key institutions like hospitals.
Lidia is Product Lead and part of defense units like her other two colleagues, Devops and UX/UI designer. They almost always have limited connection to the internet and are in a good mood to support others. Lidia likes to share her hairstyle tips for bomb shelters to support her colleagues, who are hiding in the basements. In line with beauty tips, Lidia is aware of the safest bombshells in the city and knows where to get the most valuable supplies for those who are really in need. It is still winter in Ukraine, and shelters are very cold, especially for kids and elderly people.
"There are only six buildings on my street, and 3 of them have warehouses to store humanitarian aid and supplies for Ukraine", says Dmytro, JEVERA sales representative from Warsaw.
1,8 million Ukrainians have already moved to Poland, kids, and women mostly. Some of them have relatives there; others are just hoping for the best. "Poland updates. Public transport runs with Ukrainian flags and provides free services for Ukrainians. We have pushed Hungarians to ban SWIFT. The biggest money transfer of 2.5 million euros has already been collected, and it is not the only one. Polish people just drive to the border to take refugees to the safest areas or host them. I can spend an eternity and the day telling them all. The main idea - we are not alone. Vse bude Ukraina (All is going to be Ukraine)", says Dmytro in a corporate chat to support colleagues. His working days now are pretty similar to early wake up to accommodate or unload a truck with supplies. Sorting, repacking, making calls, and meetings with clients. They were accommodating and unloading. Each day for the last two months.
Dmytro has two jobs today, just like any other team member in JEVERA - volunteering and a regular one. So thanks for Dmytro; we have a new client on our doorstep.
"During the first days of war, there was info spreading about evacuation opportunities. Some guys were offered transportation by vans in the safest areas. The thing is - it was not official. Vans were moving to the enemy to have captives and hostages. A friend of mine in Germany was helping to evacuate the girl from Kyiv so. When she read my post regarding fake evacuations, she stopped her friend. The next day she was on a safe wave in a train to Lviv", -says Sergii, marketing manager.
He works as a part of the misinformation volunteer unit. Russian propaganda is strong and is built on fakes. Sergii double-checks all he sees with official info and spreads the proven information. The level of information literacy is very low on average, so people believe what they read on Facebook, and it is not always true. Sergii is located in Rivne. He manages to work between air red alerts, sometimes in the bathroom, which operates like a bomb shelter as well. Preparing case studies and updates for corporate social media pages are mixed with misinformation verifications.
"Impactful volunteering - choose those are where you can deliver most", - says Iryna Manukovska, JEVERA CMO.
"When all things started, I was in Cyprus with my kids. What can I do from abroad? Work twice harder for those who are in Ukraine and do marketing to promote what is happening in Ukraine. I run media campaigns and news feeds from Ukraine to provide truthful information regarding my country. I run protests in the country I live in now. This attracted attention, and people started to help refugees from my country. I use my connection to attract donations to our JEVERA funding which was created to help Chernihiv and refugees", - shares Iryna in addition.
Iryna runs an art project - collects stories of Moms who gave birth since the russian invasion started and creates a series of paintings dedicated to them.
Marketing activities in JEVERA today are focused on helping and promoting JEVERA services twice harder.
"We need a strong economy; the best way to support Ukraine is to give jobs to Ukrainians", - this is the motto of the marketing department for the last few weeks. We make promotional campaigns among the European and North American companies to attract new business opportunities.
"He writes there is enough gasoline, so they are ready for evacuation tomorrow," writes Helen in an internal chat for the HR department. Today HR provides mental health support and resolves safety issues for employees. Accommodation, transportation, and supply with basics. They always track employees' location and mental health and safety of each of us.
Vse bude Ukraina!