Apr 11, 2022
7 min Read
Apr 11, 2022
7 min Read
We wanted to dedicate March to telling positive stories of strong women. However, the world moves faster than our plans – we want to talk about something else. We’re here to tell you a few stories of brave Ukrainian women fighting to survive Europe’s largest armed conflict since World War II. These are first-hand accounts of three Ukrainian Hostinger employees facing danger every day. To protect their identity, we’ll only mention their names.
Yuliia has been with the Hostinger Customer Success team for over four years. Her dedication and outstanding results fueled Yuliia’s growth inside the company – since September, she’s been working as a Customer Success Training Specialist. However, the last few weeks turned her life upside down as she found herself in the middle of a war zone. Yuliia lives in a reality controlled by defense sirens. Keeping spirits up is now crucial for survival.
“I can’t even tell what my morning/day routine is because it’s all squished into one place… Life currently revolves around sirens. As soon as you hear them, you have up to 10 minutes to get to the nearest shelter. As far as I know, they start 10 minutes before a possible hit. I’m staying with friends, and our current best result is 5 mins from deep sleep (if we can call that deep) until getting inside the shelter. At this point, almost every sound sounds like a distant siren. We even have an official city app where all the notifications appear together with sirens. The hard part is that you really never know when the next alarm will happen and how long it will last. One of them caught us in the middle of breakfast – we had to leave our plates full and run.”
“The shelters are usually very cold. I’m currently wearing a Hostinger Black Friday sweater (the one with the astronaut). It keeps me warm. Most shelters are just basements, underground parking lots, and metro stations. I have been in all types of shelters already. The parking lot is probably the best option since it has concrete floors, high ceilings, and (the best part) you can reach it from our apartment. We didn’t need to go outside. We just took the stairs. My parents are less fortunate: their closest shelter is half-flooded.”
“It will sound like a cliché, but our army and president keep us hopeful. I honestly never expected we could be this strong and determined. It’s just inspiring to see how united and relentless we are. Also, seeing the news about international support and sanctions: the sky is getting closed for Russians in more and more countries. And, despite everything, maintaining a sense of humor. There are many memes and sketches about Romani people stealing a Russian tank, homeless people collecting bottles for Molotov cocktails, and an elderly man stealing a BMP vehicle with his tractor. There’s mental support from all over the world. People are standing up saying that they are with us. And I really love Hostinger for what they’re doing. That I don’t have to worry about work, like “what if I lose my job if it lasts long” because I know I won’t. That’s kind of reassuring.”
Katerina, a young Kyivan translator, never expected the war to happen. On February 24th, Russian forces entered Ukraine and began spreading chaos. But Ukrainians, all 44 million of them, kept their dignity as they fiercely fought back the invaders.
“There is no music, there is no morning coffee in 3rd wave coffee shops, there are no dates and brunches, there are no movies and stand-up comedy. Smiles are rare, even worse with laughter. Women give birth in bunkers. Roads are being destroyed, houses, museums, universities. There’s a huge national awakening. It’s crazy, unstoppable, and mind-blowing,” says Katerina.
Katerina managed to escape Kyiv and flee to a safer city where she can still help her country. For fleeing Ukrainians, volunteering is the best way to help the resistance. They’re making camouflage nets, distributing information, and blocking hostile social media accounts. Katerina claims that seeing foreigners help has certainly touched the hearts of all people fighting for their country.
“Actions speak louder than words, especially today. I’m grateful to all those people who have the guts and clear minds to take action, speak up, host refugees and collect humanitarian aid. I’m grateful to my team that has been actively helping since day 1. There are no words to express how grateful I am to our military forces and every Ukrainian soul. There is an avalanche of emotions, but now is not the time for them. It’s time to take action, action towards victory.”
“I’m scared, but I’m calm. I’m not letting my emotions drive me insane. My great-grandmother turned 90 this January and stayed in Vorzel, a town where an orphanage, civilian houses, and a railway station were destroyed. My mom and aunt left the town two hours before the last bridge to my hometown was destroyed. My friends stayed in Kyiv, Kharkiv, Bucha, Irpin, and Chernihiv. My stepdad evacuated my family and went back to Irpin, where missiles are destroying everything around me. For the sake of these people, I try not to let my emotions take over. For friends, colleagues, and relatives all over the world, who are worried, who support us and want to see us safe and sound. It’s not an exaggeration. It is not a dramatic touch. It is the reality we are TEMPORARILY LIVING IN. It will be over soon. There is no light in the evening (for safety), but there is light in every Ukrainian’s heart. It unites us, leads us towards freedom and justice.”
That Thursday, Olha was getting ready for another day at Hostinger, working as an SEO Marketing Assistant. The mood was great because she had tickets to a concert, and a game night was planned for Friday. It never happened. As Olha was going through her morning routine, Russian missiles had already been launched into Ukraine, one of them hitting a military airport close to where Olha lives.
“I must admit, I’m lucky to live in one of the safest regions in Ukraine. Although saboteurs sometimes target military installations here too. We have a curfew now. Air threat alarms go off a few times a day, so we must hide in bathrooms and air-raid shelters. Civilians are still safe compared to other regions where Russians target people’s homes and civil infrastructure. It’s really hard to watch how they destroy our cities and villages. I cry every time I see how they kill innocent people, including kids. They launch missiles at kindergartens, orphanages, residential buildings, hospitals, streets, and squares, and shoot ambulances. Railway stations are crowded with refugees. I know that our troops won’t let the Russian army move any further. For Russians, it’s only back in the direction they came from. But it takes time. Unfortunately, time means lost lives. That’s why we ask our friends and partners to help us. Close the sky over Ukraine so that we can act faster on land.”
“We’re volunteering to help the army and refugees. We’re on the front lines of an infowar where we spread real news, hoping to convince the Russian people to stop this war. Unfortunately, most of them live in an information vacuum. They’re told that Russia is fighting a Nazi Ukrainian government and that Ukrainians are greeting the Russian army with smiles on their faces. Their news doesn’t tell the truth that Russia attacked Ukraine or that soldiers came here to kill and die. So that is what many Russians believe today. Many of them have decided to stay neutral, as they don’t believe anyone.”
“There were a lot of talks that Russia would attack. But until the last moment, it was hard to believe that they would start a full-scale war against Ukraine. I mean, they declared war 8 years ago when their troops officially entered Crimea and a few days later were unofficially sent to Donetsk and Luhansk. We were fighting in the Eastern part of Ukraine. But we never dreamed they’d attack the whole country. It was the biggest mistake the Russian government has ever made because their actions had an opposite effect. Ukrainians have never felt as strong and united as today. And not only Ukrainians. They’ve united the entire world. Today we all stand for universal values – peace, freedom, human dignity.”
“I watch how people in different cities of the world support Ukraine. I read tweets from other European countries and even the United States, which is also supporting Ukraine through volunteers. I’m aware of foreigners providing shelter to Ukrainian female refugees and their kids. I’m aware that financial, humanitarian, and military help is sent to the Ukrainian people, and sanctions are imposed on Russia. I receive many messages of support and desire to help from my friends and colleagues in other countries. And I really feel the support. Everybody here does. And we are grateful. That is what keeps our spirits high. All of the above and our sense of humor. We don’t lose it even in the darkest times.”
“I feel sad that it had to come to war for us to wake up… On the other hand, seeing how sincerely we all fight makes me really happy and gives me hope. We’re fighting not just to protect our country from occupiers but to protect European values, universal values, and the world. Because we know that it will never be a safe place if we don’t. So I really hope the rest of the world will continue standing with us. All the people who share the truth. All the people who send us help. All the people who make their governments listen. Today it’s important to make the right decisions. Believe me, there’s no time for hesitation when enemies come to your house. It’s better to keep them out of your backyard.”
None of us can fully understand the situation these women are going through. This ‘temporary reality’ will surely leave scars that will never heal. We thank Yuliia, Katerina, and Olha for opening up and being optimistic about the future. We’re proud of the strength, courage, and persistence they radiate.
If you have any ideas on how Hostinger can help, please reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org.