Three Stories on How the War in Ukraine Affected the Day-to-Day Activities of PIN Employees at HQ

Published: Jan 30, 2023 Reading time: 4 minutes
Three Stories on How the War in Ukraine Affected the Day-to-Day Activities of PIN Employees at HQ
© Foto: Alyona Budagovska

A crisis is both a time of great danger, as well as a time to do a great amount of good.  2022 saw several crises: the start of the Russian war in Ukraine, the rise in energy prices and inflation, and the problem of global food scarcity. And let's not forget about the ever-worsening climate crisis. 

In addition to the large amount of suffering that we witnessed, we also saw a huge wave of solidarity, especially in the aftermath of Russia's attack on Ukraine. On top of the huge amount of material and financial aid that we were able to provide, we were able to be physically present and lend a helping hand to those on the ground, as well. 

If, like us, you've found helping out to be incredibly meaningful and our work in Ukraine has inspired you to re-evaluate your own career path, you wouldn't be alone. Read these three stories about how day-to-day activities changed significantly for some of our regular employees and what it meant to them. Additionally, find out how you can more involved with us and do similar work!

Milan Votypka (Media Coordinator)

“My work changed dramatically after the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Early on the morning of the invasion, I was drawing up the first official statement of People in Need. At 9:00 am, we had the first meeting. The situation was really hectic. I was constantly calling people, gathering information, and responding to journalists – well into the night and on the weekends.

Later, when we needed someone to go with a train of humanitarian aid to the Polish-Ukrainian border, I volunteered. When we transferred the material from one train to another, I often held a phone in one hand, answering questions from a Czech radio station about how the situation looked on the ground, while throwing sacks into a railway car with the other.

I personally feel better in the field compared to in the office. You can write thousands of press releases, but the act of throwing sacks of children’s clothes into a train really makes you feel like you're doing something real. Going to Ukraine was an important moment for me, I wanted to be on the ground. This is why I do this work – to be in contact with what’s actually happening in the field.”

All open positions in the Humanitarian Aid and Development Department (RDD) are available here.

Alena Čorna (Ukrainian Helpline Consultant)

“When the war broke out in February, I felt – like a lot of Ukrainians living in the Czech Republic – like I’d received a blow to the stomach. I remember feeling paralyzed, helpless, and afraid for my family members who still lived in Ukraine.

I wanted to help and found a way on the helpline at People in Need, where I had previously been working as a debt consultant. Now, I work as a helpline consultant for Ukrainian refugees. I remember how busy we were in the first few months of the war. We do things that ranged from helping people find a place to live to coping with the loss of a loved one. We still encounter people who arrive here and are absolutely broken, suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder because they've spent so many weeks in shelters without light, water, or food.

I’ve heard an incredible number of stories while working on the helpline, stories that I will never forget.”

All open positions in the Social Integration Department are available here.

Ondřej Vopelák (Head of IT Support)

“When Russia attacked Ukraine late in February, the first thing we had to do was beef up our technical presence on the ground, in Ukraine – and this meant above all providing people with computers. We began setting up new laptops right away, as well as increasing security and encrypting the hard drives in case they got lost in the war zone.

Another big challenge for us took place on the eve of the concert supporting Ukraine that took place at Wenceslas Square on March 1st. The proceeds went to People in Need, and the concert was still underway when our servers started to crash due to the unbelievable flood of donations. At first, we thought it was a DDoS cyber attack, but found out shortly that the interest in our website and our donation gateway traffic was authentic. Zoner -- the company that manages some of our servers -- really helped us out a lot. They doubled our computing capacity all at once and made it possible for us to manage all the donations and all the visits to our website.

The experience of how our team functioned at this time was amazing. Everyone was extremely helpful, cooperative, and willing to put in extra hours. I did not have to tell my colleagues that we needed to install computers on a Saturday; they just offered up their free time, canceled their plans and came to the office over the weekend. The atmosphere, the united spirit of working together toward a common goal that one can feel with People in Need is something special. It's something one does not experience elsewhere.”

All open positions in the IT Department are available here.  

Have you found the stories of our employees or the manner in which People in Need responded to the outbreak of war in Ukraine inspiring? Would you like to get more involved? You can! We’re always on the lookout for new talent.

If you are interested in working with us, please apply using by clicking on the "application form" at bottom of each job description. If you have already scoured our Career page, but haven't found any jobs that interest you at present, be sure to "set up email notifications" to receive information when a position of interest does become available. 

We hope to see you at a job interview soon!

Autor: The HR Department, People in Need

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