Having 5 teammates and many startup founders from Ukraine, the current war is very personal and hits close to home. All of our colleagues are currently out of the country, but as one of them, Mariia Tintul, sadly said – “we have never been so homesick”, and while they are themselves safe and sound, their loved ones are not.
There are different ways of coping with crises, but the startup world has always been more the “action-oriented” one, so guess there is not much of a surprise that our team rolled up their sleeves and launched an internal helpline and info database to help the affected community. Moreover, inspired by community power, our dear colleague and Head of Startup Scouting Karina Lapina has launched her own personal activity – Ukrainian Sisters – a movement that started off to help a few single moms staying or fleeing from the war, but now has turned into a larger activity connecting women in Ukrainian cities providing help not only to moms with small children but other affected sensitive groups like elderly.
How it started
Karina is a single mom of an 8-year-old and knows that already without covid pandemic or war in your country being a mom and especially a single mom is a tough (even though beautiful) mission. She has been living outside of Ukraine for a few years since joining the Startup Wise Guys team. When Russian aggression started, she was devastated being so far away from her family in Odessa and friends all over the country, however, soon she switched the “help mode on” and initially was sending over money from her personal savings to women in need that were either on their way to get out of Ukraine or were staying, but facing various challenges such as losing a job or running out of food supplies. Then she launched a FB post asking others to donate and people didn’t need to be asked twice.
How Ukrainian Sisters was born
One thing led to another. Karina’s initial FB post already gathered additional donations, but then more friends and the largest parents community Kidfriendly joined forces and now women lead team calling themselves “Ukrainian sisters” is managing incoming help requests all over Ukraine.
We have at our disposal a warehouse with clothes and shoes for children and women of any size with targeted delivery, psychological and medical assistance, advice on evacuation and any issues now, and one-time financial support for those who are left without work and livelihood.Maria Yarotska, one of the founders of Ukrainian Sisters shared on her Facebook announcement, adding “Ти не одна! Разом встоїмо.” Which means – “You are not alone! We stand together!”
Apart from practical help such as diaper supplies or medicine, Karina mentions that the biggest challenge and help is actually emotional support.
Reaching out and talking to women in need I realised that right now the first support they need is actually not that much practical as emotional. Everyone is shocked, overwhelmed, lost, not being able to understand, where to look for information, what to do next. Even if they have gotten through the border and are in physical safety, many of these women haven’t slept for days, have noone to turn to. We help connecting the dots, giving the right information step-by-step, but sometimes just saying “it is going to be OK! You and your little one/s going to be OK!” many many times over and over again..Karina Lapina, proud Ukrainian, Head of Startup Scouting at SWG
Ukrainian Sisters up to date have helped 21 families with kids and transferred 139 000 uah/ around 4000 euros!
For Ukrainian women looking for help:
If you are in need of help, please fill out this form and the Ukrainian Sisters representative will reach out.
For others: donate and spread the word
Movement’s Notion page:
🇺🇦 Mono Bank (Ukraine)
Payment via link https://send.monobank.ua/6cqV7wFqe1
🇬🇧 Clear Junction Limited Bank (UK)
Clear Junction Limited Bank address 15 Kingsway, London WC2B 6UN
Account Holder Name: Karina Lapina
🇪🇺 Revolut Euro account (Lithuania)
Beneficiary: Karina Lapina
IBAN: LT33 3250 0524 6971 8364
🇱🇻 SEB Bank (Latvia)
Beneficiary: Karina Lapina
On the early morning of Feb 24, 2022, Russia launched a comprehensive invasion of Ukraine. Having five team members of Ukrainian origin and 38 investments in Ukrainian founders, the current situation is very personal to us. We have paused many of our business functions to dedicate internal resources to our founders and their families and use the power of our international community to provide aid for anyone in need.
We want to emphasize that in times of crisis, we stand together, united by our shared values, regardless of who we are or where we come from. Our global portfolio includes startups from all over the world, including Russia, and we will continue to stand with all who are united in supporting Ukraine.
It is often said that you should help in a crisis with what you do best – our stronghold has always been our attention to the human element. We have an incredible community – spread around the world – of founders, investors, and mentors, and we are activating this community right now.
Therefore we will continue posting various updates on our blog about Ukraine and what help can be provided. Together we can make a difference!