Colleagues during wartime
Although all colleagues in JYSK Ukraine share a common tragedy, the difficult moments are experienced differently.
Some work in a store. Some are in the armed forces or in the defense that protects the civilian population. And some have survived days and nights surrounded by the enemy in basements or bomb shelters.
JYSK keeps in touch with them all, and below are some of their personal stories.
First aid for the wounded
Andriy Bezkhlibny, area manager of furniture in Kiev, and his colleague and partner, Alina Dorosh, who is a customer service supporter, are assisting the patrol police.
Before joining JYSK, Andriy was a senior lieutenant in the health staff. He and Alina both had a basic knowledge of first aid for the wounded. In the early days of the war, they trained soldiers in providing first aid. Now they are saving lives by taking on tasks with the police.
“JYSK also helped our unit with sleeping bags, blankets and towels. In addition, we have bought everything that is necessary for the police, thanks to my colleagues from customer service,” says Alina.
“Thank you to the company for your support, help and care. It's hard and scary now, and I'm scared too every time I go on a mission. But this is the new normal in Ukraine now, and we are all doing important work on our fronts,” says Andriy.
From Kharkiv to Lviv
Store Manager Oleksiy Simbiriov from Kharkiv was evacuated to western Ukraine after seven days of bombing.
“After arriving in Lviv, I immediately asked to go to work and started the next day. I was very happy for that opportunity because the work tasks divert attention from the problems, the anxiety and from following the news,” says Oleksiy.
“I am proud that JYSK has not stayed away, but instead donated a lot of goods to volunteers. We opened some of the stores for our customers. They need us because we sell vital goods. On rugs, pillows, mattresses, sofa beds, etc., the demand has far exceeded the supply. We sold everything that could be sold! For our part, we try to provide unique service to every customer despite the special working conditions,” Oleksiy continues.
Nine days in the basement
Yulia Bondarchuk, Store Manager in Bucha, not far from Kiev, lived with her children in the basement for nine days, surrounded by fighting outside.
"The uncertainty was the most terrible thing while we were there. We were afraid to go outside and there were constant bombardments, helicopters and fighter jets. The shocking news was that a grenade flew into the shopping centre where our store was located and a fire broke out,” says Yulia, who was alone with her children as her husband was abroad.
"Finally we found a man who had a car and dared to drive us away. I quickly gathered my children and two cats, for those were the most important things. After all these events, material things mean nothing to me anymore. Then everything felt like being in a dream: how we were leaving and how scary it was. I do not think I was breathing at all. People with machine guns, shots over the head. I remember thanking everyone for being alive. I am very grateful to the people who have helped in this terrible situation,” Yulia explains.
Anastasia Zakharova from the Bucha store was surrounded for almost two weeks in terrible conditions with her husband and three-year-old son.
"On the second day of the war, the internet was gone. Three days later, there was no light and water, and seven days later, there was no gas. It is said that a person can get used to anything. Yes, we adapted. We carried water in buckets from a well, built a stove for cooking in the yard, poured petrol from cars on the generator to charge the phone. All neighbours became one strong team," says Anastasia.
"Then it became very scary when the fighting approached us and took place right outside for three hours. Then there was only one thought: to leave with the child, but it was too late, our city was occupied. Columns of enemy vehicles stood around our residential complex. We were waiting for a humanitarian corridor that finally opened on 8 March. The escape lasted a very long time in a column several kilometres long. We saw everything: equipment, enemies. They stood at every hundred metres with machine guns, and only explosions could be heard around us. We did not know what would happen to us. When we got to our military, everyone cried: The worst moments of my life were behind me,” explains Anastasia.
Kateryna's "women's battalion"
Kateryna Hrushchenko from the Kharkiv store was forced to leave her home and town, and now she is organising humanitarian aid in a village near Kharkiv.
Next door are about 500 immigrants from Kharkiv. Many of these people were regular customers in the JYSK store she worked in.
"Every day I have a lot of work to do: I compile lists of migrants, collect needs and requests from residents, package and issue humanitarian aid, etc. But I decided not to stop there. I joined the women's volunteer community. Our organisation unites strong-willed and active women from different parts of Ukraine. We are the "Women's Battalion"! We have our own website and actively develop pages on social networks," says Kateryna.