Standing with Ukraine: How EnerSys Employees Sprung into Action
As violence in Ukraine continues, the global community is searching for ways to offer ongoing support. Earlier this month, EnerSys® suspended operations in Russia to condemn the violence and stand in solidarity with the Ukrainian people. We are also heartened to have a strong community of employees that are taking our support even further to care for and uplift their Ukrainian friends and colleagues.
At the beginning of March, EnerSys pledged a monthly $15,000 donation to provide support for our Ukrainian employees. Their family members are also being offered help to find homes, obtain work permits, access language classes, enroll children in school, and more. Our Ukrainian teammates will also receive access to mental health counseling through online employee portals. Our Polish colleagues are volunteering at nearby orphanages for Ukrainian children and our Bielsko-Biala and Hostomice locations will be launching an apprenticeship program geared towards Ukrainian refugees who are looking for full time job opportunities. EnerSys employees in Europe are also offering shelter for teammates and their families as needed.
Independently, our Polish EnerSys teammates have also organized a fundraising campaign via ZRZUTKA, a secure and trusted Polish online fundraising platform to provide medical care, clothing, food and more for refugees from Ukraine. Our Polish colleagues reported that the most important support still needed is funding for housing, as it will help Ukrainian families and refugees avoid living in tents or other makeshift shelters. They also have plans to give monthly updates on how the ZRZUTKA funds are spent and graciously thank everyone for their continued support.
Katarzyna Ryłko and Magdalena Skotnicka are spearheading this initiative with other EnerSys teammates in Bielsko-Biała where they are currently housing over 23 family members of Ukrainian EnerSys employees (13 children, 10 adults and 4 dogs) and are working to register children for schools and provide them with school supplies and language lessons. They note that these children have likely experienced more tragedy and heartbreak than most adults will ever experience in their lifetimes, and are continuously working to care for and keep these children as happy as possible given the circumstances.
Magdalena is inspired by the resilience of the Ukrainian women they are housing, noting their calm composure and toughness in the face of tragedy while they continue to be separated from their husbands and other family members. One woman, upon hearing news that her home in Ukraine had been destroyed, stoically noted that, “the only thing that matters is that we are safe and we are here.” Magdalena says that the strength of our Ukrainian teammates and families continues to fuel and inspire our Polish colleagues each and every day.
Further west, other European EnerSys teammates have sprung into action after the first news of war. In a meeting at the end of February with the EMEA leadership team, a unanimous decision was made to help the people of Ukraine. Hans-Wilhelm (Willy) Eckel, began collecting relief supplies in his small Saurland village of Brilon, Madfeld, which supplies he sent by mail to Bielsko-Biała. Since this initial sending of supplies was expensive and timely, Willy arranged for relief supplies to be brought directly to Ukraine with help from colleagues in Bielsko-Biała. So far, Willy has arranged over three pallets of relief goods that include first aid materials, sanitary products for women, food for children and babies, and more.
We’re proud to be a part of a strong community and culture where the well-being of our employees and global citizens is a top priority, especially in the face of this humanitarian crisis, and we will continue to offer ongoing support in various forms as long as it is needed. Thank you to everyone who has already donated to the ZRZUTKA fundraiser. Your generosity is incredibly appreciated and is truly making a difference for our EnerSys colleagues.