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Editor’s Note: This post has been updated on August 24, 2022.
When the Ukraine war started on February 24, 2022, we were stunned and saddened by the sheer brutality and reckless aggression of the Russian invasion. As we mentioned previously, Ukraine has long had a special place in our hearts. Some of Cloudbeds’ earliest team members included Ukrainians, many of whom have been with us ever since.
Our Ukrainian colleagues have helped build the Cloudbeds platform, created the training for our products, and answered countless support calls, among many other things. Ukrainians are an integral part of our company’s history and its future.
Though the global headlines may have moved on, the sad reality is that the war in Ukraine continues to be as brutal and grinding as ever. Our Ukrainian colleagues, as well as their families and loved ones, have not only suffered unspeakable tragedies but continue to live under the duress of potential bombings and attacks.
And yet, their resilience and spirit is nothing short of inspiring. While some have relocated, many have stayed in the country to volunteer and help their fellow countrymen. Below is a selection of their anecdotes and stories. Names have been concealed to protect their identities.
My whole outlook on life changed and is still changing. I now don't plan things for more than a couple of weeks ahead. I’m always super aware of my surroundings and people, pay close attention to strange sounds, keep my phone close to me at all times, and have an emergency suitcase ready if needed. But the biggest change is in priorities and values.
I stayed home for many reasons. During the first couple of days, everything was so chaotic and the thought did cross my mind, but I knew that if there was an option to move, I would move alone, leaving behind my spouse, family, and pets, which I was not willing to do. But in a couple of weeks, my thinking shifted. Ukraine is my homeland, we cannot all leave it behind, we need to have fairth and keep fighting in any way we can — for some it's joining the armed forces, but for others, it's continuing to work, supporting our economy, volunteering and helping those in need.
I'm inspired by our nation — how united, brave, creative, smart, resourceful, and unbreakable we are. The whole system of volunteers is like nothing you've ever seen before, they are like a huge net all connected with each other to ensure efficiency. People donate anything they can and it all adds up quickly.
I do however encourage non-Ukrainians to simply google the story of Azovstal warriors, or Chornobaivka battles and defense, or Jamala's drive for donations, or our IT sector fighting the propaganda online, or the People's Bayraktar project, I really can go on and on. Every day people in Ukraine are making history.
Everything turned upside down after February 24th. I stayed in Ukraine. Even though my family and I are comparatively safe, we are still afraid that at any minute a missile attack can happen. And everyday news about explosions all over the country, dead or wounded civilians and soldiers keep me awake at night.
The integrity, strength, and resistance of Ukrainians are a great inspiration. People are helping each other as much as they can, gathering funds to help the army, doing everything possible to make the victory closer. And children are also trying to help as much as possible. A 10-year-old girl from my town transferred all the money she got as a gift for her birthday to help the army. That is heartbreaking, but I am happy and proud to see that the next generation is already making a contribution to our future.
Every day on our way to kindergarten my 5-year-old daughter asks if we'll have any air alarm alerts today… I really hope that this nightmare ends very soon.
—Cloudbeds team member
My husband and I have been staying in our apartment in Kyiv since the first day of the war. We also sheltered our close friends from Vyshgorod (because of the shelling just near their house on the first day) with their dog in our apartment for a month (our cat was not happy about our decision though 😹). We made the decision to stay in Kyiv together.
My mother-in-law and father-in-law have inspired me immensely because they had been staying in their house in village Ozera near Hostomel and Bucha for the first 16 days and nights and hiding 10 Ukrainian soldiers in their house. Their close friend called them and asked them to help these kids (they're so young!) who were literally running across a field near that airport in Hostomel that was shelled and seized by Russians on the first day. They didn't have power, water, heating, mobile or internet connections at all. Everyone in the village knew that they were hiding the Ukrainian soldiers and helped them as much as possible with clothes, food, water, etc. My parents-in-law, along with their neighbors, were able to survive and take out each of the soldiers on the 16th day of staying in the village. Everyone is safe right now and grateful to my parents-in-law for saving their lives.
We, as Cloudbeds employees, can't thank our company enough for protecting our jobs and supporting us greatly during these horrible times.
—Cloudbeds team member
I decided to stay in Ukraine. I have elderly parents, and they have been reluctant to leave the country. It would be impossible for me to remain calm knowing that at any moment they may be in danger.
I stay alert 24/7 since my city has been hit by several missile strikes at night. Any unusual sound I hear pushes me to the newsfeed to confirm it's not related to any new attacks. I also started taking my phone to bed so I don't miss any air raid alerts. Not to mention that every morning starts now with reading the news about night events in the country. It's been very mentally tiring.
I have never been so proud for the people in my country. The way the war united us, and gave trust to our military forces, it's just mind-blowing. I hope it remains the same after we win this war!
I decided to stay in Ukraine. Firstly, my family is staying and there's no other home we have. Secondly, as there's no safe way to leave the city, you take a risk to go through multiple Russian block-posts and constant check-ups if you want to escape. There's no way to escape directly to Ukraine anymore, the only way is to go through Russia.
I can’t plan anything and live from day to day. I cannot move around as before (due to being in the occupied territory) and feel as free as other people in Europe. And also I check the news every day.
Life happened. The biggest motivation is that life is still moving on; resetting yourself to the default settings is the best option right now. Having an option to live in a location with great nature and being able to work (when many people are losing their jobs) is the best motivation not to concentrate on the horrors around you, but to proceed on moving.”
The biggest challenge is that you cannot make any plans for the future. You don't know what will happen in one day or even one hour. Moreover, I cannot be in my native city now, I'm staying now in my relatives' home in another city. I cannot visit my friends, visit my favorite coffee shop, or take a walk in the park that is close to my home. My day-to-day life is focused on constantly checking the news, hearing air raid alerts, and listening to devastating stories from my close ones.
I was born in Ukraine and my whole life I'm living here. Even in peaceful times, I had never had a dream or a plan to move somewhere and leave my country for a long period of time. Now, a lot of people in Ukraine are forced to leave because of war, but I still hope that I won't have to. We had long chats with my mom and sister about what should we do. We came to the decision that until the place that we are staying at is relatively safe, we will not cross the Ukrainian border.
For people who have never experienced something similar, it’s hard to understand the reason behind the decision to stay in Ukraine, and honestly, if I were on the 'safe' side, I probably wouldn't understand either. Because you can only feel how it is to leave your home, where you had all your good and bad memories, favorite places, family, friends, and relatives. And this decision is made worse by the fact that it's not my plan to change the place that I live, but rather that someone came to my country and is forcing me to leave under the constant bombing.
From the very beginning, I've decided to stay in Ukraine. It seemed to me that I and my friends could help refugees and our army. Our people and what my friends do inspire me. Some of them joined Ukraine's military, some of them became volunteers, and some joined the territorial defense forces. Recruitment offices were overcrowded in the first month. Everyone I know became very proactive. We met people at railway and bus stations, and helped them with food and clothes, logistics, shelters, etc. Lots of people were split into armed groups and helped police to patrol the streets.
The biggest change to my day-to-day life is the general atmosphere — air alerts that force us to go to the bomb shelter, unpredictable missile attacks. But I've already got used to this feeling. I also have a feeling that we all could be prepared better for this.
I moved abroad in December last year when Russia started gathering troops on the border. Even though until the last moment we hoped it was a false alarm, a week after making the decision to move, we took our things and moved to Poland. Fortunately, thanks to Cloudbeds, I was able to keep my job and continue working in Poland safely. I don't think I would have moved if I wasn't able to keep my job.
My dad was called to join the army and he is constantly in my thoughts. I never thought war would come to my family, but I am proud of him.
The most inspiring moment was when I shared on social media that my dad is going to war and a lot of my friends immediately responded, "If he needs anything, let us know and we will raise the money no matter what." That moved me so much when I realized I am surrounded by true friends that never let me down.
I have learned to value every single day of my life and be grateful for every day when my family is healthy and alive.
I'm still in Ukraine because my husband is not allowed to leave the country and I don't want to leave with our kid for an indefinite amount of time.
There has been a lot of work on myself, on acceptance of the situation, and a lot of fear for my family and friends. It is truly inspiring though how our defenders and our people fight for our freedom. It is remarkable how many people volunteer and donate every single day. I have never experienced so much pride for our nation and our country.
I still can't believe such a violent and undeserved war is happening today to my country. I can't believe that my friend, who has no experience in the military, volunteered and is now fighting in the 'hottest' region. I would never imagine I would be terrified to sleep at home.”
I had to leave my home because it became a dangerous place to stay when the bombs and rockets started landing closer and closer. Now I day-to-day I’m checking the news to see what is happening there in my city, and calling parents and relatives who strictly decided to stay there to assure myself that they are safe.
I am staying Ukraine. Currently, I'm in the central part of the country where I feel safe, but I can't leave the country anyway because of cross-border restrictions for men. I’m glad for all the support Cloudbeds provides for Ukrainians.
Ukraine will win!!!
—Cloudbeds team member
Our Ukrainian team members say that the country is in dire need of essential non-perishable goods and supplies, many of which are in very short supply. Even a simple month's worth of diapers or a box of ramen could go a long way.
To help with the effort, we’ve set up a supply donation drive in partnership with ShortageUA, a group of volunteers with logistics and tech experience that have set up an online portal to help direct humanitarian aid to Ukraine.
Donating supplies is as simple as buying something off Amazon. Browse through the supply list to find out what’s needed, find it on Amazon or any other large e-commerce site, have it shipped to one of the designated warehouses nearby, and let ShortageUA know it’s coming by filling out the form on their website.
To make a donation, please visit www.shortageua.com/ua_cloudbeds.
ShortageUA was created and is led by a group of old friends from Ukraine and Silicon Valley. We have all been directly affected by this war, and from its first days, we’ve been buying supplies in western countries and delivering them to the border where they are handed over to other volunteers. The humanitarian platform ShortageUA.com was created to organize the logistics of this informal network and help people around the world easily donate tangible goods instead of money — a preference many people have. To learn more, please visit www.shortageua.com/us/about.
If you’d like to make a monetary donation, we’ve researched non-profit organizations that are already making a difference by quickly mobilizing to confront the crisis:
Unicef USA: Children in Crossfire of Ukraine Crisis;
Sunflower of Peace Foundation, a US-based nonprofit founded after the 2014 conflict;
National Bank of Ukraine, supporting Ukrainian Armed Forces;
ICRC International Committee of the Red Cross for Ukraine, Ukraine Crisis fund.
Doctors without Borders, currently mobilizing emergency preparedness.
Nova Poshta Global, delivering humanitarian goods across Ukraine and abroad
As a tech company in the hospitality space, our nonprofit activities have always focused on guiding those in need to where they can find open beds. There have been several initiatives launched by companies and organizations in this space, including the following:
Hospitality for Ukraine, which is compiling a directory of available beds to house refugees and displaced individuals;
Every Bed Helps, an initiative by the Alliance of German Serviced Apartments;
Czech Republic: People in Need
Slovakia: Charita Slovakia
Hungary: HIA Hungary
We urge lodging and accommodation providers everywhere to register and open their doors where they can. There is much we can do to leverage the power of our industry in this crisis. As our CEO Adam Harris has said, “Throughout the last few days I’ve seen powerful images of solidarity and bravery coming out of Ukraine. They give me hope. The circumstances there would spark fear, terror, and hopelessness in most rational people. And yet, every moment I’m seeing new photos that tell a different story: one of strength and courage.”
Lastly, sometimes a simple act of solidarity can go a long way in sending a message. We’ve created these images that you can use as a Zoom background or LinkedIn banner to voice your support.
Thank you for being part of our community. We’re stronger together.