The war in Ukraine dealt a heavy blow to the country’s economy and business. The catastrophic drop in the energy intensity of GDP, the decrease in the internal solvency of the population, the deepening of the economic crisis in the country, systemic risks, etc. are all new realities that Ukrainian business has to adapt to today.
Despite the circumstances, the business adapts and continues to work, support employees, the state, while saving jobs and paying taxes to the budget. Part of the Ukrainian business is trying to do even more – engage in charity work and support the Armed Forces whenever possible. The socially responsible “face” of business that is seen today, as proof of its invincibility, first of all, strengthens the hope of millions of Ukrainians every day.
Since the beginning of the full-scale invasion of Ukraine, the multidisciplinary industrial and investment group Aurum has lost more than 40% of its business: part of the company’s enterprises have been occupied and were destroyed, and another part is located in the Sumy region bordering russia. However, despite the fact that production volumes currently do not cover business costs, the company continues to pay salaries to all the employees and the families of mobilized workers, as well as pay taxes in full to local and state budgets. The Charity Fund of the business owner Alona Lebedieva, “Aurum”, and the enterprises of the Group continue to actively help local communities and the military.
Therefore, one of the Group’s plants in the Sumy region, which is a city-forming enterprise, has been actively participating in the city’s defense measures, protection of the population, and assistance to the Armed Forces since the first days of the war.
In order for the employees of the factory together with their families and residents of the village to be safe during the siege, the factory’s bomb shelter was equipped with everything necessary – drinking water, emergency batteries for continuous lighting, stoves for heating, firewood, kerosene and kettles.
The factory has the only warning siren in the village, so employees are on duty 24 hours a day and notify the public about the danger.
In addition, the plant is the only provider of water drainage, and drinking water supply to the population, as well as sewage disposal in the village. Therefore, the management made sure that during the power shutdowns in the village the plant had sufficient supply of electricity. Besides, the population is provided with the humanitarian goods and farm milk.
On behalf of the shareholder Alona Lebedieva, the plant handed over metal structures to set up sports grounds in the city. “We understand very well that business plays a key role in the restoration of Ukrainian cities,” explains Alona Lebedieva.
Another machine-building enterprise of the Group in the Kirovohrad region independently provided territorial defense with large anti-tank hedgehogs and other kind of hedgehogs to prevent wheeled vehicles from passing through dirt roads and forest strips.
In the first weeks of the war, the plant actively contributed to the establishment of roadblocks, provided camouflage netting, fuel, etc., and also facilitated the creation of a humanitarian corridor for displaced persons. More than 150 temporary migrants were able to find shelter within the walls of the plant – food, medicine, overnight accommodation and showers were available. The factory took care of everything necessary. Practically all employees were hosting the displaced people in their homes. So together, the plant provided assistance to more than 300 peopleм.
Another agrarian enterprise of the Group in the Kharkiv region became a kind of a stronghold, and provided the population of the region, as well as the displaced people, with things of essential necessity – medicines, food, personal hygiene items, money, etc. In particular, the enterprise helped restore the production of pasta products in the region by providing the producer with grain. Daily delivery of bread to the village was organized and the work of the local pharmacy and medical center was restored. But, unfortunately, the enterprise is currently under occupation.
The actual history of the Alona Lebedieva Charity Fund began back in 2017 with assistance to one clinic in conducting repair work and with material and technical support, which eventually grew into systemic assistance to medical institutions in the country.
Grateful doctors recall: “Currently, there are numerous unsolved problems in terms of material and technical support of hospitals, from repair work and to a lack of modern equipment. We are sincerely grateful to the Alona Lebedieva Charity Fund “Aurum” for the assistance provided. Three wards-boxes have been restored, the bathroom equipment has been completely replaced, and the furniture has been updated,” Tetiana Kaminska, chief physician of the Kyiv City Children’s Clinical Infectious Disease Hospital, shared her memories.
In a few months the Charity Fund renovated three wards in the Pediatrics Department of Early Childhood at the Children’s Clinical Hospital No. 4 in the Solomiansky district of Kyiv: “The floor was replaced, the walls were plastered, suspended ceilings were installed, new lamps and sockets were installed, and bathrooms were built in each ward. Positive emotions help a child to recover, recharge and give confidence,” – recalls Maryna Kaplun, deputy chief medical doctor, head of pediatrics department No.2.
In different years, the fund has always adapted to the most acute social problems and requests, such as the material and technical support of medical institutions, help in the treatment of children, etc., and therefore, with the beginning of the war, the fund’s activities were transformed into protection of the population and assistance to the Armed Forces. Currently, the “Aurum” Charitable Fund is buying military equipment, additional equipment for soldiers and cars – everything necessary that helps save the lives of Ukrainian defenders.
Thus, in 2022, the Charity Fund handed over 5 cars for the needs of the army, including an ambulance for the total amount of about 1 million hryvnias, more than 1,000 plate carriers, 200 of which were with plates, for a total amount of more than UAH 2.5 million hryvnias. During the year, the company held many events on the basis of enterprises and was able to cover the needs of Terrirotiral Defense Unites in the regions for a total amount of more than UAH 3 million.
It is interesting that the fund has gradually turned into a locus where many proactive and caring people unite their efforts to together bring aid projects to life:
“This is very motivating, because people trust the foundation’s reputation. We accumulate funds sent by enterprises’ employees, ordinary citizens, and, in the end, it helps us to do even more for our defenders,” shared the Director of the Charity Fund, Regina Popova.
Alona Lebedieva herself also helps newborn children who need expensive operations in the first weeks of life, or children whose families cannot cover the costs of treatment.
“The war in Ukraine changed the lives of each of us. Upended our plans and priorities. Presented many challenges. However, the most important thing is to remain humane,” said Alona Lebedieva, founder of the Charity Fund.