Opening Up about Volunteering

Hello, everyone! I'm Katerina, the PR and Brand Manager at Boolat Play Studio. My career in game development began in 2014, but I plan to talk about something other than making games today. I want to talk about my team's experience volunteering, how we aid the Ukrainian military, and how my journey in volunteering began.

Про волонтерську діяльність

When the full-scale invasion struck, I immediately knew I wanted to do volunteer work. Right away, I started seeking out like-minded individuals so we could come together and start helping others. Luckily, many people and organizations in my hometown had the same desire.

The first months were overwhelming with all the work around evacuation missions and providing humanitarian aid, coupled with supporting the military. From day one, there were many attacks on military units, and the need for essentials like food, blankets, and sleeping bags was urgent. We had to source them from friends since most stores had closed due to the initial panic.

Word of mouth was crucial in spreading the word about the need as friends and acquaintances shared contacts. People from the business community and volunteers came forward to contribute essentials. We rallied our collective efforts towards aiding those in need.

I started off with nothing but personal savings and sheer enthusiasm but later found incredible support from my company and colleagues. Today, my role mainly involves fundraising, procurement, and collaborating with charitable foundations. But I still take every chance I can to personally deliver aid whenever possible.

Support from the Company

During the first weeks of the war, our company provided all its employees with paid leave, enabling us to fully dedicate our time to volunteering. It helped us establish contacts, understand essential supply chains, and identify who and what needed our help most.

But then came the realization that sustained efforts required more than personal initiatives and sheer enthusiasm.
That's when our director proposed supporting a charity project launched by  GamesGatheringan old friend and partner. It was the first charity project we joined. Subsequently, one of our employees introduced us to Tatyana, head of the “Green Roads of Ukraine” charity foundation.

As a partner of this foundation, our studio allocates monthly funds, and our employees actively participate in all its initiatives as volunteers.

Collaborating with Green Roads led to many successful endeavors. We supported the Darnitsa Boarding School with essentials like food. We even organized the transfer of teachers to their students in Europe with the help of volunteers. Another of our joint projects was also to help Klavdievsk Hospital Hospice, which was under occupation in Borodianka District. Additionally, we organized a New Year's celebration for the children at the Uman Orphanage, receiving an abundance of smiles and heartfelt emotions in return.

And continuing to expand our humanitarian aid efforts, in September, we launched a large-scale initiative to assist internally displaced people and those affected by hostilities. The company allocates funds to purchase essential goods, and our employee volunteers, alongside foundation volunteers, gather packages comprising things like medicine, personal hygiene products, food, and other necessities, which are then sent to those in need and sometimes even personally delivered to affected areas.

Support from the Team

It's worth noting that I had been with the studio for less than a year when the active hostilities began. I didn't anticipate such enthusiastic support for my personal ideas and initiatives from the team. However, the first fundraising effort within the company demonstrated that despite being a small studio, we can accomplish a great deal together.

Now, the team raises the funds for the needs of our defenders every month. I'm grateful for their enormous trust in me, as it enables our aid to reach numerous defenders across the entire front line.

Each month, we support various armed forces units through our collective endeavors. For instance, with the onset of warmer weather, front-line soldiers needed T-shirts as laundry facilities are not always accessible, and uniforms wear out quickly in battle conditions.

Collaborating with our colleagues, we raised funds for tablets, laptops, and backup power supplies for the air defense brigade that valiantly protects our skies.

We bought tactical gear for fighters in the South and East and sourced personal first aid kits, mobile hospitals, and medications from overseas.
Fundraising is conducted based on requests from the military. This ensures we know the precise purpose of the funds raised and who will receive the assistance. For instance, as autumn approached, we received requests for rain gear, flashlights, generators, and other essentials for basic comfort during service, to which we promptly responded.

And we remember how important it is to bring moments of joy to the soldiers. That's why, on January 1, one of the combat units received sweets, nutrition bars, and other goodies from the team at Boolat, recognizing the need to bring a bit of festivity to our defenders. Later that month, we dispatched a powerful generator to the repair crew in the East and plates for armored vests to front-line fighters.

In Conclusion, our studio's example illustrates that even a small team can achieve significant results and that compassionate individuals are always nearby, ready to lend support.

Now, many people are beginning to feel war weary. It's important to remember not to be hard on yourself when such feelings arise. You just need to take a break and relax. Our soldiers on the front lines protect our ability to lead peaceful lives, so there's no need to judge yourself for taking a vacation or a day off to recharge. The volunteer movement and the nation will be okay for a few days without your direct involvement, but your homeland does need you to be healthy and recharged!

Keep in mind the "10 hryvnia rule" (donations that grow exponentially with the help of social networking), stay vigilant, and resist apathy—Ukraine will be victorious!