Poland has welcomed over 4.5 of the 9 million Ukrainians who have been displaced across Europe since the beginning of Russia’s invasion. Citizens, private organisations and companies have been raising funds and setting up initiatives to offer all kinds of support. WARTA promptly joined these efforts.
Already in February, when hostilities began, WARTA’s Board of Management established a fund of PLN 10 million (approximately 2,1 million euros) to aid people affected by the war – primarily orphans and families living in Ukraine and refugees residing in Poland – and a second fund of PLN 1 million (approximately 210,000 euros) to support employee initiatives aimed at helping Ukrainian refugees.
“The refugees were so numerous at the borders that they had to be dispersed in other regions of Poland on humanitarian trains. One of our managers has been at the reception points in Warsaw right from the start to help with logistics and provide essential goods like water, food and hygiene products. Many people only had the clothes they escaped in,” recalled Dawid Korszeń, spokesperson and PR manager at WARTA.
WARTA also launched the “Refugee Employment Programme” to hire Ukrainian citizens who are looking for work in Poland for an indefinite period. Job offers and advertisements have been published in Polish and Ukrainian in order to facilitate the recruitment process. Application documents were translated and a Ukrainian assistant was hired in the Human Resources Department to support candidates who can’t speak Polish.
26 new colleagues
Jan Englisz from the Human Resources Department at WARTA. outlines the thinking behind the initiative: “We aren’t doing this out of pity. We have genuine compassion for the hardship they are having to endure but these people are our colleagues and fully fledged employees, and that’s how they are treated. It’s important for all of us to live the situation as a new normality.”
26 refugees have been hired so far – half of them for vacancies that already exist, the other half for additional positions created under the initiative. Most of the new recruits are working in the client handling division and the contact centre where they can also offer customer support to Ukrainian clients. Other people have been hired to work in IT, Project Management and Finance.
“I’m impressed. And proud”
In addition to the activities of the company, there are a lot of bottom-up initiatives that are a source of great pride to Jan Englisz. When the war began, the organisation and roll-out of aid programmes took time – but WARTA´s employees didn’t simply wait for them to take off. They played a leading role and travelled to the border, often after working shifts of eight hours to help orphans and women evacuate the country, bring medical supplies and provide first aid. Sometimes they worked there until dawn and then returned to their jobs in the morning. Everybody got involved, contributed, gave money and collected useful items. What’s more, they didn’t hesitate to open their doors and offer lots of refugees a place to stay.
“I’m not surprised. But yes, I’m impressed. And proud,” said Jan Englisz. “It’s easy to donate money and things but this kind of support is not just a one-off gesture – it represents a long-term and brave commitment.”
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