Maria’s Story

My name is Maria, and I am from Kramatorsk. I want to express my deep gratitude to Aid Ukraine Denmark for the great help to Ukrainian people who fled the war in Ukraine. By a happy coincidence, I was a passenger on the first Aid Ukraine Denmark bus for Ukrainian refugees from Poland to Denmark on the 11th of March. On the first of August, I started to work and finally settled here in Denmark. Here is my story. Terrified by war and occupation, we had to flee from our home in the Donbas area. We flew from my home city Kramatorsk to Poland. I had to go to a completely different city in Denmark. But at a refugee camp in Poland, the bus check-in desk told me to wait a day.
I was with my mother and a small dog, we had already been two days on the road, and we were so tired that I decided not to wait for another bus but to take the Aid Ukraine Denmark bus, and I was not a mistake. As you know, accidents are not accidental. I am happy to be here where this bus brought us!

Ever since leaving Ukraine for Denmark, I have been thinking about volunteering. I couldn’t help in Ukraine, but I wanted to be helpful in Denmark! After three months of adaptation to a new life, I became a volunteer at the Aid Ukraine Denmark team! I am grateful for the opportunity to take part in the job fair for Ukrainians as an interpreter. It was an incredible experience for me. It was a meaningful and fulfilling job to help people like me and my fellow citizens in need. We are bound by the same tragedy, we lost homes and employment, and we had to flee to save our lives. We want to work, and we need jobs. Such events help us not only to find a job but also to engage and integrate into Denmark. I was one of them, a person who was looking for a job.

By June, I have already attended several job interviews. In July, I found a job as a waitress in a cosy hotel Konventum in Helsingør. I made the right choice. I am so happy that I have this job. I consider my workplace – my second home, and my colleagues are my family. They support me and help me with practical advice and job onboarding. Even when I am tired, I am happy because of my team and colleagues at Konventum.

I started to attend a Danish language school twice a week after work. At school, I study grammar, and at work, I practice with colleagues and guests. Every day bit by bit, I understand Danish better. I am very thankful to be here.

Thank you for your hospitality!

Will’s Story

In April 2022, I found an intriguing post on LinkedIn where an NGO in Denmark was seeking to leverage a technology platform (Smartsheet) which I use heavily managing operations and workflows at a software company here in the United States. This was an uncanny discovery that matched up many of my interests and passions.

I have been an admirer of Nordic culture, social democracy, humanism, history, and languages for the past few years. The chance to help Ukrainians in their time of need, make friends in Denmark, and share a bit of my own expertise for a wonderful cause was all too good not to embrace!

The Aid Ukraine Denmark IT Team was extremely welcoming to me, when I reached out across the Atlantic Ocean and two continents to offer some help. We have created many useful workflows and centralized and simplified many sources of data that are needed to improve operations of Aid Ukraine Denmark in a very short time. We have collaborated to design many vehicles for delivering more aid and community in the coming months and beyond. I am honored and consider it a great privilege to contribute to helping a group of people who have banded together to offer support in so many ways to the embattled migrants from Ukraine. The humanitarian crisis presented to the whole world is a moment in history for solidarity and kindness even as war must be waged on so many fronts.

The experience so far has been very rewarding and is teaching me about myself – providing global perspective to my everyday life and energizing me to give what I can. My hope is to enable others to do the same and, in the process, make life some tiny bit easier for those who are oppressed.

Stine’s story

I am a graphic designer, married to Jacob, and we have two boys aged 26 and 24. In February 2022, I saw a post on LinkedIn from Thomas Senderovitz, who called for Housing people/Buddies for the new NGO, Aid Ukraine Denmark, of which he is chairman of the board. My husband and I decided we would like to be a buddy for an Ukrainian person who fled the war. We wrote to Aid Ukraine Denmark. Two days later, we received a call from another volunteer who asked if we would arrange a football day for Ukrainian children. Two weeks later, my husband and I had a wonderful Sunday at our children’s old football club, where we welcomed 80 wonderful Ukrainian mothers with kids who came to play football and meet each other. Kids played football, ate a sandwich and got a gift to take home.

What I experienced that day made such a big impression on me: mothers hugged each other and cried together, they are bound by the same tragedy, so I wanted to do much more to make them feel welcome in Denmark. My purpose was not only to give the children a good experience but also the mothers. I want them to meet each other and be able to network or help each other.

I started in Team Social, and we organised many different free social events: tennis, roller skating, football, basketball, football school, swimming and our weekly youth evenings for young people between 16-24 years of age. Since April, we have held a weekly evening from 5-7 pm where we help young people with practical challenges: language, jobs, and clothes. Food, travel cards, and bicycles. Hugs, kind words, and care are our emotional support. We always tell them that we are here to help them.

In Team Social, we care for around 25 young Ukrainian people, act as their Danish mothers, and help them as best we can. We have also collected many bags of clothes and donated them to the various refugee centres in Copenhagen. Our team is responsible for social events and direct help to mothers, children and young people.

I have made so many new friends and learned so much about Ukraine, and I am pleased to see how they are more and more integrated into Denmark, and Aid Ukraine Denmark has contributed to that. So I am proud to be part of Aid Ukraine Denmark.

Yevheniia’s story

In March 2022 I was still sitting in my hometown in Ukraine, listening to the constant sound of air alarms and not knowing what to do with my life. At some point, I had to decide, and I chose to come to Denmark in search of a safer life.

It was an Aid Ukraine Denmark volunteer bus that brought me from Warsaw to Copenhagen – the place I settled in is my second home now. I was so satisfied with the support and help that I received from volunteers, that I decided to become a volunteer myself a month after I arrived in Denmark. I felt that some Ukrainians had much worse situations than I did, and I knew that I have enough time and emotional strength to help them. My language skills became my most important tool, therefore I started to assist Aid Ukraine Denmark with translations.

In the meantime, I had to deal with the same challenges as all Ukrainians — looking for a job, a place to live, and friends. Basically, building my life from scratch in a completely new society. I think everything worked out well for me – I got a job that I love, and I also went through a very exciting internship at Copenhagen Fashion Week. I am the only Ukrainian that ever worked there, and I’m proud to share my culture with my new colleagues and friends.

I am still focused on volunteering and helping Ukrainians in Denmark as much as my free time allows me. I believe that during this war everybody needs to find their place to fight for democracy and freedom, and I’m extremely happy that I found mine.

Radmila’s story

I am Russian – Georgian. I moved to Denmark 8 years ago from Moscow. My husband is Danish; my daughter is Danish, Russian and Georgian. So, my family is very diverse, and I enjoy it!

When the war started, I was in shock and enormous pain, shame and guilt. Yet, I found the strength, courage and energy to turn my pain into action. Before moving to Denmark, I was a marketing director at Essity, responsible for Russia, Ukraine and CIS countries. When the war started, I offered to help my former colleagues in Ukraine. One of my former colleagues moved to my home in Copenhagen on the 6th of March. Dariia had been living with my family for the last two months.

We did not see each other for ten years, but when the war entered our homes, Dariia and I became family. After collecting three humanitarian aids and hosting Dariia, I joined Aid Ukraine Denmark as a team lead for translation.

We cannot change where we are born, but we can choose what kind of people we want to be. Our actions define who we are. I have made my choice. I decided to help and stand with Ukraine as my way of protecting democracy and human rights. When I see a Ukrainian woman – I do not see a refugee – I see a mother, I see a sister or a friend. I want to hug her and take care of her and her children. I want her to be safe and protected in my new home here in Denmark.

Empathy and care are at the heart of everything we do as volunteers. Our translation team builds bridges; we are the first who meet people and welcome them here in Denmark. One of our jobs was to join buses from Denmark to Poland to transport the Ukrainians who had fled the war to Denmark. I was on a mission myself; 44 Ukrainians were on my bus. I will never forget this experience. I am very proud that Aid Ukraine Denmark has brought safely 529 Ukrainians to Denmark. Being a volunteer is my most rewarded job!