How Bolt employees are supporting the people of Ukraine
11 Mar 2022
As a company, Bolt stands firmly with the people of Ukraine during these difficult times. But it’s important to note that our employees do too. In this blog post, we’ll introduce you to the members of our team that are taking the lead in initiatives that support the people in Ukraine.
Honey badger mentality
In Bolt’s not-so-little-anymore circle, we call each other “honey badgers”. If you didn’t know, honey badgers are pretty much the most fearless animals on the planet. They have such faith in their abilities that they’re known for attacking enemies with far greater size and strength.
To anyone outside the company, this might sound ridiculous but to us, the honey badger is the perfect representation of the way we act. Bolt is a family of honey badgers, many of whom simply could not allow themselves to sit still in a situation that called for action.
And we’re extremely proud of the employees that have stood up and taken that action. 💙💛
On the morning of the 24th of February, Mathis Bogens, Bolt’s Head of Internal Communications, created a #support-ukraine Slack channel to keep everyone informed about what was going on.
It was obvious that people wanted to support, participate in conversations, and find ways to help but this channel’s growth has now exceeded all expectations.
Within 10 days, more than 1,000 people had joined and shared over 1,700 messages. Most of which concerned supporting locals or helping our Ukrainian employees, their families, and friends in the rising humanitarian crisis. This channel has also been the breeding ground for other projects listed in this post, e.g. the Bolt Buddy program or relocation help.
Within the last two weeks, #support-ukraine has been by far one of the most used channels at Bolt. (To put that into perspective, we have more than 2,000 active channels.)
Here’s Mathis, the one behind this initiative:
Thank you! And thanks to everyone engaging in the conversations.
What started out as a project for helping fellow honey badgers relocate from Ukraine, turned into a volunteer network supporting anyone fleeing their home due to the war, Bolt employee or not.
Now, more than 50 people at Bolt have joined the volunteer network and there’s ongoing cooperation with the Estonian Refugee Council to expedite the process. Thanks to all of this, the volunteers have been able to offer temporary accommodation, food, transportation and help with documentation and living permits to more than 120 people.
Thanks to this initiative, a family of three fleeing from Kushuhum, a city near the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, now has a safe place to stay.
The honey badgers behind this are Eimantas Balta, Sonia Caetano, Gabriel Manduca and Arnaud Lafeuillade. Thank you! And thank you for everyone helping out and doing their best to support the refugees.
Collecting humanitarian goods
Arnaud Lafeuillade is a Quality Assurance Engineer at Bolt. He’s also a documentary photographer who had planned to go and capture the life in Donbas right before the 24th of February when things got even uglier than they were previously.
Russia’s invasion threw his plans out of the window. Frustrating on many levels, sure, but, still, he wanted to help.
First, he drove to Poland from Estonia and helped to get two women and their cat, Salem, back to Tallinn and invited them to stay in his home.
Secondly, you can get in touch with your local refugee centre or branch of the Red Cross and find out how you can help out. You could also find other local organisations where you can volunteer.
Thirdly, stay mindful. Fake news and false information spread around quickly and we’ve seen the devastating effects that propaganda can have. Follow trusted and well-known media channels for updates and make sure your family and friends do the same.