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Ukraine Blog: A Compassionate Approach

September 29, 2022    Posted by: Eli Lilly and Company


September 30, 2022

Taking in Strangers 

A single mother and her 7-year-old daughter fled Odesa, a bustling port city on the Black Sea in southern Ukraine just after the war started. The pair made the 400-mile journey to Bucharest, Romania for safety. Following their arrival, a local non-governmental organization (NGO) assisted the two with paperwork and access to medical care.  

In response to an NGO's referral, a Lilly employee with a young daughter invited the mother and daughter to live with her. There, they found stability.

In Bucharest, the girl now attends a private school where she learns Romanian and English. The NGO employed the mother to provide translation services and case management and provided an apartment. The new friends meet regularly during the summer while the girls play — despite the language barrier, a benefit of childhood.  

Life is unsure for the Ukrainian mother — she has submitted her documents for emigration to Canada and the U.S.A., but nothing is certain.  

Continuing Education

The son of a Lilly Ukraine employee fled to Germany from Brovary, near Kyiv, in the spring — not long after the war began. (His father remained in Ukraine.) Lilly Germany employees facilitated his acceptance into a German schooling system so that he had ongoing in-person education; he’s learning German and now access to a range of educational opportunities.

After earning his high school diploma remotely, he’s now studying supply management and logistics at European University (a private university in Ukraine) through a virtual program.

The boy's father began working at Lilly in 2005, the same year his son was born. "As you can see his life and my work at Lilly ran in parallel. That is why he knows quite a lot about Lilly and asks when he can start working at Lilly," his father said. "We cannot predict anything for the near future. Perhaps he will be back home after the war."

June 13, 2022

Thinking globally and acting locally

Chalk drawings of hearts and flags with the words, “glory to the heroes” and “glory to Ukraine” line the street of a shelter home in Poland -- stark reminders that many Ukrainian refugees are children. Amid the trauma of being uprooted from homes and families, these youthful expressions are a declaration that they will never forget their homeland -- and are now in a safe space.

Since Russian forces invaded Ukraine on February 24, more than 6.5 million people from Ukraine have crossed into neighboring countries. Lilly employees in Central Europe have jumped in to help.

Many of our colleagues have welcomed refugees into their homes. Others are volunteering with local charities, providing transportation and helping connect refugees with access to medical care, jobs and schools. Among the people they’ve taken in, most are women, children and the elderly – and all are desperate:

  • A 35-year-old mother and teacher with one child and her 70-year-old mother-in-law, fled Kharkiv after her husband was killed in the fighting. Urgent psychological and emotional support was needed.

  • A pregnant 30-year-old with two children under age 10, is joined by her mother, and her 28-year-old sister. They all lived in the area of Dnipro in central Ukraine and escaped on foot. All left their husbands, who were still fighting. A volunteer at the border greeted them and gave the children a package full of sweets, but the children weren’t interested. They were all silent from the journey. Everyone looked beaten down, exhausted, and sick, so they needed medical consultation and medicines.

  • A 58-year-old cleaning woman from Ivano-Frankivsk arrived at the Polish border with her two young granddaughters. The girls' mother stayed in their village to help her husband and father run a small farm. 

  • A 70-year-old man, his wife and two children would like to return to their house and farm in Konotop in northeastern Ukraine. But they later received news that bombs had destroyed it.

As a global company, our employees around the world are also stepping up with monetary donations, matched by the Lilly Foundation. In addition, Lilly has donated millions of dollars of lifesaving medicines to treat diabetes and complications caused by COVID-19 through our partnerships with Project Hope and Direct Relief.


April 23, 2022

From Montreal to the Poland-Ukrainian border

Watching the war in Ukraine from his Montreal home, Patric Crevier was moved – literally.

“I thought, ‘You know, I wish I could do something. I need to do something because people are leaving everything behind.

“What if I went there?”

A few days later, Crevier was on a flight to Europe, headed to help refugees at the Ukrainian border crossing at Mydeca, Poland.

“I thought maybe if I show up, there's probably something for me to do,” said Crevier, a sales manager with Lilly Canada.

“I didn't see many people cry, but you could tell that they were shocked by the situation -- but so proud. They had a lot of dignity. Sometimes, it took some convincing to help them. They’d say, ‘I can carry my bags myself.’ I tried to tell them, 'Look, you don't know it, but you'll have to walk for a mile, and you've got all these bags and your kids, so just let me help you.' Ukrainians are proud, resilient people. 

“I would escort them once they crossed, helping them get a SIM card for their phone, water, food, and clothing, and get them to the bus to take them elsewhere. I also helped people cross back over into Ukraine. They wanted to get back to their families and homes. I worked non-stop, 10-to-12 hours a day. It was hard every night to go back to my hotel because of the need for help. I could have helped 24 hours a day, but I needed to sleep. Otherwise, I won't be able to come back the next day.

“It was hard to tear myself away from the situation every day, and it was very hard on the last day.”

Patric Crevier, Lilly Canada

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