For the last five years, I’ve had the pleasure of working with people from around the world. The internet and remote work have made this vast planet smaller for me. I’ve gotten to know people from many different countries and cultural backgrounds, from Scotland to Australia, Argentina to Singapore. I’ve also been able to work with a lot of talented developers from Ukraine.
At BigCommerce, we have more than 100 team members who work in the Kyiv office — people who have tirelessly worked day after day to create amazing additions to our platform. They’re also people with families, plans, hopes and dreams — and on February 24, 2022, those hopes and dreams got put on hold.
“The war caught everyone pretty unexpectedly and disrupted everything: plans, life, work,” said Kristina Pototska, product manager for the Multi-Storefront project at BigCommerce.
“During the first days we were just trying to figure out what to do to survive and were constantly texting to each other to check in and make sure everyone was safe. We were hoping that it would all end soon, but it became clear that wasn’t going to happen. Then we started adapting our lives to this new reality.”
Since that day in February, everyone here has worked hard to come together and provide support in any way possible. There have been calls for donations for our friends on the front lines. At our partner summit this year, we worked with our partners to raise funds that helped our friends at Mira Commerce purchase ambulances for use in Ukraine.
But it’s easy to feel useless in a situation like this; to watch fellow human beings go through so much when you’re half a world away, sitting safely in your own home.
That’s where Bohdan Hodzenko, product designer at BigCommerce, and other members of the Ukraine team saw an opportunity for the rest of the world to help.
The Stand With Ukraine App
Working together, Hodzenko and his team created the Stand With Ukraine app. The app can be downloaded from the BigCommerce App Store and allows merchants to add a donate widget to their site with a few simple clicks. Once the widget is installed, merchants can add a personalized message and select from a number of pre-vetted organizations for shoppers to donate to.
“When the war started, every Ukrainian tried to do something to help our people and our country,” Hodzenko explained. “On the second day of the war, I started working as a volunteer in my city helping people with food, clothes and shelter. Then I thought ‘What else can I do?’ After a few discussions with colleagues, we decided that we could ask merchants to help us in this tough time. The easiest way to do that would be by creating an app.”
Hodzenko has even created a video on his own YouTube channel that shows how easy it is to install and customize the app in your store.
For merchants on other ecommerce platforms, an open-source version of the Stand With Ukraine widget is currently in the works. This will allow merchants across the world to add it to their own store and accept donations, regardless of what platform you’re using.
“We created this app to help people in Ukraine. A lot of them have lost their family and friends, homes, jobs. It’s still happening every day,” Pototska explained. “We’ve been living and working in basements and parking garages; celebrating birthdays and weddings under constant shelling; making water and food supplies; waking up in the middle of the night from missile attack alarms and every day doing whatever we can to help our people and our country.”
The Final Word
It’s easy to feel like there’s no way to make an impact on a crisis that’s unfolding thousands of miles away. While we can’t physically stand next to the people of Ukraine, we can stand with them in other ways: by using our own voices and freedom to stand up to oppression; by sending love and support to those impacted and by backing the organizations that are there on the ground making a difference.
The Stand With Ukraine app makes it easy for people like you and me to make an impact. Download and install the app today to stand with the people of Ukraine and create positive change in the world.