Russia’s invasion caused a humanitarian crisis. During these trying times, we, the CyberGhost team, absolutely had to help our neighbors. We have committed to assisting Ukrainian refugees in Romania — to help make their time in our country as peaceful and as pleasant as possible.
We are now working closely with refugee support networks to aid families and children in need. We converted parts of our office into a daycare center, and we’ve got more projects coming up.
We want to use the space here to keep our community up to date with what we’re doing, but also to encourage everyone to do their part and help out in any way they can.
We stand with the people of Ukraine, and our hearts go out to all those affected by war. No one should ever have to go through this, so let’s lessen their burden.
When Your Neighbor Is in Danger, You Help
CyberGhost VPN is a company incorporated in Romania, and we operate out of our headquarters in Bucharest.
Grab any map and you’ll see Ukraine and Romania are neighboring countries in Eastern Europe. As you can imagine, we have a shared history.
Our shared history is still in the making. For example, some Ghosties on our team call Ukraine their home. Some of us have family and friends there, and we still have plenty of fridge magnets to celebrate our trips to Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital city, or Odessa, their biggest port-city.
Shocked by Russia’s invasion of a sovereign country, we knew we had to do something.
CyberGhost VPN is not a political entity, and we don’t aspire to be one. We can’t influence state matters. But we are a group of people who can make a difference, and we can lend a helping hand to those fleeing the war:
- We set up a program to host families with children.
- We transformed our office into a comfortable, inviting place for families to stay during the day and let their children play or learn online.
- We try to give everyone a safe space to catch their breath and regain a sense of normalcy.
Last month went by in a flash, but now we’re in a place where we can sit back, take a breath, and update you on what we’ve been doing since February 24, 2022.
A Timeline of What We’ve Done So Far
February 24, 2022 is a day we won’t forget anytime soon. We woke up to the news of Russia invading Ukraine. Glued to our screens and in complete disbelief, we watched it all unfold live.
Knowing the tragedies that come with war, we considered various scenarios and started devising the best way we could help.
Days later, when Ukrainian refugees started entering Romania, we were there for them.
We looked for ways we could help in accordance with our local laws and government guidelines. This is to ensure proper protections were in place in case of medical emergencies or accidents.
Since we are not in the business of producing goods, the logistics of us donating medicine or equipment are more complicated. Instead, we decided our efforts would be best invested in accommodating Ukrainian refugees. Our HR team dealt with all the paperwork and logistics needed to make the transition as smooth as possible for the refugees.
Here’s how this journey looks for us.
February 28 – March 24
Our HR department researched housing and transportation alternatives and began working with refugee support networks to find people who needed our help the most.
Meanwhile, many local hotels and hostels were already filling up. Refugees used them for temporary stays, spending a few nights before traveling further away to meet with family or friends in other countries.
As a result, we started looking into long-term housing solutions for people who need to stay longer in Romania. We also started converting areas of our office into a daycare center.
March 7 – 11
We started housing a few families in a central guest house, Happy Accommodation, near our office. We hosted 12 families — a total of 35 people.
Our office is located on the third floor of a 5-story office building. Due to the layout of the building, the ground floor has a lot of space that isn’t optimal for offices. So we started using it to host refugee families during the day.
We rearranged our cafeteria to serve as a kitchen, and our recreation area got converted into a kids’ club. Children can come to our office during the day to play, share a meal, and use our meeting rooms for online schooling.
Everyone can make their own schedule as they see fit. They’re free to come and go into the building until 6 pm, when our office closes.
March 14 – 18
As time went by, we added more toys to the kids’ club. The ball pit turned out to be very popular. We also put in some tables for drawing and crafts.
The older children attended online classes with their teachers from Ukraine in our meeting rooms. These are soundproof spaces where they can study at their leisure. We provided them with laptops and all the accessories needed to continue their education.
The children had their space to play and interact, but we also took care of the grown-ups. Adults were given access to laptops they could use to work and to stay in touch with family and friends.
We started offering a hot, catered lunch every day, as well as delicious snacks. We’re lending a hand with groceries: our shopping list now includes cereals, milk, snacks, and soft drinks, and we’ve been adjusting it based on their needs and wants.
In addition, we reached out to local donation services to procure clothes and shoes, since many refugees fled Ukraine with little-to-nothing.
The willingness to help has been overwhelming. Many of our colleagues have donated money, goods, and time with an open heart. The HR staff held regular collections and ensured the families received what they needed. In addition, CyberGhost VPN teams in our German and Israel offices also sent in donations to help provide for the refugees.
March 21 – 25
Because education is paramount, one of the refugee mothers set up a kindergarten in one of our meeting rooms. Teachers still located in Ukraine log on to make sure the little ones continue to learn their ABCs and 123s. We print materials and handouts for them whenever needed.
April 11 – 15
Some of the 12 families we hosted found better jobs and accommodation opportunities in other countries, so they’ve decided to leave Romania.
Considering these new developments, we’re now searching for apartments to rent for refugees who wish to remain in our country. We’re still helping with donations and goods, and we try to keep in touch with everyone.
Outside the office, our team members also got involved in various other aid initiatives for refugees.
We’re proud to say Ghosties have:
- ➡ Donated money to help support refugees.
- ➡ Provided clothing, food, and covered basic necessities.
- ➡ Helped those fleeing Ukraine with transportation.
- ➡ Housed refugees and their pets in their own homes.
Every little helps, and we’re proud of every Ghostie lending a helping hand!
The People of Russia Need CyberGhost VPN to Bypass Censorship
Here at CyberGhost VPN, we are on a mission to help people access information and maintain their connection to a free and open internet without compromising their digital privacy.
We stand in solidarity with Ukrainians but also with the Russians who oppose their government’s senseless aggression. We applaud the courage of the people who openly protest and that of the independent journalists who shed light on the abuses perpetrated by the Russian government.
We acknowledge that those labeled as opposition by the Russian government are in dire need of a safe way to bypass state censorship and protect their online anonymity. We couldn’t possibly stop offering our services to the people of Russia at a time like this.
Due to the nature of our VPN service, we have never signed any trading contracts with Russian companies, and thus we aren’t funding Vladimir Putin’s war efforts.
You Too Can Help
We are committed to doing our best to support refugees. However, many Ukrainians still in the country as well as abroad need humanitarian support. If it’s within your means to do so, please consider donating. Help is needed to provide food, medical supplies, and basic necessities.
If you don’t know where to start, here’s are some suggestions:
Worldwide Organizations Offering Relief Aid in Ukraine
Organizations Offering Relief in Ukraine
Organizations Helping Animals in Ukraine
Organizations Helping Ukrainian Refugees in Romania
Others Way You Can Help
This isn’t a complete list by any means, and plenty of other charities do fantastic work. Find the ones you resonate with the most.
Keep in mind that there are plenty of scammers out there trying to take advantage of this humanitarian crisis. Before you donate time, money, or items, go over these useful tips:
- ❌ Check if the company you’re donating to is a legitimate entity legally registered in the country where it claims to operate.
- ❌ Avoid donating to random crypto wallets you see on social media.
- ❌ Be wary of emails you receive asking for money or your private details.
- ❌ Do your research before donating through GoFundMe or similar fundraising platforms.
- ❌ Don’t send money through payment platforms that are not available in Ukraine, like Venmo or iDeal.
- ❌ Don’t donate to sites that are confirmed to be scams, like savelife.net.ua.
A Huge Thank You to Everyone Involved
Huge thank yous are in order for every single person who has been with us on this journey. None of this would have been possible without all the help we’ve received from our management, teams, and community. And one thing’s for sure: we won’t stop here.
We’re working to identify more ways for our global team to get involved. Moreover, we will continue to learn, adapt and reinforce our support as the situation evolves.
To all the people affected by the Russia-Ukraine war, know we keep you in our thoughts and prayers. Please take good care of yourselves and stay as safe as possible.