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How business works during wartime. Episode 7. Pavlo Ovchinnikov
29.06.2022
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2min
How business works during wartime. Episode 7. Pavlo Ovchinnikov
Strategy. Business Model. Systems
Two-thirds of Ukrainian children have become displaced people since the beginning of the full-scale war. They left their rooms, beds, and toys. They were separated from friends and relatives. Tears in their eyes and fear settled in their little hearts. As a person whose job in life is to make children happy, Pavlo Ovchinnikov knew what to do in this situation - to save childhood. As a co-owner of a large business (KIDDISVIT company), he immediately began to do it quickly and systematically.

Before the war, his organization was preparing: it collected funds in advance, postponed part of the payments (with the consent of the counterparties), and reduced costs. This made it possible to pay workers wages on the first day after a full-scale invasion.

The global toy market already learned about the situation in Ukraine on February 24, particularly from Pavel's letters to partners and his post on LinkedIn. Many leaders of the toy market supported Ukraine by ceasing work on the Russian market and transferring monetary and humanitarian aid to our country, in some cases amounting from ten thousand to millions of dollars. Mainly foreign partners moved money to world humanitarian organizations such as The Toy Foundation, Red Cross, and Save the Children, but not only there — they also assisted in the charitable foundation "Helping," whose supervisory board Pavlo is a member of.

Even in the first days of the war, the KIDDISVIT company sent almost the entire supply of diapers from its warehouse in Kyiv to the "Okhmatdit" hospital because the hospital had an urgent need and the city had a catastrophic shortage. Shops, pharmacies, and shopping centers were closed. Diapers had to be delivered during the curfew, accompanied by the TRO squad.

And on February 28, thanks to the efforts of Pavel, his family, and employees, a shelter for displaced people was opened in Dnipro. In just a few days, the premises were furnished, mattresses and pillows were found, and 120 sleeping places were created. KIDDISVIT volunteers also found clothes for the displaced, equipped shower rooms, a kitchen and a laundry room, and organized registration. This shelter is still active today. He accepted thousands of people in four months: families, children, and the elderly. And every person has their own tragic story.

The company's warehouse in Dnipro became a humanitarian headquarters. Volunteer workers receive trucks with humanitarian goods here, sort things (from food to medicines) and send them to where they are most needed: boarding houses, maternity homes, hospitals, shelters, etc. KIDDISVIT's experience in the field of logistics and process organization helped to establish the work. Thus, the company has already received 22 trucks of humanitarian aid.

Pavlo and his family also cooperate with the coordination headquarters of Dnipro volunteers and help purchase the necessary items. In particular, the Ovchinnikovs helped purchase 50 electric generators, 100 chainsaws, metal for bulletproof vests, and many other things. Observing the information problems of the displaced people, the idea arose to create an online platform that would connect those who need specific help with those who can provide it. In Telegram, we implemented the picture in the form of a chatbot "How are you?". When the chatbot was launched, in the first two days, 2,500 people registered with it and made 25,000 requests. The chatbot provides information on where refugees can find shelter and receive humanitarian, medical, psychological, and other assistance, all on a smartphone.

The KIDDISVIT business continues to work, and at a certain point, Pavlo had to focus on the company's work, withdrawing from some volunteer processes. The online store resumed work on March 11, and the play store network, KIDDISVIT distribution, did not stop its work. In May, the company reached 52% of the pre-war indicators. March ended at the level of 25%.

Children need toys even during the war. Therefore, on his birthday, Pavlo refused gifts and instead announced a fundraiser for toys. He doubled the amount received, and with this money, he bought toys for the summer for the children under the care of the "MAMA plus I" Charitable Foundation. They were given symbolically on Children's Day.

Many more projects were completed with global partners and humanitarian funds during this time.

With Save The Children, children's corners are set up in "I Mariupol" aid centers. Together with The Toy Foundation, we implemented a program to help migrants with children. Thus, in the first month, more than 1,000 families received assistance. Currently, cooperation with the fund continues — there are specific plans for aid in June and July.

The company also works with the psychological state of children. For example, children from the shelters of Dnipro, Lviv, and the Okhmatdyt hospital received anti-stress kits that helped children express what they felt inside and understand their feelings. In addition to food and hygiene products, KIDDISVIT is sure to include a toy in every humanitarian aid kit. The toy gives children a lot of positive emotions — this shows that it is essential to support the families of immigrants with more than just food and money. Because it is the toy that allows the child to stabilize, to return to childhood. Hug, play with a favorite toy, and distract yourself from the difficult situation they found themselves in.

"Our children teach us to believe in a miracle, in victory, to believe in the best," says Pavlo.

I hope that soon bright emotions, children's laughter, carefreeness, and joy will again fill our everyday life."

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