In the wake of the war in Ukraine, Open Social co-founder and CEO Taco Potze presented a heartening story about how their team, driven by their Ukrainian colleagues and the community they serve, embarked on a mission to support Ukraine.
When the war started, the Open Social team was initially struck by shock and despair. However, they quickly decided to transform their emotional response into tangible action.
Taco Potze, Open Social’s co-Founder & CEO talks about the start of the Twente for Ukraine foundation during the Open Social Summit ’23.
The team took advantage of their connections in Enschede, where their offices are located. They secured a large, empty newspaper printing building, anticipating that it would serve as a hub for numerous trucks carrying aid.
They encountered numerous Ukrainian truck drivers stranded in parking lots, unable to return home or pick up new cargo. The first initiative was to provide these drivers with food and water. Then, they made arrangements for these drivers to transport goods to Ukraine, providing them with the necessary paperwork and funds.
International Support for TVO
The call for donations resonated with the local community and beyond. People started to pour in with boxes and bags of items needed in Ukraine – clothing, sleeping bags, etc. Volunteers from local universities and colleges joined in to help sort out the overwhelming influx of donations.
The campaign rapidly went viral, resulting in the arrival of more goods, including full pallets of products. Their hard work paid off when the first truck successfully arrived in Ukraine, giving the team an adrenaline boost.
This success led to a surge in requests to transport goods. They received donations from various sources, including Wish.com, which sent two trucks of new items, and the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which supplied a truck full of medicine. Open Social was even granted an export license for narcotics to ship medicines like morphine.
Sending more than 40 trucks of aid
In the end, the team dispatched more than 40 trucks of goods, working with multiple organizations for the receipt of goods in Ukraine. As international aid organizations started to get involved in providing relief and goods to Ukraine, Open Social subsequently shifted their focus to support local refugees in the Netherlands. They transformed their collection hub into a place where refugees could pick up clothing and socialize.
Potze’s story underlines the power of community, collaboration, and shared humanity. Despite the challenges, Open Social’s team demonstrated that when people come together, they can make a significant difference even in the face of a devastating conflict. This endeavor has been a source of inspiration, and the team hopes to continue their support for Ukraine as they navigate through this trying period.
In case you want to (financially) support the work of Twente for Ukraine, check out TwenteVoorOekraine.nl
If you want to learn more how our team in Ukraine has been impacted in their daily lives, please see our blog on Working during War.