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As a barware, lighting and home accessories design company, we at Thomas Fuchs Creative specialize in handmade goods. Every week we give you behind the scenes to the people, places and things that inspire us.
We like to end each week on a positive note. Despite the world falling apart and the war in Ukraine we wanted to highlight one of our close friends Sandra Rothenberger Woitrin and her amazing Tools For Life Foundation who sprung into action in March to help fellow European neighbours fleeing the war.
TOOLS FOR LIFE has set itself the goal of connecting people in all regions of the world with the essential resources that are necessary for a healthy life. This includes the material supply of energy and water as well as the development of intangible resources such as education, training and coaching. Thus, TOOLS FOR LIFE has created a network of organizations and local partners in selected regions, which has built several educational institutions and water supply networks in recent years and still operates and maintains them today.
In place of only showing photos of pain and anguish I have chosen to highlight the beauty of a country at war mixed with photos of humanitarian efforts of our close friend Sandra and her team.
I sat down with Sandra and asked her some questions below giving us insight to her rescue mission.
Michou: has "TOOLS FOR LIFE" every undertaken a rescue mission like this before:
Sandra: No, never. We started this vision on a white page and planned our mission in 10 days. It was learning by doing and we got a lot of support of our network and partners.
The Motherland Monument (Ukrainian: Батьківщина-Мати, romanized: Batkivshchýna-Máty) is a monumental statue in Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine. The sculpture is a part of the National Museum of the History of Ukraine in the Second World War.
Michou: Do you do business in that country?
Sandra: We are a non-profit organization and are not allowed to do business. We had once a project in Liv. We refurbished a children hospital in 2009 – that was our first project the TOOLS FOR LIFE Foundation did…. Interesting that we started our mission in the Ukraine.
M: Do you have any friends or business connections to the Ukraine ?
S: Luckily our family business has a company in Poland and we cooperated with Tomek, an employee who had direct contacts to Ukraine refugee camps. He and his sister Joanna helped us to organize the convoy in Poland. They found the women and children which we took to Germany.
M: do you feel that this creates a legacy among your children in showing them how you give back and not only monetarily but literally
S: I tell my children a lot about the work of our foundation. It is important that they understand that poverty exists and scarcity of resources. I even do presentations on a regular base at their school for social studies. It is important to show that doing good is giving something back.
M: any other foundations joined in your helping the refuges
S: Yes, we joined forces with our local authorities in Germany and had a lot of support of our community. The solidarity was and is still amazing.
M: can you list any agencies I should mention in the blog that enabled you
S: Not really, because most of the support came from single people or small entities. We had a huge donation of the Dr. Helmut Rothenberger Holding GmbH.
M: Are there any stores or agencies you would like mention that assisted in donations of food and clothing
S: No, unfortunately not. Again we received donations from neighbors, employees and random people…
M: can you tell me a little about their reactions, did they speak English? how did you communicate ? google translate?
S: The refugees we took with us to Germany were mothers and grand mothers with their children and grandchildren. They do not speak English and we only communicate via translation APPS. They are very humble and thankful. Very quiet and some of them as well traumatized… The more we spend time with them, the more they open up.
The are very ambitious and proud, they want to be integrated very fast, are interested to learn German and English, they want to work to earn their own money and have their own apartment. The cooperate and are very patient. All in all very nice and good people…
Dzharylhach Island – the largest uninhabited island in the country and a Ukraine beauty spot
M: is there any follow up once you help the families cross the border
S: Yes, we stay in daily contact with them. We are still responsible for them and help them to integrate and get settled…
M: does your foundation track their progress with any national agencies set up to help the families assimilate
S: Yes, we supervise and track on our own… we want to show evidence and impact. It is important to see what we are able to do… we measure success with our KSI (Key Social Indicators) – see our activity report…
A Stunning Church in Kyiv
M: are there schools that take the children in to help them learn?
S: Next week all of our children will go to school. They are looking forward to go back to the school. They want to learn German and get to know new friends. The school teacher are very helpful and take care of the school start/integration.
We hope you go in to the weekend with your hearts filled with love and remembering how lucky we are to all live in countries with free speech, free love and unlimited smiles.
Amazing! Incredible work! Thank you for this article.