I've never felt that I belong to community of people who are willing to do something for each other
Max Burtsev is an entrepreneur known to the entire city of Kharkiv. He is the founder of the creative agency Arriba, the founder of the marketing school Bagazh who also teaches there as well as the cofounder of the English language school HotSpot. On the morning of February 24, he was awakened by his frightened wife who was awakened to the terrible sound of explosions. On the very first day of war, he gathered most of his team to evacuate to a safer place.
The ride from Kharkiv took him four days; Max, however, remembers it as a movie on fast-forward. The only thing he clearly remembers are absolute strangers who offered him food and a place to sleep during the course of his ride. When he was finally safe, Max felt a strong urge to make himself useful but he was at a total loss and didn’t know where to start. In addition, his friends and the people who knew him were constantly calling and texting him asking for help. By the end of the first week of war Max’s team determined the areas where they could use their knowledge and skills to the greatest benefit. They made up a plan and organized their volunteer work.
They were volunteering with their own money, but also many Ukrainians are happy to help with donations. After 4 weeks, Max’s team permanently engages about 30 people. They cooperate with international funds and organizations, and coordinate the work of dozens of drivers and volunteers directly in Kharkiv.
The guys organized a warehouse and are helping people who found refuge in the basements of Kharkiv. They provide them with food, medicines, animal food, and other needful things. Max says that the amount of food that is being delivered to the city is not sufficient to sustain the lives of the people who’ve stayed in Kharkiv. And so their team is doing everything possible to ensure that deliveries are continuous. After all, often people do not have even bare necessities such as water and bread.
Everyday, the hotline answers thousands of calls from people who are in dire need of help. Often they are the elderly or ill people. Their stories are heartbreaking, and it is psychologically gut-wrenching to comprehend the horrors these people are going through. But at the same time the gratitude with which they write to Max’s team gives them renewed strength to help even more people affected by the war in Ukraine.
The most beautiful thing that Max saw during the war are the Ukrainians themselves! They are compassionate people who are willing to help their country at all costs. Now Max’s family has grown by 40 million people, and he is certain of the victory and Ukraine’s prosperity.
Before the War
Creative director, Entrepreneur
Site of Operation