Kate’s Story: Building a Career While Supporting a Country at War
When war hit Ukraine, Kate Abramova was living contentedly with her husband and young son, building her career as an engineer and project professional. For almost 5 years, Kate worked on a variety of blockchain and app development projects at UDTech, an IT services firm located in the large, industrial city of Zaporizhzhia. In Kate’s words, “We are a regular Ukrainian family, and we were pretty content with our life in Ukraine. We never actually thought about immigrating anywhere.”
But on 24 February 2022, Kate says, “I had that prominent feeling inside and I told my husband that our life would never be the same.” Although there were no bombs falling on the city, wounded Ukrainian soldiers started to pour into the hospitals, and medical services were soon overwhelmed. “We had to do volunteering activities just to distract attention from what was going on. We started helping our hospitals on the second day of the war. There were advertisements on social media with a list of things the hospitals required and together with our company, my family, my friends, we raised money and we started running around to stores purchasing things like medicine and food.” Her husband, who had previously started a fund for the beautification of the city, donated those funds to the war effort. By the third or fourth day, Kate observed a “never-ending line” of cars bringing supplies to the hospital.
As fighting escalated, Kate packed her bags in 3 hours on 4 March and went west to stay with relatives near the border with Romania. But like so many of her fellow refugees, she longs to return home. “My family still has our apartment. It hasn't been bombed and we hope and pray that it'll stay this way. We want to continue building our future, that’s why most of the people want to return.” Kate says her present location is much less stressful than in Zaporizhzhia. “Even the air-raid alerts are less intense,” she explains. “The funny thing is COVID-19 prepared us for such a routine, so it's not a problem to work remotely. It was very difficult to concentrate on work, especially when the war started. We kept reading the news and following what was going on, and it was very hard mentally. As time went by, work became a healing aid for us. It helped to distract attention from those horrors of war and help not to go crazy. So, it became a motivator for us.” After the war, Kate hopes to gain her Project Management Professional (PMP)® certification. “I plan to work in Ukraine. I plan to stay in Ukraine and volunteer and rebuild.”
“The war is actually the worst thing one can face in life, and we know that from our own experience right now,” Kate says. “So, all the volunteering and support from the rest of the world is felt here in Ukraine. The worst thing that can be done right now is getting used to war. People get used to everything—that's understood—and when it happens somewhere else—not in your country—you can get used to it to some extent, but this must not happen. Don't let yourself get used to that. Children have to grow. They have to know how beautiful and incredible life can be. So, we all have to stop this. We want to live in peace. We want to raise our children, build our towns, our cities, build our lives and our careers.”
We at the Project Management Institute stand in solidarity with Ukrainian people. We support Eastern European members and volunteers during this time of crisis. Learn how you can support the people of Ukraine. Go to PMI’s Solidarity with Ukraine page.