Posted on January 2, 2023
Personal message from Annelies
Dear colleagues from MDEM and other Damen people in Ukraine, evacuated families in Romania, Poland and The Netherlands: we want to let you know that we think of you in this time of year, when families get together to celebrate. War has separated you this year. This saddens us, but we want to let you know that we will be thinking of you. Through the Foundation Damen Support, we do our best to help you and we will keep on doing this. We hope to see your families reunited, soon. Impressed by the strength many of you have shown in these troubling times, we wish you a merry Christmas.
A true milestone being achieved
“I am so proud of all of you for showing your involvement and sharing part of your earnings with our Ukrainian colleagues,” Annelies Damen said to the colleagues from the Damen establishment in Gorinchem gathered for a Christmas lunch on December 22. “Your paychecks for days off from work that you did not use in 2022 were partly donated to the Foundation Damen Support. The end-of-year extra was partially donated.
Colleagues who chose to not to receive a Christmas present, donated the value, adding up to € 2,000 euros. This has counted up to this magnificent amount.”
Annelies had just received a big cheque from her brother Arnout, disclosing the sum of € 60,000 (sixty thousand euros) being the result of all the donated salary parts.
“Our people from other branches at Damen Shipyards, like Damen Naval and Damen yachting, as well as Damen Marine components, have organized fundraisers at their work spots. Suppliers and partners, together with individual relations from Damen, also contributed. This has resulted in € 100,000 (one hundred thousand euros) of donations. Together with today’s amount, we have now € 160,000 for the support of our people from Ukraine. It is sad that the war goes on. We will continue to help our people. Damen has done so ever since the war started. I was very pleased to hear that the women from Ukraine felt very welcome. They told me that they do not consider themselves refugees, but evacuees. We want to keep on welcoming them in new locations as part of our Damen Family.”
Eye opening experience in Galati
Michiel Le Blanc recently visited the community house in Galati and wrote a summary of his time spend there. It opened his eyes and wanted to share his experience.
“I had no idea before, of the really fan-tas-tic work that’s being delivered in Romania! Efforts that go so much further dan an employer’s sincere concern for its employees.
For “our club in Galati”, arranging accommodation is just the beginning. They offer help, comfort and hope in many, many ways. The stories we’ve heard, show how important it is to experience security at the time when everything your life is based on, has suddenly become uncertain – if you leave home, husband, family and friends with your children.
During our visit to the studio, where Christmas baubles were beautifully painted, (bad covers of) Christmas hits sounded trough a speaker: “Driving Home For Christmas ”and “Happy Xmas (War is Over)” have never been heard before in the company of people who are going to take a long bus trip at the end of next week to be with their loved ones during the Christmas period.
Through the foundation, a real difference is made in many lives, with the community center as a warm base. And I can guarantee you that the money really ends up very well. Now, but certainly also in the next year”.
Mykolay Latushkin (HR Manager in Galatí) and Michel de Reus (manager QC) started coordination of the evacuation and welcoming of Damen people from Mykolayiv on the very first day of the war – and continue to do so. Today, they combine the activities and support from the Galatí based Association Help Ukrainians with those from Foundation Damen Support. Mykolay (everybody calls him Nick) and Michel listen to the evacuees, understand their needs and act to that. First thing was to provide blankets, pillows and sheets. Housing and kitchen supplies followed. The Association aims to empower the Ukrainians, provide a place for them to meet and build a community that can be self-supporting. Social activities like a musical string-quartet, a kids club, a furnished container with TV screen and laptops for teenagers to use, yoga classes, music classes, dancing classes and games are set up. All of these activities engage the Ukrainians in organizing and participating. Handicraft activities and sports connect groups. A mixed Ukrainian – Romanian ice hockey team is practicing for matches and tournaments. All these initiatives allow the kids to socialize and feel safe. The kids who were traumatized by the war experience are becoming calmer and smiling.
Nick and Michel were applauded for their continuous practical help and efforts in Galatí at the Christmas lunch at the Damen headquarters.