An February 24, 2022, Olga Hamama was already awake earlier than the first Russian rockets hit Ukrainian soil. Hamama’s mom had a hospital appointment in Freiburg, and they left Frankfurt at 4 in the morning. “Round 5 o’clock in the morning we bought calls from kin that the cities had been being bombed,” says the 40-year-old Ukrainian. She sat in the automotive, the calls and messages on her cellular phone, the wheel between her fingers. And he or she needed to hold going, two extra hours. “In my head, I shortly went into the mode: now we have to do one thing. I knew instantly it was greater than only a risk.”
73 days later, Olga Hamama is standing in the Messe Frankfurt Congress Middle. It is Mom’s Day, the solar is shining. Inside, the day of motion “Lighthouse Ukraine” takes place. Initiatives stand at stands and level out their presents of assist for refugees from Ukraine, there may be free water and espresso, in an adjoining room glucose and cuddly toys are piled up. Youngsters romp round, youngsters unpack toys. Hamama walks by means of the rooms, checking that all the pieces is all proper. She is stopped each few meters. Whoever greets them hugs them. Then issues get hectic. The Consul Common of Ukraine in Frankfurt, who’s about to talk on the stage, is unexpectedly absent. Hamama is typing away on her mobile cellphone, making calls, typing once more. “Keep optimistic,” she says. 20 minutes later, a consultant of the consul is on the stage.
The occasion is a small a part of the work Hamama has been doing since the outbreak of war. Along with acquaintances and companions from a number of international locations, Hamama based the “United for Ukraine” initiative. They’re now greater than 55 folks and have as much as 200 helpers relying on the mission. A part of the workforce works in Frankfurt, however colleagues are additionally primarily based in Berlin, Switzerland, the USA and all through Europe. An worker works in Bali. “We regularly take into consideration how we have completed a lot in such a short while,” she says.
Energetic from day one
Hamama is a lawyer with a concentrate on worldwide sports activities legislation, she studied at the Goethe College in Frankfurt. At the age of 19 she got here to Germany for the first time for a semester overseas. “It was coincidence,” she says. Initially she needed to go to the USA, however the affirmation from Frankfurt got here sooner. Then she stayed – not less than for the time being. After graduating, she labored for the legislation agency Freshfields for greater than ten years and lived in Belgium, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Russia. 5 years in the past she moved again to the metropolis on the Fundamental together with her husband, who comes from Frankfurt, and their two kids. Hamama works as an arbitrator, together with for the Worldwide Court docket of Arbitration for Sport. At the finish of 2019 she based a small legislation agency, primarily based in the Techquartier in Frankfurt.
Virtually a dozen workers from “United for Ukraine” at the moment are sitting in a room made out there by the enterprise incubator. A couple of of them fled Ukraine after the war started, and Hamama has been mates with others for years. Tasks are scribbled on a whiteboard on the wall, and on one other wall is a small map of Europe with markings in nearly each nation. Ukrainian flags grasp on the home windows, workers sit at tables with laptops and mobile telephones on them. If you wish to work against the war, you do not want rather more than your individual head, a WLAN connection and a big community like Hamama has.
Again then, on February 24, Hamama says she held a primary assembly with different volunteers in the morning. It shortly grew to become clear to them that they wanted an internet site to reply the most vital questions for Ukrainian refugees. Can I cross the border with out a passport? The place can I keep? “One factor that made us totally different was the direct contact with the folks of Ukraine. We knew what was taking place and who was fleeing the place,” she says. Her relationships additionally helped. Inside three days, they rounded up greater than 200 legal professionals in about 20 international locations who needed to assist.