What associations does the word “veteran” bring to you? Right before my eyes, I have a gray-haired grandfather, whose chest is covered with medals. He walks down the street, leaning on a stick, and children give him flowers.
This picture is no longer relevant. Today’s veterans are young people who have passed the test of a terrible war. They may be less than 20 years old, they have everything ahead of them. They want to live a full life, without waiting for a long time, here and now. There are many of them – more than a million defenders are currently serving in the army. We all dream that they will return home soon.
During the presentation of the “My barrier-free” program
Many of them have health problems. According to some estimates, more than 200,000 Ukrainian soldiers have received serious injuries at the moment. The number of heroes who lost their limbs is estimated at tens of thousands. We have to do everything in our power to make life easier for them. Here and now. That is why the “My Barrier-free” program is among the most important priorities of Oshchad today.
– That is, the main goal of “My Bezbar”bravery” – an expression of gratitude to veterans for their feat?
– If you look at it more broadly, it is a matter of national security. Mobilization is always urgent for a warring country. If society shows respect for veterans, it can be an additional motive for people to join the army and defend the country. Therefore, it is necessary to implement such initiatives now, without waiting for the end of the war.
We legalize special treatment for veterans at the bank level. For this, a special service model is being introduced.
– What exactly is it about?
– It is not about singling out these people into a separate group of clients. The service model provides that specially trained employees will appear in Oshchad branches, who will not only be able to help veterans with obtaining banking services, but also advise on many other issues related, for example, to the legal and even medical fields, if the veteran is at the same time is a person with a disability or needs psychological support.
Another aspect is that we help veterans with starting their own business. This direction is part of the state grant program isRobota, and Oschad is the bank partner of the program. Oschadbank employees can advise on how to apply for participation in the program through the Diya portal. A total of 136 winners have been identified since the start of this direction in April: they have already received or will receive a total of UAH 54 million in grant aid for business development or creation, which do not need to be returned.
What we really like about this program is that not only veterans can take part in it, but also their family members.
– Why is this important?
– Recently, I was present at the presentation of the new concept of veteran policy from five leading veteran public organizations and spaces. The document was called “Policy concept for veterans and their families”. Veterans go through all the tests together with their families. These people must also be supported, made the beneficiaries of state policy. The eRobota program provides for this, and this is the experience that needs to be spread to other areas of veteran policy.
– What other help can Oschad provide to veterans?
– We never forget that there are savings veterans who have already returned to the bank to their workplaces. As noted in the veterans policy presentation I mentioned earlier, demobilized citizens often fall behind in business life and lose certain skills that are needed on the job. Instead of years of career development, they fought and need help to integrate into their former teams without problems.
Serhii Naumov and co-founder of Veteran Hub Artem Denisov at the signing of the memorandum of cooperation
Currently, Oschadbank has 38 such employees. An internal program has been adopted for them, which provides for many directions. We not only provide them with all kinds of support, but also conduct training for their managers. We are very much looking forward to all our colleagues who are still fighting – we are keeping their jobs. I am convinced that many of them will become future leaders of Oschadbank. I have no doubt that veterans are the most valuable human capital of our country.
– And what about veterans who were not members of the Oshchad collective before mobilization? Do they have a chance of getting a job at your bank?
– Of course, there is. That’s why we recently entered into an agreement with the well-known veteran space, Veteran HUB. This organization has been helping veterans since 2018 and has developed many useful practices in this area. They will help us better understand how to quickly adapt veterans in the workforce after returning from the war, how to better carry out rehabilitation, and how to provide psychological support. The organization will help Oschad in the field of employment of veterans.
– A joint initiative of the company was announced at the presentation of “My accessibility”. Visa and Oschadbank regarding mobile rehabilitation centers. What is it about?
– The project is being implemented by the charity fund “Mindi” in cooperation with the Coordination Center for Mental Health of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine, NGO “Bezbarernist” as part of the All-Ukrainian mental health program “How are you?”, which is being implemented at the initiative of First Lady Olena Zelenska , with the assistance of the Zhytomyr Regional Military Administration.
The rehabilitation module is a space for physical and psychological rehabilitation of people who suffered as a result of the full-scale Russian invasion. A multidisciplinary team consisting of a case manager, a psychologist, a physical therapist, a speech therapist and specialists from partner organizations providing other services will work in the module. Specialists provide support to both veterans and their families, as well as ordinary people. The main areas are physical rehabilitation, the decision to walk on prostheses, prosthetic support, occupational therapy, speech restoration, psychological assistance, support groups, legal support, employment, training and retraining.
This project is very important especially for small towns. Big cities often have infrastructure and adequate services, while small towns often lack this. That is why Ovruch was chosen as the first location, where the rehabilitation module will soon start working.
– Representatives of various companies were invited to the presentation. For what purpose?
– Back in 2020, Olena Zelenska proposed the concept of a society without restrictions, in which equal rights and opportunities are ensured for all people without exception. The idea found a wide response, particularly among business representatives. They have joined the Business Without Barriers community, where companies regularly share experiences on issues of inclusion, veterans’ assistance and mental health.
Undoubtedly, solving important social problems requires constant public dialogue. Therefore, the communication component is very important in the implementation of the “My barrier-free” program. We plan not only to make Oschad more inclusive and friendlier to veterans, but also to actively share how we do it in order to motivate other businesses to change in this direction and jointly move towards European values in the direction of inclusion.