Starting a business in Winnipeg during the pandemic, a Canadian/Ukrainian man is sharing how he is helping his family and people back home in Ukraine.
"3Zoob is based on our national symbol which means freedom," says Andrii Lysak, one of the co-founders of 3Zoob Concrete. "Instead of working for a company, we (his business partner Alex and he) decided to try it on our own. Use our experience and expertise in the concrete business."
3Zoob started up in 2020 during the pandemic and Lysak initially did concrete work for family and friends as the business slowly grew.
Lysak moved to Winnipeg, Manitoba from Ukraine in 2011. His friend and fellow Ukrainian, Ivan Marynovskyy, sometimes does work with 3Zoob.
"I still have family back there," says Marynovskyy. "My second cousins are under occupied territory now and we've lost contact with them. We're hoping they're okay. They're in the south of Ukraine. We had rare contact with them through Skype but since we've tried reaching them, the status is always unavailable."
Initially, Marynovskyy was supposed to go back to Ukraine this summer to get married. However, since the war broke out between Russia and Ukraine, his fiance has recently moved to Canada. She came over with the government's program to help some Ukrainians to flee.
"My grandma is still there. She doesn't want to leave. She lives in Western Ukraine, she's 80 years old and said this is my home. She has a cow and a chicken, so then she's good."
Each day both Marynovskyy and Lysak go to bed at roughly midnight because then it's morning in Ukraine. They talk with their families to make sure everything is okay and then they can go to bed here in Winnipeg.
"It's wartime and it's tough. We're both Canadian citizens but still Ukrainian in blood."
Both men say that they don't watch the news a lot, but rather get their information about what's happening through Telegram news and their friends who live in Ukraine.
"We can help financially," says Marynovskyy. "That's what Andrii and Alex have been doing. Helping with medical supplies and drones, but family-wise, it's tough because some of them can't leave. I have male friends over there and their conscription age."
In the Ukrainian community in Manitoba, Marynovskyy says everybody has a connection to someone still overseas.
"My brother, his wife and three kids are still in Ukraine," says Lysak. "His oldest son just turned 18 years old so he can't leave the country. Instead of going to university, he just volunteers and monitors his city overnight."
Andrii and Alex, the 'A-Team' as they like to call themselves decided that their company, 3Zoob Concrete would give back to Ukraine.
"Every job we do we donate 10 per cent of our profit and we send to different organizations," says Lysak.
Those organizations include:
Повернись живим – фонд компетентної допомоги армії (savelife.in.ua)
Power of Prayer
"Prayer always helps," says Lysak. "We have family members who always request prayer. In the tough situations, you never know when the bullet may come, or rocket, or whatever."
Marynovskyy says it feels like a weird time for war considering the year, and that this is the biggest invasion since WWII.
"Money doesn't solve everything," says Marynovskyy. "Praying to God because miracles, we know miracles happen. Financial assistance is good but when we have people out there in the trenches, we just want to make sure they come home. We have our own church where we go to pray and donate as well. Just pray, and pray, and pray because we know the power of prayer and eventually the evil will be subdued."