To save a life: Refugees make protective vests for Ukraine


A Ukrainian worker sorts newly produced body armor at a leatherwork shop in Prague, Czech Republic, Thursday, April 21, 2022. A Czech leatherwork company that makes a wide variety of handmade products — travel bags, wallets and belts — never intended to add personal protective gear that would save lives in a war to its offerings. But the Russian invasion of Ukraine has changed all that. After Russian troops launched their assault, Tlusty & Co. has hired 15 Ukrainian refugees to help it manufacture body armor for Ukraine's volunteer defenders. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)

A Ukrainian employee sorts freshly produced system armor at a leatherwork shop in Prague, Czech Republic, Thursday, April 21, 2022. A Czech leatherwork company that would make a broad wide variety of handmade products and solutions — travel bags, wallets and belts — hardly ever supposed to incorporate personal protective equipment that would save life in a war to its offerings. But the Russian invasion of Ukraine has improved all that. After Russian troops released their assault, Tlusty & Co. has hired 15 Ukrainian refugees to assistance it manufacture body armor for Ukraine’s volunteer defenders. (AP Image/Petr David Josek)


A Czech leatherwork organization that can make a vast selection of handmade items — vacation luggage, messenger totes, wallets and belts — under no circumstances planned to include own protecting gear that would help you save lives in a war to its offerings.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine has improved that.

Soon after Russian troops released their assault on Ukraine, Tlusty & Co. employed refugees from Ukraine to assistance the organization be part of a production procedure equipping Ukrainian volunteers with system armor to deal with the invading troops.

The Prague-primarily based organization agreed to a ask for from the Submit Bellum nongovernmental firm to sign up for a project to provide the protection gear related to bulletproof vests to Ukraine’s Territorial Protection Forces. Thousands of Ukrainian volunteers have joined the troops to resist the Russian invasion.

“We focus in absolutely different manufacturing,” Tlusty & Co. owner Ivan Petruv explained. “We have been going through a circumstance wherever we had to come to a decision. And mainly because we think about ourselves portion of a community that wants to aid in this problem as we can, which is only purely natural when you see the news, we resolved to say indeed.”

To make the new creation occur was a race versus the clock, he mentioned. The business required to get new equipment, new components and above all, to employ the service of further staff to be part of the 20-25 staffers in a state whose unemployment rate of 3.4% reflects a absence of readily available workers in lots of fields.

“What would consider months if not months underneath standard situation, we had to address in several hours and quite a few times,” he stated.

Since the war began, 300,000 refugees who fled Ukraine have arrived in the Czech Republic, primarily gals with small children, so Petruv mentioned they became an noticeable area to seem for new hires.

“We published an ad at 8 a.m. and at noon we had a record of 70 people today,” Petruv explained.

Four days afterwards, the 15 most experienced people today begun to do the job to finish the uncommon agreement. They sew ballistic plate carriers whilst other Ukrainians performing for Publish Bellum assemble the entire equipment by inserting steel plates into the vests. The NGO finances it all by way of a crowd-funding campaign.

Natalia Bielonosova is a person of the company’s new personnel. She came to Prague from her city of Irpin, positioned around the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv. with a good friend.

“I needed to make the protection gear for Ukraine,” Bielonosova claimed. “That’s a way for me to assist my region.”

Her spouse, a humanitarian worker, stayed at property and her son serves in the Ukrainian army.

“He has no electrical power, fuel, heating or warm drinking water but has survived so significantly,” she claimed of her spouse.

Of her son, she states “it’s distressing to study about what’s going on. I’d like a remedy to be uncovered to finish the fighting.”

With Irpin and many spots poorly weakened by significant Russian shelling, Bielonosova can see her foreseeable future in Prague, the Czech cash.

“They’ve wrecked cities and destroyed infrastructure. It would be a really hard everyday living (to go back again),” she mentioned.

The operate she and other Ukrainian refugees have carried out has impressed Petruv.

“We’d like them to remain,” he reported. “We’re chatting about hardworking, skillful individuals who should have the task.”

The Czech business has so much created 720 of the protecting vests with 400 additional to supply. What happens upcoming is unclear.

Petruv stated his firm was completely ready to continue the undertaking but “we would be delighted to conclude it as soon as feasible, since this isn’t one thing we want to do. We do it only mainly because of the present-day scenario and a feeling of responsibility.”

In the meantime, he is arranging a new challenge for his Ukrainian staff for the time when peace is restored. It would be items made for Czech children and their families.

It’s referred to as “Mothers for mothers.”


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