The “Buddy in O4” Project has been launched

The O4 Coworking community in Olivia Centre has joined forces to help its Ukrainian neighbours settle down. Not only in the coworking space in Olivia, but also in the Tri-City. This is how the “Buddy in O4” project was created to support the Ukrainian community.


Why “Buddy”?


3.9 million people fleeing the war in Ukraine have already reached Polish.* Thus, for the first time in history, the population of Polish has exceeded 40 million. Almost 224,000 refugees from Ukraine have stayed in Gdansk alone.**


– O4 Coworking helps from the very beginning. When people from Ukraine started coming to us, we offered to help them use our workspace for free. In total, more than 30 of our Ukrainian neighbours have already taken advantage of this opportunity. Many people have already declared their continued cooperation and prolongation of their stay at O4 Coworking. However, we wondered if we could do something more for them – says Marta Moksa, Manager of O4 Coworking.


Out of the need for support, not only financially, but also in everyday life and functioning in the local community, the “Buddy in O4” project was born.


“On the one hand, we have noticed that people want to help not only financially. They can share something much more valuable – their free time and knowledge about the Tri-City. On the other hand, we have noticed the problems that people from Ukraine are facing. First of all, difficulties with adapting to a new environment, caused by the language barrier, unfamiliarity with local places, or the lack of a person with whom they could simply spend their free time – emphasizes Karolina Rymarczyk, project coordinator.


According to a survey conducted in the O4 community among Ukrainian refugees, the most common challenges are: learning Polish, lack of friends on site and the lack of opportunities to meet new people, limited opportunities to develop their passions, or lack of knowledge about places in the Tri-City that people from Ukraine would be happy to use.


– Behind the numbers are specific people with their own distinct stories and needs. One of the most common needs is to settle in a new city, a new workplace, a new housing estate. That’s why we at O4 asked ourselves: What can we do to make it easier for them to find their way in the new reality? That’s how Buddy was created,” adds Marta Moksa.


A project to support the Ukrainian community


This project aims to help people of Ukrainian descent who have recently joined the O4 community. It consists mainly in helping to find oneself in a new environment and in facilitating the organization of everyday life. In challenges such as: getting from Orunia to Gdynia, buying Internet access to a rented apartment from a local supplier, visiting a doctor or dentist, understanding the rules in force in offices – a “buddy” can help.


Buddy is a buddy – a guardian of a person from Ukraine. Its task is to support a specific person in what they currently need, depending on what they are struggling with. A friend is also a person with whom you can spend time socializing, go out for pizza, to the cinema, go for a walk, talk about various topics, and at the same time practice Polish and English. Kumpel is a guide that brings the Tri-City world closer. Life in Poland, with a “buddy” by your side, is simply going to become easier.


Engaged O4 Coworking community


The project was joined by 20 people from O4 Coworking, who expressed their readiness in their free time to accompany their neighbours from Ukraine in everyday matters.


At the beginning of June, the first introductory meeting was organized in the coworking space for people who applied for the project so that they could get to know each other better, exchange contacts and declare with whom they would like to undertake further cooperation.


– At the team-building meeting, we used the “speed dating” method, which works great for us in recruitment and conversations between students and potential employers. And so the 16 participants of the meeting had a chance to talk for 5 minutes with each person, and it lasted only 1 hour! After these conversations, everyone chose 3 potential people with whom they felt the most flow. At the end, of course, there was pizza. Our networking experience shows us that nothing brings people together like talking over a meal. Now all that’s left is to put them together in “buddy pairs. I believe that these new acquaintances can bring a lot of good for both parties. – comments Karolina Rymarczyk.


The project is very popular among the coworking community, and there is no shortage of people willing to help their Ukrainian neighbours. People who could not be present at the integration meeting declare their support in further activities. It is also planned to extend the project beyond coworking and invite people from the entire Olivia Centre community:


– The current project is dedicated to O4ians from Ukraine and the O4 community working in our coworking space. However, we are also thinking about telling other companies in Olivia Centre about it. Probably many people from Ukraine employed here would be happy to use the help of a “buddy”. Who knows, maybe soon the name “Buddy in O4” will have to be changed to “Buddy in Olivia” or “Buddy in the Tri-City”? – adds Karolina Rymarczyk.




*data as of 08.06.2022, source: Twitter @Straz_Graniczna

**data as of 01.04.2022, https://metropolie.pl/fileadmin/user_upload/UMP_raport_Ukraina_20220429_final.pdf

Zapisz się do newslettera,
aby być na bieżąco z newsami.