BiCortex supporting Ukrainian refugees

BiCortex is committed to supporting Ukrainian refugees. We have been featured in the EuRApean magazine from the EuRA Relocation magazine, winter issue in 2022, published in December 2022.

Introduction: supporting Ukrainian refugees

Environmental, Social and Governance principles have always been important to our diverse, global team but it wasn’t until quite recently that we made formal commitments in this area, writing policies on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Whistleblowing and Sustainability which are available on our website and to our customers; training staff on these topics and undertaking coordinated commitments to this area.

In terms of corporate governance, we began by contributing with associations and communities in the global mobility industry, such as paradiGM and Relocate the Profit, initiatives that help raise funds for development projects. We’ve been also involved in supporting local sports such as Netball and Spanish Bowling, and providing free document legalisations and translations for Colombian immigrants with low resources, in partnership with iGo Immigration.

However, we wanted to do so much more, particularly when we saw the scale of devastation and upheaval faced by the millions of refugees generated by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Trip to the Ukrainian border

According to a UN report, 1.7m people left Ukraine in the first 11 days of the war, with millions more fleeing after. Deeply concerned by the media reports he was seeing, in March 2022 our CEO Inigo Lopez decided to drive over 6,000 km from his home city of Burgos, Spain, to the Ukrainian-Polish border. It took him 48 hours to decide that he should leave. What started as a single man action, ended up as a convoy of three campervans that met by chance during the trip, all equally committed to making a difference.

BiCortex committed to supporting Ukrainian refugees
Some of the refugees with Inigo. The woman in green carries EVERYTHING she had time to get before leaving her home.

BiCortex provided humanitarian aid supplied by a mixture of local private donors in Spain led by the Ukrainian community in Burgos, and Global Mobility companies including CSU Mobility in Paris and Proforg in Frankfurt, where Inigo stopped to gather further supplies. The aid was delivered to a refugee camp at the Polish-Ukrainian border.

Refugee camp at the Ukrainian-Polish border
Refugee camp at the Ukrainian-Polish border

The CEO, together with the two other campervans, brought back 11 Ukrainian refugees to Spain.

The group of volunteers and refugees
The group of volunteers and refugees

Further actions to supporting Ukrainian refugees

After this action, BiCortex was keen to provide meaningful long-term support and began offering free online Spanish lessons for Ukrainian refugees, helping them to integrate into Spanish society and the job market.

We began offering these through our own resources, but soon discovered that in order to reach a greater number of people and make a real difference to the lives of the participants, we would need external support. We are delighted to have received donations from some of our partners including Sterling Lexicon, Cultural Awareness International and Learncube, alongside private individuals, in order to sustain this initiative. We have also employed a number of refugees within BiCortex as teachers or translators, allowing them to continue to work and earn an income.

Some of the Ukrainian students (and a teacher) attending BiCortex’s free Spanish lessons
Some of the Ukrainian students (and a teacher) attending BiCortex’s free Spanish lessons

Around 150 students have undertaken the free lessons so far. These are held online using our bespoke teaching platform in groups with bilingual Spanish-Ukrainian speaking teachers – this is important as some of the students don’t speak any Spanish at all. Students progress through CEFR-aligned course levels starting at A1.1 and cover the four language skills (reading, writing, listening and speaking). All class materials are provided.

We are proud to have been able to assist in this way in an initiative which involves the dedication and time of the entire company through recruitment, training and administration. However, there are costs associated both with paying the teachers, provision of materials and the upkeep of the teaching platform. We need further donations in order to continue the groups so that the students can reach a B2 level in Spanish and find a job in Spain. Those who would like to make a donation may contact us.