Pawel is an Associate, working with Sladen Consulting. He has over 13 years’ experience in coaching and facilitation, as well as designing and running development programmes. Pawel, as a key member of our crew, embodies our core values, the things we believe make Sladen special as a company, he states, ‘We don’t only put emphasis on the skills, training and business, but also our responsibility as trainers for the environment we are living in and helping those in need.’

Since the start of the war in Ukraine, Pawel’s role at Sladen has changed. Living in Warsaw, he knew that help would be required with the ongoing humanitarian crisis – and the Butterfly Fund wanted to support Pawel in doing this. Our support came in two forms – firstly by funding Pawel so that he could afford to reduce his direct work commitment to Sladen, but also that he could buy supplies to help those in need. Secondly, we were able to provide continuing emotional support to Pawel when he needed it. Sladen’s co-founder, Julie Colley, was a huge help, ‘conversations with Julie supported me through an untouchable energy. I was able to release emotions which helped me feel stronger. This was the most important component of support to me’ says Pawel.

Pawel has been busy helping Ukrainians in need. He has been driving to and from the border bringing supplies, as well as hosting Ukrainian families in his home. One of his guests, he mentions, was an opera singer from Kharkiv National Opera, who filled his house with music. He has also been helping at Woloska Hostel which has been providing Ukrainian guests with important free amenities such as clothing and food. His experience as a trainer and facilitator means that he thrived in this setting, entertaining people with his charisma and love of singing. However, Pawel is quick to mention that there are many other volunteers who are doing more than him and are there every day. He states, ‘the bonds between those volunteers and refugees are so strong that they cry when refugees move on.’

While the Butterfly Fund’s support has helped Pawel to volunteer for various organisations, he has also been given the freedom to help with spontaneous tasks where he felt he was needed. One example of such occurred when he was driving a Ukrainian friend to the railway station in Przemyśl (in south-east Poland), so that she could return to Kiev. While he was at the station, a very confused elderly woman approached Pawel, asking for directions to a street in Kiev. Clearly lost, Pawel found the woman’s phone and discovered that, in fact, her daughter was waiting for her in Gdansk, nearly 500 miles from Przemyśl. Pawel contacted the daughter and offered to drive her mother to Warsaw, where she could meet her daughter and they could get the last train back to Gdansk. The mission was successful, and thanks to Pawel, mother and daughter returned to Gdansk reunited. 

Pawel mentions the current, general situation has calmed down, and with the support from the Butterfly fund, his mental wellbeing has improved. He is taking some time away from work – despite there being ‘a will inside me to carry on, my bad back is saying otherwise.’ We feel that this story of helping Pawel captures the essence of what the Butterfly Fund is all about. In helping one individual do good, the ripples extend to many people in need.