Ukraine: We Fall and Rise Again

Impact Story - SEW, Ukraine

There has been significant improvement in the role of women in Ukraine. Despite the challenges of patriarchal culture with a limited say in education work, women are rising to challenges and navigating towards success. Today, Ukraine ranks 12th in scientists among 41 countries, and a significant number of women entrepreneurs are growing in society. Currently, most self-employed people in Ukraine are women. Although we understand that one of the main reasons for this situation is the lack of jobs in the labour market and the, therefore, the inability of women to find employment, creating jobs for themselves is a proactive position of Ukrainian women. With a certain level of support from the government and NGOs, this can give growth to small and medium-sized businesses.

CDF Canada SEW Ukraine project aims to foster economic prosperity for 2,200 vulnerable women, including Internally Displaced Person (IDPs) living in the Kyiv, Kharkiv, and Dnipropetrovsk oblasts of Ukraine. The project will support women beneficiaries by giving access to employment, vocational training, workplace integration training, and ancillary services such as shared childcare facilities.

On the occasion of International Women’s Day, read some of the stories from the women participating in the program:-     

Lily, IDP, Clothing Cooperative, Kiev   

My profession is my passion. I started with tailoring; then as a clothing production technologist, now I deal with designer services. I started my business twice. For the first time – in Komsomolsk (a city in the Donetsk region, conquered by Russia in 2014). The second time it was in Kyiv, where my daughter and granddaughter moved in with the start of hostilities. We left our house in a hurry. We were without money, with small packs of clothes – but we especially missed people who we left behind. And in Kyiv we found the people who helped us adjust to our new reality. We have already overcome many obstacles, and now we live in a tiny apartment and run our own small business.   

Participation in the CDF Canada project opened an opportunity for us. Communication and cooperation, working with businesswomen like us, and the chance to do something bigger and more interesting together are our greatest motivations to join the cooperative. We gradually get used to working with other participants – and this attracts me a lot: on the one hand, working for ourselves, on the other – working in relationships with entrepreneurs like us.   

I am thinking about when we will create a complete production cycle in our cooperative – from design development – through sewing lines – to expanding the audience. And I am grateful to the project, that I have had the opportunity to go beyond my work and join something more meaningful. 

 Marina, Marketing Cooperative, Irpin    

I have a law degree and worked as a lawyer for 12 years at one of the factories in Stakhanov. Photography was my hobby – it’s from my father, he loved to take pictures. On my daughter’s birthday, my parents presented me with a digital camera. That’s how my career as an event operator began. I received my first order from a friend: she was getting married, and my first work was an album of her wedding photos. Then there were events for children, and through word of mouth, we expanded the customer base and hired a staff. My business was going well.    

War. At first, our business was moving – weddings and other events were scheduled. So my daughter and I went to Kremenchuk, leaving my husband to finish our work. We thought we would be finished in few days and return. But this did not happen, so we had to think about the future and security, and we moved to Kyiv.    

I look at the photos of the people with whom we were friends in a previous life: some of them are far away, some are no longer alive. I remember all of them and cry. At the same time, I understand that many changes in my life have opened up new perspectives for me. My business has become a pure family business. My husband and I have a lot in common and stay almost 24 hours a day together. We are interchangeable in business and at home.     

Joining a marketing cooperative is a great opportunity for better operation. For example, buying professional equipment for a cooperative is a great advantage because not every business can buy such valuable equipment. For us, this is a possibility to produce better images and more attractive catalogs to promote the cooperative’s products and its members. 

The story is written and sent by CDF Canada staff Vira Porovska just before the war.  CDF Canada is fundraising for the #Ukraine. Donate Today 




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