Kyiv, December 9, 2015. In total 889 internally displaced persons (IDPs) have become graduates of the training programs designed by the NGO Crimean Diaspora to economically integrate IDPs from Crimea and eastern Ukraine. When the project started authors of the idea planned to organize training for just 100 persons. Later in the view of the interest demonstrated for the project the number of participants drastically increased. “In the end 889 persons underwent training, got a new profession and are starting their own businesses or are joining the projects that are already operating. Many have started their own businesses,” said Iryna Siryk, project manager for training of IDPs at Crimean Diaspora at a press briefing at Ukraine Crisis Media Center.
Graduates of the courses “Business Academy”, “School of Professions” and “School of Freelance” found their places in various sectors. Lesia Bondar from Luhansk and Viktoria Kuleshova from Donetsk have just finished the course on sewing and repairing clothes. They’ve learnt to implement designer ideas through a do-it-yourself approach. Lesia herself has now become a trainer at this course and has already designed a collection of clothes and course students have eagerly joined her sewing team. “We plan to create elegant clothing for women of our age using Ukrainian-produced fabrics,” envisaged their future plans Lesia Bondar. Her business partner Viktoria Kuleshova noted that the course helped her discover new talents and get truly valuable skills although she only took 10 lessons four hours each.
Maryna Brahina with her family was involved in farming activities in Donetsk. After combat actions started they successfully brought the animals along to their new residence but the rest they had to start from scratch, namely get equipment and establish new business connections. Having graduated from the “Business Academy” they set up a successful project and won a grant to start their own business. They used the grant money to purchase the needed equipment: refrigerators to store the products, cheese making equipment, animal weighing scales and a power generator. “We live with faith in Ukraine and in ourselves. We wish everyone to have faith in Ukraine,” summarized Maryna.
Photographer Olena Deryugina graduated from the “Business Academy” and received a grant that helped her reach a new professional level. She later took part in the SMM-marketing program. She set up and equipped a photo studio in the training center. “No one believed that it would be possible to arrange a studio in this tiny space. But when people tried using the camera and as a result received wonderful pictures they could not believe their own eyes,” says Olena.
Natalia Khnykina, an IDP from Luhansk has also graduated from the “Business Academy” and started her own business: first collection of clothing for infants that she made herself has already appeared in Internet stores. Moreover, she hired graduates of the sewing course as her personnel. Natalia says she is now “a happy businesswoman who has got own production shop, who is confident and intends to move further. I am absolutely sure that we all are going to succeed”.
According to Anatoliy Zasoba, Head of the Board at Crimea Diaspora, there is a huge demand from IDPs for such support. Crimean Diaspora and charity foundation ADRA Ukraine have actually managed to train only less than a half of applicants – a total of 2713 applications have been submitted. The organizations thus plan to not only continue but also expand the project. “By changing one life we change the world and this project is the best proof for that,” summarized Artem Dikhtiaruk, program director at ADRA Ukraine charity foundation.