Ukraine Business Fair Showcases UN Migration Agency Support to Conflict-affected and Trafficking Survivors
Ukraine – Over the weekend, a market sprung up in the centre of Ukraine’s capital city. Traders came to Kyiv from all over the country. Their wares ranged from soap to honey, from toys to furniture – but everyone had one thing in common. They had all experienced unexpected journeys, whether fleeing the conflict that has cost 10,000 lives in the east, surviving human trafficking, or simply failing to find work and ending up in a difficult situation.
The 100 traders at this weekend's Business Fair on St. Sophia Square represented over 5,500 people who have been assisted by the UN Migration Agency’s Economic Empowerment Programme over the past ten years. Each has submitted a business proposal and received a small grant to bring their ideas into reality.
“Anybody can run into some bad luck and might need assistance to get back on their feed, to get shelter and a little bit of training, and look what people have been able to accomplish with just a little help from IOM and USAID. It’s really inspiring,” said US Ambassador Marie Yovanovich, touring the Fair. “Today’s event shows in very concrete ways that individuals who suffer unexpected and tragic consequences as they try to get ahead economically can and do find their way back, and even prosper.”
Originally developed to assist survivors of human trafficking, the programme was expanded to assist conflict-affected and displaced Ukrainians like Oksana, who proudly showed her traditional Ukrainian handicrafts at BizFair.
“Life has been very tough since we left our home in Luhansk,” Oksana reflected. “We left without our coats, without even a pillow and now we have to survive. We really appreciate this programme which gives us a chance to do something for ourselves.”
Manfred Profazi, IOM Ukraine Chief of Mission, explained that the Organization has been helping people not only to become more self-reliant and economically independent, “but also contribute to the life of their communities through the creation of additional work places and provision of services and goods their communities need and appreciate.”
Support for the programme over the past 10 years has come from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Norway, the Government of Canada, the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID), the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), the European Union, and the Government of Japan.
For further information, please contact Varvara Zhluktenko at IOM Ukraine, Tel: +38 044 568 50 15, Email: email@example.com