IOM Grantees Showcase Their Wares at Kyiv Street Festival
Kyiv – Thousands of people have been given help to start their own businesses since the start of the conflict in Ukraine. This initiative, conceived and managed by IOM, was celebrated at a festival in the capital Kyiv last weekend.
Fifty IOM-supported micro-entrepreneurs representing internally displaced and conflict-affected people presented their products at the ‘Ulichnaya Eda’ (Street Food) fair. The event, featuring dainties and handmade souvenirs, attracted over 15,000 visitors. The organizers provided the market space for IOM grantees free-of-charge to sell their honey, chocolate, cookies, natural yogurts, cosmetics, handmade toys, bags and pottery.
Since outbreak of the crisis in 2014 the UN Migration Agency has helped over 8,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) and conflict-affected people in Ukraine to start their own business or become self-employed. Almost twice as many have received business and career development training.
IOM also established the National Business Exchange Platform, an online and offline resource uniting up to 4,500 entrepreneur members to facilitate collaboration, business development and job creation.
“While the protracted conflict, now into its fifth year, continues to trigger major challenges for the Ukrainian economy and stretch resources, the donor and international communities’ involvement is crucial to keep addressing the needs of millions of conflict-affected people,” said IOM’s Chief of Mission in Ukraine, Dr. Thomas Lothar Weiss. “At the same time, the role of Ukrainian civil society and the private sector in the integration of IDPs is vital. We are extremely grateful to the business partners who join corporate social responsibility initiatives aimed at supporting vulnerable migrants in Ukraine.”
Olena was one of the fair’s participants, selling her patchwork textiles and eco-bags. She is a mother of three and a professional tailor who hails from the Donetsk Region. Since 2014, she has been living in the town of Koziatyn, Western Ukraine.
Olena left all her equipment behind when she fled the conflict, so starting from scratch at a new place was a big challenge. Eventually, she managed to save some money and bought a basic sewing machine. Later she received professional-grade equipment from IOM. Now she sews uniforms for several restaurants in Kyiv, cooperates with some well-known ateliers, and is in the process of registering her own trade mark.
She also takes custom orders. Some of her clients are foreigners who are in Ukraine for work and take the opportunity to have bespoke clothes. This August Olena opened her own tailor services centre in Koziatyn. “I am happy that my work allows me to be creative, have regular income and meet wonderful people who support and inspire me,” she said.
For more information please contact Varvara Zhluktenko at IOM Ukraine, Tel. +38 044 568 50 15 or +38 067 447 97 92, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org