“Ukraine gave me hope”

How UNHCR and NGO “NEEKA” is supporting refugees find jobs, and live their dreams!

Hanna with her eldest son, Jaga at the temporary accommodation centers for refugees
© UNHCR

Together with its NGO Partner “Neeka” , UNHCR has been capacitating employment centers in Uzhgorod, Mukachevo and Perechyn so that these centers can include refugees and asylum-seekers as their regular customers and help them find jobs. The project’s objective is to integrate refugees and asylum-seekers into existing state services where they can equip themselves with new qualifications and skills that will support them smoothly integrate into west Ukraine. This initiative was launched in February, 2018, with a round table organized between UNHCR, “Neeka” and relevant Government departments to implement an integration plan developed by the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine. Since then, the employment centers in the Transcarpathian region have been receiving trainings from “Neeka” on working with refugees and asylum-seekers in order to cater to this population and identify their needs.

As part of the project, two Womens’ Clubs for refugee and asylum seeking women were formed. The Womens’ Club aim at creating a support network to facilitate the integration of Refugee women who live in Ukraine. One of the participants in the Womens’ Club is Hannah. She fled war and insecurity in Somalia to find safety in Ukraine and since then has been living with her two small children in a temporary accommodation centers for refugees. She arrived to Ukraine over 5 years ago. Both of her children have been born in Ukraine and call it “their home”. She is also very happy to see how welcomed her children have been by other Ukrainian children. With tears in her eyes, Hannah says, “Ukraine gave me hope and courage to start a new life. This country and its people have been so open and supportive.”

Hannah is extremely grateful for Ukraine who has granted her and her family refugee status and who has provided her with an accommodation. Hannah is very grateful for the Neeka’s project as it helped her learn new skills and feel confident. She adds, “I found it difficult to find a permanent job, that is why I am learning Ukrainian language. My ambition is to be a professional manicure specialist.”

See more: Language is the door to another culture’s soul

Hannah’s eldest son, Jaga graduated from first grade. Today he is fluent in Ukrainian and loves going to school where he has Ukrainian friends. Her daughter, Sarah, will start first-grade next year, and is looking forward to go to school, like her big brother.

UNHCR

In order to foster greater tolerance, “Neeka” launched a “summer camps of tolerance”, in which children of different nationalities take part. Through such camps, children foster relationships with persons of different background and nationalities, which in turn challenges stereotypes.