IOM grantees showcase their products at a top fair in Kyiv

Kyiv, 15 October 2018

Kyiv – Fifty IOM-supported micro-entrepreneurs from among internally displaced and conflict-affected people presented their products at a popular ‘Ulichnaya Eda’ (Street Food) festival held last weekend (13-14 October 2018) in Ukraine’s capital Kyiv. The event, featuring dainties and handmade souvenirs, attracts over 15,000 visitors in average. The fair 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.

Starting from the outbreak of the crisis in 2014 and until now, the UN Migration Agency has helped over 8,000 IDPs and conflict-affected people in Ukraine to start their own business or get self-employed. Almost twice as many received business and career development training from IOM Ukraine.

The UN Migration Agency also established the National Business Exchange Platform, an online and offline resource uniting up to 4,500 entrepreneurs from among IDPs and host community members in order to facilitate their collaboration, business development and new jobs 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 continue addressing the needs of millions of conflict-affected people,” said  IOM Ukraine’s Chief of Mission, Dr Thomas Lothar Weiss. “At the same time, the role of Ukrainian civil society and private sector in the integration of IDPs is vital. We are extremely grateful to the business partners who join corporate social responsibility initiatives aimed to support vulnerable migrants in Ukraine.”

Olena was one of the fair participants, selling her home patchwork décor textile products and eco-bags. She is a mother of three and a professional tailor originally from Donetsk Region. Since 2014, she has been living in the town of Koziatyn, Western Ukraine. Olena left all her equipment behind, so starting from scratch at a new place was a big challenge for her. Eventually, she managed to save some money and bought a basic sewing machine. Then she received a professional-grade machine and a steamer from IOM. Now she sews uniforms for a number of restaurants in Kyiv, cooperates with some well-known ateliers, and is in the process of registering her own trade mark. Olena also takes custom orders. Some of her clients are foreigners who are in Ukraine for work and take the opportunity to have bespoke custom made 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.