Issuu on Google+

NEW HOME UKRAINE

NEW HOME UKRAINE Stories of successful integration of refugees

Kyiv 2012 Stories of successful integration of refugees

1


NEW HOME UKRAINE

L

ocal integration in the country of asylum is one of the three durable solutions along with voluntary repatriation and resettlement that UNHCR tries to identify for refugees worldwide. Refugees who have desire, potential or need to become locally integrated should be enabled to do so. Unfortunately, for many refugees integration in a local society is very often challenging for reasons, such as lack of political will of the host countries, sometimes combined with negative perception of refugees created by the media and negative attitude of the public. There is a general tendency to forget that local integration is a two-way process: these are not only refugees who benefit from integration in a host country, but at the same time refugees make a valuable contribution to its society. To achieve social and economic integration refugees do not take the place of someone else in the county of asylum, but they can always find a place of their own if they are given such an opportunity and supported in their endeavours. Appropriate legal and social assistance have to accompany the local integration process, including financial support from donors and expertise of international agencies. We should not forget that refugees, same as other citizens, have the right for education and gainful employment. By giving them an opportunity to succeed professionally we create a better and culturally diverse environment for ourselves. Refuges bring variety of new skills to our lives; they open new horizons for all those surrounding them. The Project Local Integration of Refugees in Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine, funded by the European Union and implemented by UNHCR, was established to provide assistance to refugees to integrate into a new country, achieve selfsufficiency and reduce their dependence on foreign aid. This brochure was created in order to illustrate that a successful integration of refugees into the Ukrainian society is really possible. All heroines and heroes of these stories come from different countries, are of different age, sex, religion and profession, but they all are united by one dream – to live in peace and dignity in the country they’ve chosen, even if involuntary, to become their home.

2

Stories of successful integration of refugees


NEW HOME UKRAINE

Name: Marianna Nkiavette Nan Country of origin: Angola In Ukraine since 1992 Profession: designer and decorator Residence city: Odesa

M

ÂŤ

arianna, a refugee from Angola, is a designer and decorator. In 1992 the civil war forced her to leave Angola and apply for a refugee status in Ukraine, which she was granted in 2000. After coming to Ukraine, Marianna has worked in a street market for three years. At some point she started buying stitching sketches and cross-stitched when she had a free minute. Soon she came up with an idea to study interior Being a refugee is not an illness, but rather a circumstance to design at a overcome. In order to cope with a particular situation better, university, you simply need to change your attitude to it. You need to but her friend, turn over this page of your life and start all over. Sometimes it a teacher at is hard. Sometimes you are reluctant to do it. However, once the institute seeing the result, you realize that it was worth the effort. I of design, know it from my own experience.� promised to teach her. Thus, she continued working at the market and started learning at weekends. Taking a great interest in decorative elements of interior design, she realized that it was her vocation. She progressed gradually, starting from participation in small exhibitions, and now Marianna works at the studio-shop Art-Nuvo. She is glad that she was able to convert her hobby into something grander and she really enjoys what she’s doing. Recently, Marianna has been accepted to the Open International University of Human Development Ukraine, Department of International Information. She wants to receive a higher education and launch her own business. Marianna hopes this will provide her with more opportunities to promote peace in the world in future and work in humanitarian field on an international level.

Stories of successful integration of refugees

3


NEW HOME UKRAINE

Name: Ulyana Shtepa Country of origin: Chechen Republic In Ukraine since 1992 Profession: graphic designer Place of residence: Kyiv

U

ÂŤ

lyana has been living in Ukraine since 1992. She came to Kyiv with her mother because of the threat of religious persecution in Grozny. Ulyana has a younger sister who lives in Kyiv, while their mother currently resides in Russia. In a month upon their arrival, UlyUkraine is my home. I came here as a little girl, so ana started attendI have spent here almost my whole life. I am very ing school, where comfortable in this country: I have friends and a job it was very diffihere. I believe the most important thing is a desire to cult for her at first, work. It is always possible to find a job. Probably, it will since she did not not be a dream job at once; however, it will be the first know the language. step towards its fulfillment.� Gradually, things got better and after school she entered the Institute of Entrepreneurship, Law and Advertisement. There she graduated with BA in Graphic Design. Upon graduation, she worked part-time at company parties, was employed at the Academy of Arts, and worked as a free-lance interior and graphic designer. Later, she was invited to take position of a graphic designer at Obolon factory, where she has been working for almost a year. As any person, she wants more than she has. However, at the moment Ulyana likes her job very much because it enables her professional development and gives her a desired experience. In future, Ulyana would like to have her own graphic business. Also, she is very interested in photography and dreams to practice it professionally.

4

Stories of successful integration of refugees


NEW HOME UKRAINE

Name: Ngandi Muzama (Flora) Country of origin: Democratic Republic of Congo In Ukraine since 2006 Profession: seamstress, designer and stylist Residence city: Odesa

F

lora, a refugee from the Democratic Republic of Congo, is a professional seamstress, designer, and stylist. In 2006 she was compelled to flee from Congo and become an asylum-seeker in Ukraine, receiving an official refugee status two years later.

ÂŤ

Her mother named her Flora in honor of a woman, who was a designer. The girl was eight years old and baptized in a church, when she saw this woman in a suit made with her own hands and precisely then Flora decided to become a designer. She Residing in a foreign country is similar to being adopted: graduated from it does not mean that everybody is obliged to like you, but the institute of people try to understand and accept you. You are foreign design in Congo to them, but they love you in their own way. For example, in and wanted to teach, but since the family that adopted a child parents usually love him/her, her husband while other members of the family do not necessarily feel was in Ukraine, the same. And it is normal. The most important thing is not she had to to lose your heart and faith.� follow him and relinquish this idea. In Ukraine she did not have a sewing machine, but after some time she decided to buy it and return to her professional activity. At first, she sewed only for herself because back then nobody knew her. Her first customers were her friends and people who visited church with her. Presently she works alone. Sometimes she manages to organize a show. In the future, Flora would like to open an atelier and a boutique. And from that point on, she is sure, the progress will come gradually.

Stories of successful integration of refugees

5


NEW HOME UKRAINE

Name: Dembele Brakhima Country of origin: Mali In Ukraine since 1989 Profession: tailor Residence city: Odesa

B

«

rakhima originates from Mali and is one of 15 children in the family. He graduated from school and lyceum in his home country and started to teach history and geography in a college in Gao. Shortly after, when he was 23, he received a stipend from the USSR Culture Center in Mali for the university studies in the Soviet Union. First, he studied in Chisinau at the preparatory course and then at the Odesa University. When it was time to present his thesis, USSR collapsed. He attended all five years at the University but never did the thesis presentation, and thus did not get the university degree. In 1992 he got married with a Ukrainian; at that point they already had a one-year old baby son. Brakhima’s family did not want to move to Africa Think carefully about what you want to do in life. Activities and he decided you engage with have to coincide with your aspirations to return home and inner world. If you engage with something you like, by himself, but are good at and enjoy doing, you will succeed. You have his family in Mali to love your work, and then everything will be all right.” persuaded him not to because of a danger of persecutions. So Brakhima applied for the refugee status and received it in less than a year. In the 90’s it was very difficult to live in Ukraine and Brakhima and his family managed to survive only thanks to trade activities. He was also giving French language classes, but since he was a foreigner they could not employ him officially at the University. In 2007 Brakhima started working in a printing house, later for a pharmaceutical company, which he left in 2011. After that he and his wife started the private sewing business and now they are sewing blankets. Brakhima lives step by step, takes a day as it comes and does not make any long-term plans. Together with his wife he is deliberating the possibility to expand their tailor shop. They would like to rent a space for it (nowadays they are doing the work at home) and purchase additional equipment.

6

Stories of successful integration of refugees


NEW HOME UKRAINE

Name: El Safi Bayan Maksed Country of origin: Iraq In Ukraine since 2006 Profession: interpreter Residence city: Kharkiv

E

«

l Safi is an Iraqi refugee who after overcoming many difficulties has found her place in Ukraine. She arrived here about five years ago and settled down with her family in Kharkiv. In 2006 her husband died in a traffic accident. Return to the home country was impossible because of the civil war raging there. In Ukraine she worked first as a private tutor of Russian for the preparatory course students and worked in a shop. After obtaining the refugee status in 2009 she proposed to her friends Be honest with people, do not expect others to help you, help to start a yourself and others, set goals and attain them.” translation/ interpretation bureau and, despite all the difficulties, managed to register her own enterprise in 2009. Things did not go smoothly in the beginning, but gradually it straightened out. El Safi’s company renders services for preparation of documents for foreign students who intend to enter Ukrainian higher educational institutions; interpretation and translation of documents necessary for entering educational institutions; consultation in the sphere of higher education in Ukraine. In 2010, with support of UNHCR, El Safi successfully finished the Ukrainian language course and obtained a certificate. Later, in order to improve her skills, she also took training in Adobe Photoshop. She also benefited from the opportunity to receive the integration grant within the Project Local Integration of Refugees. Thanks to that she managed to replace the old hard-and software in her company’s office with the new modern PCs and office equipment. El Safi is optimistic about the future. She has lots of plans: e.g. to start cooperation with higher educational institutions which admit foreigners.

Stories of successful integration of refugees

7


NEW HOME UKRAINE

Name: Dejene Gemberu Yigru Country of origin: Ethiopia In Ukraine since 1988 Occupation: economist Residence city: Kyiv

D

ÂŤ

ejene came to Ukraine in the Soviet times on an exchange program to study at the National Economic University, from which he graduated in 1993 with a degree in Economics. At that time, Ethiopia went through a change of power, and it was dangerous for him to return. So, he decided to stay in Kyiv, where he, together with his wife, went into business. Eventually, due to certain difficulties, they had to close their store. Precisely at that time Dejene, as a true Ethiopian, decided to launch an Ethiopian coffee project. At Ethiopia is my motherland, Ukraine is my home. I have first, he worked spent half of my life in this country. I have a family and a as an overseer child here. I want my child to be happy here. I am pleased in a coffee roastto live in Ukraine. Of course, I am facing a lot of challenges, ing department, but the most important thing is the ability to overcome them. but gradually he One simply needs time and patience to do it�. realized that he wanted not only to control a part of the process, but to do everything independently. In order to fulfill his dream, Dejene approached UNHCR, where he received a grant to procure the necessary equipment. At the end of 2011, he and several other workers founded their own, albeit small, company. Despite the fact that a lot of time is needed for the enterprise to start working at its full capacity, Dejene believes in success and does not regret about his decision to settle in Ukraine. In the future, he plans to expand his enterprise and hire his compatriots and other refugees to help them settle in a new country and regain faith in themselves.

8

Stories of successful integration of refugees


NEW HOME UKRAINE

Name: Elena Khvan Country of origin: Uzbekistan In Ukraine since 2006 Profession: Residence city: Odesa

E

«

lena and her children came to Ukraine from Uzbekistan in 2006. She was forced to leave her home country because of persecution related to her work at the international civic organization called “Assembly of cultures of Central Asian Nations”. Every refugee must try to accept a new culture, get an Elena applied for a refugee status insight into it, understand people around. The highest level in a month after of adaptation in a foreign environment is integration into its her arrival. In her culture, while retaining one’s own roots. Everything depends home country, her on person’s aspirations and motivation. Of course, one needs apartment was assistance and support from others, however, it is necessary disappropriated to do something for personal development as well. One should from her, so she use every opportunity to learn the language, receive education, had no place to find a job, and not be afraid to start from the bottom”. return to. In the Soviet times, her husband studies at the Odesa Polytechnic University. He had good memories about that time. They hoped there would be more opportunities for development and prospects for their children in Ukraine. At the beginning, she faced a lot of difficulties, since she had to wait for her documents for a long time, which entailed obstacles in finding a job and continuing her education. Also, it was problematic to find accommodation and she experienced lack of moral support. There was only one thing left – to wait patiently. In July 2008, Elena finally was issued the documents and in October found a job as a youth counselor, went through a complex procedure of diploma nostrification, and was able to proceed with her education. Later, Elena found a more suitable job for herself: she devoted herself to the problems of refugee children and with UNHCR’s support started her private practice. Elena plans to continue developing her business, would like to buy an apartment in the city, become a citizen, and gain confidence in the future.

Stories of successful integration of refugees

9


NEW HOME UKRAINE

Name: Tomas Lukayi Country of origin: Angola In Ukraine since 1994 Profession: hotel manager Residence city: Kyiv

T

ÂŤ

omas came to Ukraine in 1994, when he was forced to leave Angola in order to save his life from the warfare. Tomas is the only survivor in his family. At that time he was 17, and there was no one to help him in Ukraine. Moreover, he did not know the language at all and could not get used to the local climate for a long time. Luckily, Tomas did not lose his heart and decided to fix his life at any cost. GradMy advice to all refugees is that they should strive to ually, he masintegrate into the host society and try to find a job. One tered the lanshould start from the bottom, and the success will definitely guage, attended computer classcome. Moreover, it is essential to support each other. It es where he helped me that is why now I am trying to do the same�. achieved very good results, and graduated from the courses of bartender and waiter. The time came to put theory into practice, and Tomas decided to find legal employment. Since Tomas was interested in hotel business, he wanted to find a position at one of the hotels in the capital. His first several attempts turned out to be a failure, but in 2002 he finally achieved his goal and was hired first as trainee, then as receptionist, and quite soon was promoted to senior administrator at one of the private hotels in Kyiv. Since 2006, Tomas has been working as a manager at the hotel Pearl of the Dniper (PerlynaDnipra). Tomas managed to reach the high level owing to faith in himself, hard work, and perseverance. However, Tomas does not stop at what was achieved. He supports his compatriots by teaching them foundations of hotel business and helping to find a job. Tomas also has a dream – one day he wants to found his own private hotel or travel agency in Kyiv.

10

Stories of successful integration of refugees


NEW HOME UKRAINE

Name: Yalda Gulam Country of origin: Afghanistan In Ukraine since 1995 Profession: Student Residence city: Kyiv

Y

ÂŤ

alda came to Ukraine from Afghanistan in 1995 with her family: father, mother, and the older sister, fleeing from the armed conflict. At that time, she was less than two years old. She started learning Russian and Ukrainian, although at home her family members speak their own language. Yalda did not attend a kindergarten and went to school at five. Her grades were quite high, so after graduation she entered Bohomolets National Medical University in Kyiv. For the first two years, she paid for the edLife in a foreign country is difficult for refugees. However, ucation herself; it is more important that they are safe. It is essential not however, later to feel lonely and be supported: financially and spiritually. her father got ill I believe to learn the language is a priority for successful and she could local integration, since it shows respect for oneself as well not afford it as for the host country�. anymore. She approached UNHCR for help and was awarded the DAFI scholarship. Yalda was very grateful for this support, since it was her only opportunity to continue education. In the nearest future, Yalda plans to graduate from the university: she has two more years of studying and two years of internship. That will help her to work as an obstetrician-gynecologist in the future. Yalda also would like to visit Afghanistan. After moving to Ukraine, she has never been there and would like to see the country where she was born. Nevertheless, Yalda considers Ukraine to be her home and plans to build her life here.

Stories of successful integration of refugees

11


The publication is prepared in the framework of the Local Integration Project, which is funded by the EU and implemented by UNHCR

速 This publication was produced with the assistance of the European Union. The content of this publication is the sole responsibility of the UNHCR and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the European Union.


NEW HOME UKRAINE