This project is a humanitarian micro-business investment in women’s vocational training by Help Ukraine - Operation Palyanytsya.
Before starting the project, each of us had a different experience, pace and knitting skills. At first we studied from Natalia Tkachenko, a doll maker displaced from Bakhmut, the proper technique and improved our skills, and then we divided into several groups and performed different functions. Several masters prepare body parts for future cats, the second group sews a range of clothes, the third collects everything ready-made and decorates the face. Each doll is then finalized by a different artist each time, and then puts their own style.
My name is Ludmilla Yurkova, I am originally from Donetsk, Ukraine and I run fromukrainewithlove.org
In the last 8 years, I have had to leave my home and my business, twice, due to Russian aggression. When the war started in 2014, I fled with my husband and brother to Kramatorsk away from the contact line.
We started over, and with help from USAID and the UN, we launched a successful artisan cheese store, called "Say Cheese." You can see a video of our work here.
In 2022, it happened again. When the war started, Kramatorsk was safe, but stores were empty and people began to flee. We got help from Help Ukraine - Operation Palyanytsya to make cheese to give away to families in our community.
(my small creamery in Kramatorsk where we made cheese, after it was bombed in April)
But then the war found us again. I left Kramatorsk with my husband and some of our cheese processing equipment just in time. Our small creamery was bombed two weeks after we left.
Since April, I have been here in Cherkasy (central Ukraine). Yes, it is far safer than the east, but there are many displaced persons who like me have lost not only their home, but their jobs as well.
The majority of displaced people are women with children, many of their husbands, sons and fathers are serving in the Ukrainian armed forces. The biggest problem here is lack of jobs, poverty, and sitting with nothing to do but worry.
With support from Help Ukraine, I started training displaced women how to start over, with new, simple trades like cutting hair or sewing, and of course making cheese. Together we opened a small center where displaced people could get a haircut, wash their clothes, charge their phones, and just meet each other. We were in the local news.
As a businesswoman I have helped train and launch individual micro-jobs here. Many of our women have been successful at being independent.
However, I know that to make sure our women can work and support themselves, we have to sell something abroad. The currency and economy in Ukraine is simply very bad due to the war.
So, with seed funding from Help Ukraine we started "From Ukraine with Love." Every single doll is hand-made by all of us here. Every women who has made it has been paid during training.
You are buying much more than a toy. Each doll represents a job, a community, and at least some stability for all of us in the team. I can promise you every single one is made with love.
***This project is a humanitarian investment by Help Ukraine - Operation Palyanytsya, an American non-profit. All participants are paid during their training, and all materials are paid for by the project. 100% of all sales here go directly to the project, and will be delegated directly to the women who make them. Funding for this project ends January 31, 2023.