For Ukrainian women in Winnipeg, the professional future is to be rebuilt

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For Ukrainian women in Winnipeg, the professional future must be rebuilt

Like Yuliia Okhrimenko, many Ukrainian women arrived in Winnipeg alone with their children.

Viktoriia, Yuliia and Polina are three Ukrainian women who arrived in Winnipeg after fleeing the Russian invasion of their country. All are under the age of 35, some have children, and each is forced to adapt their professional life to the reality of life in Manitoba.

At Viktoriia Maslovka, creams made from beeswax and soap flowers lie on the living room table, witnesses to the know-how of the Ukrainian refugee and her mother.

Both have a passion for crafts, which they already practiced in Ukraine. However, what was once a hobby has become a necessary source of income to support themselves.

It is always better when it is not an obligation, when there is not this financial pressure, considers Viktoriia. The young woman estimates that she must sell 300 jars of cream a month to live decently. It never happens, she admits.

Viktoriia Maslovka has two young children and she would like to spend more time with them, to see them grow.

Thirty-year-old Viktoriia lives in a house in south Winnipeg with six other family members. Her job is a responsibility she never imagined having before coming to Canada and she regrets not being able to spend more time with her children.

“In Ukraine, I could take the time to take care of my children. Here I have to work rather than be a mother.

—Viktoriia Maslovka, Ukrainian refugee

In view of a future permanent residence, Viktoriia must be in full-time employment for at least six consecutive months. Aware of the challenge, she has already stepped up her English learning.

I watched Friends twice with the subtitles, that made me happy. helped, she smiles. She also says she admires her children, who are learning this new language even faster than her.

Yuliia Okhrimenko is an entrepreneur at heart. In Ukraine, she had her own flower shop and a website to increase the visibility of her business.

Everything ended with the war. At first, I cried a lot. I was looking for a job, a daycare for my son and I didn't know how to organize my life, she confides. She dared not share her difficulties with her family, who were already living under Russian bombardment.

Yuliia Okhrimenko took some photos of her life in Ukraine to Winnipeg.

The young woman finally found a part-time job with a florist. A first foot in the stirrup that gave her the energy to create a group of artisans bringing together Ukrainian women in Winnipeg, including Viktoriia.

“Many women are alone here with their children and need money. »

— Yuliia Okhrimenko, Ukrainian florist

She creates and sells embroidered objects in the colors of Ukraine, a way to supplement her income. I don't have enough to live on, but I hope to work full time as a florist this summer.

Yuliia Okhrimenko hopes to reunite her whole family in Winnipeg.

Yuliia has ambitions to start her own business in Winnipeg, like her has already done so in Ukraine. I have to be strong, I'm also doing it for my son, she says thoughtfully.

 When my husband is here, it will also be easier, she believes, still hoping to reunite his entire family in Winnipeg as soon as possible.

A surgeon by training, Polina Temchenko had to draw a line under the operating tables when she made the decision to come to Canada. His degree does not allow him to practice his profession in Manitoba.

 If I am being honest with myself, I miss my medical career. I still studied 10 years for it, she admits, after a moment of reflection.

However, she does not regret her choice. The last few months have not undermined his ambitions, quite the contrary.

Polina Temchenko with her dog and her brother, in Ukraine.

Polina arrived in Winnipeg in the month of August. She left Ukraine two weeks before the start of the Russian invasion to work as a doctor in Slovakia, a country neighboring Ukraine. The capture by the Russians of Lugansk, her place of residence, rushed her to Canada.

“ I have two passions, medicine and travel. Now I want to focus on the second and be able to work from anywhere. »

— Polina Temchenko

Polina Temchenko was a surgeon in Ukraine.

Despite the war, Polina takes life with a certain lightness. I'm still young, and I still have time to change, the 27-year-old reassures herself.

In Winnipeg, she works as a receptionist and auditor in a donation center of blood. A status that she hopes will be temporary, the time to finish her studies in project management.

She knows that her family is safe and thinks of continuing her life in Canada. I'm sure my life is better here.

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