In the words of Bohdana Korop: “The war showed each of us that we are much stronger and more resilient than we seem at first glance”
Bohdana Korop, 37, is an economist, teacher and head of the non-profit organization Center for Creativity and Intellectual Development in Ukraine. She helps coordinate rural women in the Chernivtsi region under a UN Women project “Advancing Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment through Decentralization Reform of Ukraine”.
I was born in the Vyzhnytsa district of the Chernivtsi region. The Vizhnytsa community is rather small, as only 17,000 people live here. But this did not prevent our community, when the full-scale invasion began, to immediately join in helping and accepting internally displaced persons. Many people were looking for shelter and help. According to preliminary estimates, these are about 3,000 internally displaced persons from Kyiv, Kharkiv, Mariupol, Sumy, Siverodonetsk, Mykolaiv, Zaporizhzhya and Dnipro here. There are many women with children, people of retirement age and people with disabilities. Of course, the life of our community has changed.
I combine social work with the work of an economist. I have been working in the field of education for over 11 years. I have always had a desire to learn and teach others. In 2019, our public organization received its first funding from the Ministry of Youth and Sports of Ukraine and had the opportunity to organize an exchange between youth from the Chernivtsi region and students of Pryaszew University (in Poland), in particular to visit the Podkarpackie Science and Technology Park. Since then, we have focused on the area of entrepreneurship development, especially providing support and education for women who want to start their own business.
My goal is to show that you do not have to move abroad somewhere to earn money. You can realize yourself in business in Ukraine, even during the war.
Since the fall of 2021, we have been cooperating with the Rural Women’s Business Network to assess the needs of women in society and motivate women to participate in events. Now I help coordinate women in the Chernivtsi region under the framework of the UN Women project “Advancing Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment through Decentralization Reform of Ukraine”.
We did a needs assessment that found that women want to start their own businesses. An example for me was a woman who was a forced migrant from Rubizhne, who founded her own brand of children’s swings. When she moved to our district, she did not give up or lose heart, but resumed her business and she is now taking orders from Ukraine and abroad. Women’s entrepreneurial initiatives need support. These aspirations need grants and comprehensive support from the State and foreign donors, because such initiatives lead to the development of communities.
For me, a rural woman is a creative woman, and this does not depend on what she does. Her world revolves around her own business, raising her children, growing vegetables or doing business. She is a female fighter who, despite events, weather and other external factors, is always ready to become a supporter. She is invincible and ready to act.
The war showed each of us that we are much stronger and more resilient than we seem at first glance. A rural woman is not so easily intimidated by difficulties. She is always inclined to look for and find opportunities and non-standard solutions. The war forced each of us to gain undiscovered talents, self-confidence and the understanding that nothing is impossible for a Ukrainian woman.
It is important for me to live and constantly create something new, work for the benefit of society and change the environment where I live. I wish for all women to be themselves, build their own business and making progress, not by counting the steps but by looking ahead, striving for new heights and believing in themselves.”