In the words of Lyubov Maksymovych: “Life goes on, even in a temporary home”
With more than 20 years of experience helping women from vulnerable groups across Ukraine, Lyubov Maksymovych heads the NGO "Women's Perspectives", whose work has become more relevant and necessary than ever since the country’s full-scale invasion. In February, her team created a temporary shelter for internally displaced people that has already hosted nearly 600 women and children. Recently, the NGO received funding from the United Nations Women’s Peace and Humanitarian Fund (WPHF), aimed at providing vital assistance to women and girls affected by the war in Ukraine. The NGO also helps women find jobs, provides psychological and legal aid, offers social support and works as a support hub for other women’s organizations in eight regions of Ukraine.
Women’s Perspectives has been working for 24 years with the aim of protecting women’s rights and assisting their socioeconomic adaptation to modern conditions. We have never closed or stopped operating. This gave us the opportunity to get through many difficult times, to constantly improve ourselves, and to understand the resources we have for action.
We’re focused on combating discrimination and violence in the family, combating human trafficking, advocating for the implementation of gender policies and promoting women’s meaningful participation. No less important is the task of promoting employment and economic empowerment for women who are in critical situations. Economically independent women are less likely to experience discrimination or fall into the trap of human trafficking.
The full-scale invasion has surely affected women and girls in Ukraine. Therefore, on the second or third day of the war, we created a shelter, and in two weeks, when there was an intense wave of evacuations, 50 women and children stayed with us. In one of the offices, we arranged art therapy for children. We allocated another room for psychological consultations, then another room for massages, because that relieves stress. We have so far hosted over 600 women and children, and we now run six shelters.
Life goes on, even in a temporary home.
An integral part of our work is now humanitarian support, to which we are new. When people arrived wearing only a sweater in the winter, we had to redirect our efforts to attend to these needs as well. We also work with local communities to study their needs, develop assistance plans, and cooperate with donor organizations and authorities to further engage women in local self-government – where decisions are made and local policies adopted.
Our NGO works to increase the capacity of internally displaced women and women’s organizations to meaningfully participate in decision-making and to advocate for the inclusion of their needs in humanitarian response and recovery programmes. After all, despite the active role of women and women’s organizations in resolving the humanitarian crisis, they are practically absent from decision-making processes.”
UN Women partnered with the Women’s Perspectives NGO to provide psychological, legal, social and other support to internally displaced women.
This article was produced in partnership with Wonder Ukraine under the project “Transformational approaches to achieving gender equality in Ukraine”, implemented by UN Women Ukraine and funded by the Government of Sweden.