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Social business for IDPs. Is it real in Ukraine?

Social business for IDPs. Is it real in Ukraine?

In the program of Donbas public TV, Donetsk Dialogue journalists talked to volunteers who see the solution of IDPs' problems in arranging a social enterprise for them. This enterprise is to provide jobs for them and training if required. However, there is no term “social enterprise” in Ukrainian legislation.

Activists shared their ideas

Only those who have gained the same experience are able to understand IDPs. Volunteers talk to IDPs and try to examine their problems and support them as much as possible in the situation caused by the conflict.

Activists of NGO “Zoloty Vik Ukrayiny” (“Golden Age of Ukraine”) would like to arrange a business which will comprise a bakery, and a canteen or cafe chain. Activists would like to see, first of all, IDPs as their guests.

“The truth is that there are lots of people who do not trust the authorities; they are not registered and do not know what to do. We have got an idea to arrange a place where such people meet, talk, discuss their problems, and, maybe, solve them together. We wanted to open a mini-cafe for people to come and spend time”, says Olha Khvalyhyna.

All plans face problems

Among other things, they need premises to implement the project. The activists asked state bodies for help which do not say «No», but, on the other hand, do not help either. They have been dealing with modern bureaucracy for a year.

"We will do all the organizing work by ourselves. More than that, a lot of IDP-girls have already gained cafe administration and management experience; they have the vision of further development. We asked local authorities to allot some territory or premises to us. However, all ideas run against problems”, “Zoloty Vik” representative Olha Khvalyhyna complaints.

“Zoloty Vik” activists have addressed not only state officials. They see the solution of IDPs' problems in arranging a social enterprise for them. This enterprise is to provide jobs for them and training if required. So, they addressed Maecenas-patrons too to get help with implementing their project under the name “Hromada (Community) 24”. However, there has been no response from them either.

Lawyers ask a question what “social business” means, as it is used when the business is non-profit. However, taking into consideration the fact that the state do not fulfill its obligations and do not support IDPs, such cooperation on easy terms deserves attention. It is possible to realize such a project.

“From the point of view of economic activity of this business, it cannot be regarded as a social one as it will gain profit from its activity. That is why its activity will be regulated by law as all other businesses in Ukraine despite the fact that this business is set up by IDPs. There are no concessions for such business. However, taking into account the fact that the state does not meet commitments in respect of those people, I believe that such business deserves attention on the part of the state. State bodies could consider the problem and contribute to allocating space for rent or free of charge and this way help the people solve organizational problems». Tatyana Ivanova, a lawyer, comments on.

“We are supported by some public figures and do not stop”


“IDPs do not have accommodation to live there with their families, and, besides that they do not earn money. They need jobs. Then they will be able to adapt to new conditions and provide for their families. So, we wanted to give jobs to at least 150 people. It would be a bakery and a cultural center”, says a “Zoloty Vik” representative.

These are just dreams. There has been no support on the part of officials. Still, the volunteers do not give up to difficulties. They try to find like-minded people and to join their efforts. Maybe, not as fast as they want, but they will realize the dream.

New service "Explain Ukraine". This is a daily mailout of five articles which were written about the situation in the Donbas by Donbas journalists and translated into English. Honest vision of people who work in the field is unbiased and fresh which is crucial in the world which is full of desinformation and propaganda. We try to share this vision in out daily mailout.  You can subscribe here.

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