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The L’Oréal Ukraine Project, implemented in Ukraine jointly with the United Nations Population Fund, enables women to acquire new occupations and break the cycle of violence.

Tetiana reluctantly recalls the life before the Project. She calls her toxic relations with parents “tyranny” and seeks to leave these memories in the past.

The woman recalls that while living with relatives, she couldn’t even imagine that she would be able to achieve something on her own, “They got in the way, so to speak. I was hindered in every possible way so that I could not do, achieve or learn anything”.

One in five women in Ukraine faces some form of domestic and gender-based violence. Tetiana’s story is just one of millions of others.

In order to help women in difficult life circumstances to break out of the cycle of violence, a school ‘Beauty for Better Life’ was launched. The aim of the Project is to train the female participants in the basics of hairdressing within a special course and help them pave their way to a better life.

The fifth season of the school, attended by 80 women, started on February 10. For six months, they will be trained in groups (up to 20 people each) taking all safety precautions. The program envisages more than 500 hours of both online and offline training.

“In the context of exacerbation of social inequality, women are disproportionately more affected by the effects of the crisis. At the same time, there is an increase in domestic and sexual violence all over the world, including due to the introduced self-isolation regime”, said Yulia Romanenko-Kopczynski, Corporate Communications Director, L’Oréal Ukraine.

The L’Oréal Ukraine’s ‘Beauty for Better Life’ Project is represented in more than 25 countries in Latin America, Asia, Europe and the Middle East. In Ukraine the UN Population Fund (UNFPA Ukraine) is providing assistance to implement the Project.

For four seasons of ‘Beauty for Better Life’, 94 women received free beauty education. Most of them work in beauty salons; some even run their own businesses. During the pandemic, the Project became even more relevant, as the number of reports of domestic violence in Ukraine almost doubled.

“The economic dependence on husband and the lack of opportunities to provide for children and themselves is one of the most common reasons stopping women from finding a way out of situations of violence. By enabling women to acquire an occupation that can ensure a stable income, we actually make them more secure and confident, give them a tool to break the cycle of violence”, explained Pavlo Zamostyan, Deputy Representative of UNFPA to Ukraine.

The ‘Beauty for Better Life’ Project opened the door to a new occupation for Tetiana: “After completion of training, I was offered to become a Matrix technician. I had no idea this could happen to me. Now I can also share my knowledge gained within the Project”.

The training is delivered by highly qualified specialists, working in beauty salons. The course ensures that all participants will acquire the skills necessary to start a career in the beauty salon business.

 “The learning environment was very inspiring for us, as were the trainers. Among them were some participants of the first season of the School. Two of them opened their own beauty salons. And that’s what inspired me the most: if it worked out for them, why wouldn’t it work out for me?”, said Tetiana and smiled.

This year, the training begins simultaneously in two Ukrainian cities: Kyiv and Lviv. The offline course in Kyiv will be delivered at the new premises of the Kyiv College of Light Industry with the support of the Kyiv City State Administration. And with the financial support of the UK Government, the college hall where the Project participants will be trained has been completely renovated.

“With the support of the United Nations Population Fund, we conducted an audit of municipal services provided by the City of Kyiv. In 2020, two Crisis Units were opened for victims of domestic violence. At the same time, we are seeking resources to prevent violence, to involve women in the city’s economy, and to enhance their professional capacity and independence. That is why Kyiv supported the L’Oréal Ukraine’s ‘Beauty for Better Life’ Project”, said Maryna Honda, Deputy Head of the Kyiv City State Administration.

In Lviv, the ‘Beauty for Better Life’ course will be delivered at the St. Ivan Bosco Youth Training Center.

“It is extremely important for us to support the most vulnerable women. That is why we have put every effort to scale up the Project in Ukraine in 2021 in order to help women achieve social and professional integration”, added Yulia Romanenko-Kopczynski, Corporate Communications Director, L’Oréal Ukraine.

UNFPA provides psychological support to ‘Beauty for Better Life’ participants. Thus, the Project not only helps affected women to acquire a new occupation, but also trains them to overcome stressful situations and seek internal resources.

Tetiana admitted that participation in the Project gave her self-confidence. She said that she was able to overcome the mental blocks that she had since childhood - through training and work with psychologist, the blocks gradually began to disappear: “I gained confidence in working as a hairdresser, as a colorist”.

“Women that come to us have excessive anxiety. Many of them have depressive symptoms... These women have difficulty communicating; they don’t trust anyone and don’t believe in themselves. In our Project, they understand that life can be different: they get into another space, which is safe. It naturally reduces the level of anxiety. In this space, a woman is convinced that she is able to achieve results, and then her attitudes “I can’t do anything, I’m a loser” naturally begin to change”, explains the Project psychologist Maryna Syrytsia.

Two years ago, Tetiana opened her first beauty salon. And recently, together with a partner, she opened another salon for VIP-clients. After the ‘Beauty for Better Life’ Project, Tetiana’s life changed dramatically: today she looks to the future with confidence, because she knows that she can achieve everything.