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On December 10, Key to Freedom, a fair of social enterprises, opened in ARTHALL D12 under the auspices of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in Ukraine and the Ukrainian Public Health Foundation.

During her visit, the First Lady of Ukraine, Olena Zelenska, noted how important it is for domestic violence survivors to get a job they enjoy and their own income.

“Recurrent violence is often driven by economic factors. After all, one of the most common reasons why women stay with their abusers is financial dependence,” said the First Lady of Ukraine.

In 2021, 10 social enterprises were opened in different regions of Ukraine as part of the UNFPA programme on combating and preventing gender-based violence. Their goal is to employ female survivors of domestic violence so that they have full economic freedom. After all, one of the most common reasons why women stay with their abusers is financial dependence.

“The right to work and to dispose of one’s money is a fundamental human right. However, for every fifth woman in Ukraine, it is but a dream. Due to the lack of economic independence, many women feel compelled to tolerate abusive partner behaviour in order to ensure the survival and financial support of their children,” said Jaime Nadal, UNFPA Representative in Ukraine.

The social enterprises represented at the fair already offer internships and provide jobs for more than 30 female survivors of domestic violence. Part of the organisation’s income goes to support the fight against and prevention of violence in cities:

“Today is the last day of the 16 Days Against Violence campaign as well as International Human Rights Day. Each of us has our own rights, including the right to a dignified life. Economic independence is a very important component of a dignified life. Such projects give those who are economically dependent and suffering from abuse a lifeline and an impetus to change their life for the better,” said Olga Revuk, Deputy Minister of Social Policy of Ukraine for European Integration.

During all three days, visitors to the fair will learn more about the work of enterprises and will be able to buy their goods, as well as take part in the raffle of branded gifts.

In particular, participants will be able to join workshops held by social enterprises, including preparation of classic coffee card drinks, knitting, professional makeup tips, painting eco-bags, gouache self-massage, printing T-shirts and sweatshirts, growing greens at home, making festive Christmas decorations.


“Unfortunately, violence against women and girls is happening all over the world, with one in five women suffering from violence. Combating gender-based violence has always been a top priority for the UK government. The British Embassy is proud to be able to support Ukraine and Ukrainian women to their full potential,” said Nicolas Harrocks, Deputy Head of Mission at the British Embassy in Ukraine.

The Key to Freedom Fair is part of the EMBRACE Project to Combat and Prevent Gender-Based Violence with the support of the UK government. The project aims to strengthen the role of cities in building sustainable mechanisms to protect and assist victims of domestic violence.