Internal migrants from Donetsk opened a school for children with autism due to the Kharkiv project “Novyi Vidlik” (“New Countdown”) held in 2015.
Currently, the third stage of the “New Countdown“ program supporting small business of temporarily displaced persons is carried out in Kharkiv.
Today we talked to a graduate of the very first stage of the program Olena Abayeva who has helped more than 120 children with autism since 2015.
The Abayev family with two children came from Donetsk to Sumy in 2014 because of war, and then doctors diagnosed autism for their youngest son. The family could not find modern schools for such children, and Olena Abayeva decided to open the center herself.
“We started to look for opportunities and found this program in Kharkiv. We applied the day before the deadline and were accepted,” says Olena Abayeva, who used to work as an economist before. “Of course, my main motive was to help my son. But luckily our idea appeared important to many people.”
According to Olena, the program helped her a lot in getting useful skills and finance. For two months she attended free business courses with seminars and workshops where the businessmen and law experts eagerly provided future entrepreneurs with “actual valuable and practical information.” Olena’s business plan won UAH 90,000 ($3,500), so she was able to buy the machine for audio training manufactured in France. In November 2015 she opened Happy Children rehabilitation center for kids with autism from two to 12.
Now six medical experts work in her center, some of them are also internal migrants from Donbas. In 2016, Olena also organized World of Happy Children civic organization to promote new social programs. Therefore the Abayevs could help themselves and others in the chain of support which had been launched by the program.
This year the project is being implemented for six months from May. Not only IDPs and ATO combatants but also entrepreneurs from Kharkiv and the region are taking part in it. At the end of September, the commission will select 10 winners who will receive loans from private investors from Ukraine.
Reference: “Novyi Vidlik” is a program for supporting small businesses of IDPs which is being implemented with the support of the International Renaissance Foundation. A partner of the program in Kharkiv is the NGO Private Employers’ Association.
Text: Olena Sokolynska