ILO in Central and Eastern Europe

  • Merima Kukić, new entrepreneur, Jablanica, Bosnia and Herzegovina

    Beneficiary voices: How did the ILO help?

    After graduating as agricultural engineer, 27-year-old Merima Kukić was an intern in organic farming in Jablanica, a tourist destination in the Southwest of BiH for mountain lovers. When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, she lost her internship. Merima used the lockdown to take the ILO entrepreneurship course "Start and Improve your Business". For Merima, this opportunity was career and life changing. She started her own business in August 2020 - an organic food production and catering firm. Since then, the company is quickly growing. Profits grew by 25% in 2021 and Merima offered four full-time and 15 part time jobs.

  • Natalia Samoilenko, Director of a methodological center for vocational schools, Sumy, Ukraine

    Beneficiary voices: How did the ILO help?

    Natalia is passionate about training and has always been an early adopter of new methodologies. When the COVID-19 pandemic forced vocational schools in Ukraine to close down, she saw the crisis as a chance to modernize vocational training and to accelerate the development of online learning solutions for students. When hearing of the ILO course 'Modular Content Creation and Digital TVET', Natalia didn't hesitate to take part. The course helped Natalia and her team to develop e-learning modules, training videos, and virtual simulators for four occupations (car mechanics, electrician, cooks, and tailors). The material is now being tested with 800 students in 4 schools in Sumy region, in the North East of Ukraine. At the final stage it will be used for all 67,000 vocational students in these four occupations across the country. “The project is especially important during the pandemic”, Natalia says, “because it makes learning accessible to all.”

  • Oleksandr Koptsov, tailor and entrepreneur, Kharkiv, Ukraine

    Beneficiary voices: How did the ILO help?

    For Oleksandr Koptsov, working with needle and thread was a hobby when growing up in a small village in Eastern Ukraine. "I would call this hereditary," he says. "Grandma's sewing machine and old cotton threads triggered my interest." Oleksandr made his favorite pastime his profession. He attended vocational school, invested in a sewing machine, and launched a business producing folk clothing and biker apparel. Despite solid success, he realized that he lacked the skills to expand the business. So Oleksandr enrolled in the ILO entrepreneurship course 'Start and Improve Your Business', which taught him how to better organize his business. He recently relocated to Kharkiv, the second largest city in Ukraine, to have a bigger market. He is now planning to hire staff also offering jobs to people with disabilities.

  • Elena Epuri, assembly operator for electronic parts, Chisinau, Moldova

    Beneficiary voices: How did the ILO help?

    Despite her struggles with cerebral palsy, Elena Epuri now enjoys a secure job with the Chisinau based firm Steinel Electronics. The job opportunity came her way thanks to improved services of the National Employment Agency for persons with disabilities, implemented with the help of the ILO. Elena considers her job at Steinel a dream come true. "Employment is about more than just a pay check", according to Elena. “It is about achieving and maintaining independence, self-confidence and paying back your family."

  • Martina Angelova, marketing agency employee, Skopje, Macedonia

    Beneficiary voices: How did the ILO help?

    When she was fired from her job with a marketing agency during the Covid-19 pandemic without any notice, Martina Angelova turned in desperation to the mobile application "My worker's rights". The Federation of Trade Unions of Macedonia came out with this app in April 2021 with ILO support. Martina used the app to report her case. Shortly afterwards, the Labour Inspectorate ordered her reinstatement. "The result was beyond my expectations," Martina declares. She was both reinstated and received all her back salary from the moment of her initial termination. "My experience is the most solid recommendation for this tool," she says. "Information is power, and digitalization helps educate young workers about their rights."

CHART OF THE MONTH: Nearly 5 Mio jobs have been lost in Ukraine since the start of the war

The war against Ukraine is causing massive reductions of employment and income in the eastern European country. The ILO estimates that 30 per cent of employment has been lost since the start of the Russian aggression. This is equal to 4.8 million jobs lost.


Source: ILO Brief, The impact of the Ukraine crisis on the world of work: Initial assessments
 

Our work in figures 2021