Wohl £1.2m helps improve the job prospects of indigent Ukrainians

By Jessica Elgot, August 4, 2011
Follow Jessica on Twitter

A £1.2 million grant from the Wohl Foundation is enabling World Jewish Relief to launch a project giving employment skills to poverty stricken Jews in Ukraine.

With the Prince of Wales as patron, the Ukrainian Livelihood Development Programme will run over three years, focusing on training single women and young mothers. Some courses may be opened up to men and non-Jews.

It will initially operate in Krivoy Rog and Zaporozhye, extending into Kharkov in 2012. A similar project exclusively for women has been running in Moldova since 2009 and has trained around 200 people.

Katya Roshchyna - who has been appointed overall programme director - and Moldova scheme co-ordinator Alexandra Safronova were in the UK this week receiving WJR training.

The aim is to get people off welfare

Ms Safronova reported that "Moldovan women take three years maternity leave and when they return to work they often have no computer skills to do their jobs. These women could be highly educated.

"Since 2009, many, many women have lost their jobs because of the economic crisis.

"Employers like Jewish organisations. NGOs and other businesses know we train women and so they come to us looking for people to fill positions.

"Some women go on to set up their own companies."

The free course teaches office administration, interview skills and includes a fortnight's work experience. There are plans to expand it into business and entrepreneurship. Childcare is provided for participating mothers.

WJR programmes manager Noah Bernstein said the goal was to "move away from welfare into making the community sustainable".

    Last updated: 2:34pm, August 4 2011