Aliyah: "I feel like a new person!" (Ukraine)
Client since: 2011
Status: Widowed with 2 children
Main crop: Strawberries, 1200 m2
Secondary Crop: Grapes, 1200m2
Other income: Salaried position on Village Council
Gender Innovation Fund Grant
Before the Project:
In 2011, when my husband passed away, I was left as the sole provider for my two children and elderly mother. I worked as a cashier but I did not earn nearly enough income to provide the kind of life I wanted for my family.
Thankfully, the UHDP presented me with the opportunity to participate in the Gender Innovation Fund (GIF).
Widowed and left as sole provider for 2 children, Aliyah suffered from underemployment and lacked economic opportunities.
I received the GIF grant in 2011; which provided me with all the necessary materials to start a grape vineyard. I also purchased a strawberry package from Agro Capital Management (ACM), so I could grow strawberries alongside the grapes. We planted my vineyard on Pie land I received from the government after the collapse of the Soviet Union. The Project encouraged me to solicit the proper title to this land. I can still remember the day my family and I finished planting all of the seedlings; I felt so proud; of my son, of my daughter and of myself! At that moment I believed that anything is possible!
Growing grapes has not been easy, since I had no prior experience in agriculture other than keeping a small vegetable garden, but thanks to Project seminars, trainings and consultations, I am constantly learning and I am determined to succeed!
Since working with the Project I feel like a new person! After I successfully got the land title for my own land, I decided to help my neighbors do the same. In total, I have helped between 500-600 households get access to their land titles. When the village council noticed these triumphs, they approached me with an offer for full- time employment in the land services department. At first, I was unsure whether or not I could do it, but thanks to the confidence I gained from the Project and the partner staff, I believe I can do anything! Now, I work during the day in a salaried position with the land services department, and then I do horticulture work in my spare time to supplement my income.
Hard work, Pass it on!
Aliyah has passed on her passion for hard work to her son, Nazim, who plays an active role in their farming business. Neighbors comment that his hard-working spirit is an inspiration to other youth in the community. Together with his mother, he hopes to one day expand their business to a point where they can provide jobs to others in their community. Aliyah and her son both know that their wellness is interdependent with that of the community and that they will only feel satisfied when everyone around them is thriving.