Ana Afanasova: At iHUB, I have a comfortable workplace and valuable communication with my co-workers
After Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the lives of millions of people changed overnight. Many Ukrainians were forced to leave their homes, becoming internally displaced or fleeing to neighbouring countries in search of safe shelter. These refugees had to leave behind their loved ones and give up jobs, hobbies and other important things in their lives
As of 23 May, there were more than 80,560 Ukrainian refugees in the Republic of Moldova. So far, 465 Ukrainians, including 365 women and 100 men, have found jobs in the country, while other refugees continue to work online at jobs they had before military action began in their home country. One of these people is Ana Afanasova from Mykolaiv in Southern Ukraine, who took refuge in Chișinău with her parents. Ana works in IT, and with the support of UN Women she found a workplace that allows her to continue her profession and interact with other specialists in her field.
For the first few days it was quiet in Mykolaiv, but the military action in the region intensified in early March and we decided to leave Ukraine. On 9 March, a group of volunteers helped me leave the country with my mother and my dog and get to Moldova. A little later, my father arrived. Moldovans met us with great goodwill and warmth. We quickly found a place to live, and the apartment owner helped us a lot with adjusting to life here.
Since 2014, I have worked in several IT companies in Ukraine. Initially, I was working on link building and SEO strategies. Later, I joined the Ukrainian company TemplateMonster, which develops website templates. In this position, I was in charge of marketing and outreach or in other words, increasing the visibility of our company's products. I also worked as a Content Manager. Later, I joined Themerex Studio, which also develops website templates. I began my professional career as an Outreach Specialist there, and later I became a Project Manager. I ensure communication between the client and developers while continuing to handle marketing. Our entire team has been relocated. Many stayed in Ukraine, and we are now working online.
Initially I was working from home, but at some point I realised I wasn't comfortable doing so. I needed a quiet environment and space, so I decided to find a co-working space in Chisinau. That's how I ended up at iHUB. Here, I’ve met some warm-hearted and welcoming people. All of my co-workers support me and speak only well of my country. And shortly after I joined the iHUB team, I was offered support as part of ‘Empowering Women Hubs Networks’ project. I was deeply moved and am very grateful to iHUB and UN Women for this opportunity. I am happy and feel at home here. I have a comfortable workplace and lots of valuable communication with my colleagues. Communication is a very important factor when you come from another country where you don't know anyone and you miss your friends and the life you had at home. It is also very valuable that iHUB gives me the opportunity to get to know more about the work of colleagues from other countries and exchange our experiences.
I didn't want these changes in my life. I was content with what I had. I had a daily routine; I had friends, a job and hobbies; I took my dogs to exhibitions. And then one day everything changed. I want to return home, but even after the ceasefire in Ukraine, I don’t know when that will be possible because of how badly Mykolaiv has been hit by the war. But I know I have to be flexible and adapt to new circumstances. I am happy that our employer supports us and that I’ve been able to help my parents. Stability is what I want the most now. I'd like to stay in Moldova for the long-term. I don’t want to go to other countries. I want to be close to home. I feel very comfortable here, and the Moldovan mentality is very familiar to me.
“Empowering Women Hubs Networks” is a 10-month project aimed at contributing to economic development by engaging more girls and women in promising sectors and promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment via information and communication technologies. This project was initiated by UN Women and is implemented by SEED Forum with Swedish support, in partnership with TEKWIL and funded by USAID and Sweden.