Ana Afanasova: At iHUB I have a comfortable workplace, as well as lots of valuable communication with my co-workers


As a consequence of the Russian Federation’s invasion of Ukraine, the lives of millions of people changed overnight. Many Ukrainians were forced to leave their homes, being internally displaced or fleeing to neighbouring countries in search of safe shelter. Refugees had to leave behind their loved ones, as well as give up jobs, hobbies, and other things that their lives were made of.

As of 23 May, there are more than 80 560 refugees from Ukraine in the Republic of Moldova. 465 Ukrainians, 365 women and 100 men, found a job in Moldova, while some of those who fled the war in Ukraine continue to work online at the jobs they had before the military action began in their home country. One of these people is Ana Afanasova from Mykolaiv, who took refuge in Chisinau with her parents. Ana works in IT, and with the support of UN Women she found a workspace that allows her to continue her professional activity and interact with other specialists in her field.

Anna Afanasova

”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 the country. 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 to adjust to the 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 company, I was in charge of marketing and outreach. In other words, we were working on the visibility of our company's products. I was also working as a content manager. Later, I joined Themerex Studio, which also develops website templates. I began my professional career as an outreacher there and later 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. 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. I decided to find a coworking space in Chisinau. That's how I ended up at iHUB. Here I 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, as well as lots of valuable communication with my colleagues. And communication is a very important factor when you come from another country, 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 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, hobbies, I took my dogs to exhibitions. And one day everything changed. I want to return home, but I don’t know when that will be possible, even after the ceasefire in the country, because Mykolaiv has been hit hard 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 I can help my parents. Stability is what I want the most now. I'd like to stay in Moldova in 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, funded by USAID and Sweden.