Resourceful Ukrainian women were invited to the Power Women-dinner to talk to Aid Ukraine about what’s happening in the refugee centers.
On a late summer evening in September, 16 women gathered at Kanalhuset in Christianshavn Copenhagen. Some are dedicated volunteers in Aid Ukraine Denmark, while most are refugees from Ukraine. Each woman represents one of the 12 centers in and around Copenhagen, and brings valuable insights that help Aid Ukraine understand the needs and mental well-being of the residents.
“If you have power, share it”
We started the evening by introducing ourselves, sharing our homes and our origins: Odessa, Frederiksberg, Kiev, Lyngby, Kharkiv. One of the women used to be a lawyer back home, now striving to rebuild her new live with her children and their dog in Denmark. Another woman is in a Danish school, studying to become a social helper. She faces many challenges but finds fulfillment. Stine Trampe, the leader of Team Social in Aid Ukraine, commended her, saying “You are a role model for all Ukrainians”, who which she replied “my attiude is… I love people”.
As the women shared their stories, they also took the opportunity to express their thoughts and emotions. Some of them expressed heartfelt gratitude to Aid Ukraine, while others emphasized the power of unity and strength. “If you have power, share it” one woman says, touching us all with her words.
Happiness and sorrow coexisting
One woman representing a refugee center in Nørrebro shared her experience working with individuals battling addiction back in Ukraine. She now notices familiar patterns among her new neighbors, who turns to alcohol as a way to cope with their traumas. She can’t help but feel their pain, knowing what she knows. The same woman lives in a small room with her mother and recently welcoming a new roommate – her own child. Despite the difficulties, we celebrated this happy moment together, knowing that happiness and sorrow coexist in their lives. They express gratitude for the safety Denmark provides, yet they long for their homeland, Ukraine.
Starting anew in a foreign land comes with its own set of challenges – packing their lives swiftly and creating a home for their children. How do they find and transport furniture, bicycles and winter jackets? How do they learn the language? The concerns are many, and sometimes, the help they need feels limited. That’s why the Power Women-dinner is so important – it allows them to address these needs and find solutions together.
How can Aid Ukraine help?
After the introductions, we discussed the needs of the women and their fellow Ukrainians in the centers. Aid Ukraine offers English classes, and the women eagerly noted. Aid Ukraine wanted to know if there is any interest in yoga? “No no, just take my children and let me sleep” one woman said, and the rest of the women bursted into laughter, they all agree. Yoga would be wonderful, but it is utopia, because what are these single mothers going to do with their children in the meantime? Instead, one woman suggested a Beauty Day on Mother’s Day in May, where they can plan for babysitters and dedicate a day to self-care. They all agreed that a Beauty Day would be truly beneficial. However, one woman added, reminding of the uncertainty of their future in Denmark. What if the war was to end suddenly? The future remains uncertain, but their hope remains unwavering.
One of the refugee centers is next to an elder home, and the woman representing the center, raised concerns about the restrictions places on Ukrainian children playing football or making noise. They requested activities that foster their joy and playfulness, children should allowed to be children.
But tonight is their night. They have all dressed up, some are wearing their vyshyvanka, the traditional embroidered tunic, and added a touch of red lipstick. This evening at Kanalhuset is dedicated to celebrate the amazing women they are. The women have also been treated a goodie bag from Aid Ukraine with gifts from Mill & Mortar, Have a look, GM Trading and Scandic Amager, and not least a new network with other power women like themselves.
Aid Ukraine works tirelessly to help Ukrainian women in Denmark, and events like the Power Women-dinner play a crucial role in our collective journey. We welcome any donations, big or small, with open hearts. You can contribute through our MobilePay number: 741804.