Empowering Women Affected by War 🇺🇦

Just like the lotus flower, women too have the ability to rise from the darkness, bloom out and radiate into the world. 

Photos by LIBKOS

Life in Ukraine

At 603,500 sq kilometers, Ukraine is roughly the size of Texas, and is the second largest country in Europe. Before the war, Ukraine was undergoing democratic reforms and introducing the world to incredibly talented entrepreneurs, artists, fashion designers, scientists, sportsmen, human rights defenders and many incredible women leaders. 

On February 24th at 5am, Ukrainians awoke to the sound of explosions, marking the beginning of a fateful day when millions of lives would be forever altered. Russian attackers had launched the first rockets, unprovoked, into the heart of Ukraine.

As most of us know, Ukraine is experiencing an unprecedented economic and humanitarian crisis, but the level of international support is becoming less and less active. Experts believe the war on Ukraine will cause the largest refugee crisis this century.

Photos by Lynsey Addario

Empowering women to become a driving force in economic, social, and political change is not only important, it’s vital for the survival of Ukraine. Anastasiia, founder of Radiate Life, emphasizes that women and children will be the driving force behind rebuilding Ukraine. “Women can become peace advocates and impact communities. If we teach them how to develop internal, interpersonal, and community peace – we will make our cities and rural areas much safer and happier.”

Today, 9.5 million women are internally displaced, disabled, orphaned, widowed, or have lost children. The majority of these women have lost their breadwinner and rely on humanitarian support, while struggling with ongoing trauma. Revitalizing the economy and securing employment for vulnerable women will be a challenge for years to come. Demobilization of military and related employment and social arrangements for former servicemen will further the need for household and country recovery as whole.

Radiate Life

This video was recorded and this text was written by Anastasiia Dieieva, CEO and founder of Radiate Life.

The moment that I felt that I was not powerless and embraced my pain, similar-minded people started to appear in my life. Together, myself and a group of other dedicated women have created the Radiate Life Foundation, aiming to assist Ukrainian women in restoring their lives during and post-war. Almost 18 million Ukrainian women are currently in need humanitarian aid. We want to help these women provide food for themselves and their dependents, become economically independent, and become leaders of their community. Most importantly, we want these women to feel they are not alone. Radiate Life was born as a synergy of my professional experience, personal passion for women’s empowerment, and fantastic, dedicated team.

Radiate Life will be the first-ever Ukrainian network of «one window» support centers for women, where they can receive high-quality, high-demand services in an easy, quick, and efficient way. We will help women to be healthy, confident, self-reliant, and financially independent. We will do this by assisting them with employment and social entrepreneurship, educating them on Trauma-Informed Leadership and non-violent communication techniques, and providing them with free consultations from medical and psychological workers. Additionally, we will help them solve important legal and administrative issues (like obtaining new documents, applying for subsidies or Internally Displaced status, etc.), support sex and gender-based violence survivors, provide childhood development services, supply nutritious food and so much more. We will operate through local non-profit and other partner organizations, trustworthy NGOs with solid capacity and proven track records, directly providing services to those in need.

It’s important to us that we do not focus only on the services we offer, but on the teams who provide these services to women. We educate them on how to work in a trauma-informed environment and enhance their skills in non-violent communication, systems thinking, community mobilization and of course self-care. Because we understand that social workers, case workers, psychologists and other first responders may experience trauma themselves.

The Radiate Life Foundation is aligned with the governmental recovery plan and working on restoration of the human capital of Ukraine through empowering women affected by the war.

Photos by NGO Other

In November 2023 we aim to open our first center in Lviv. Lviv is a city in the Western part of Ukraine, 40 km to the boarder of Poland, with a population of almost 800,000 people and one of the largest population of Internally displaced families. At the moment, one Radiate Life center can provide services to 500-700 women monthly. We are dedicated to serving the whole person, and adapting to the individual needs. We will develop a service plan for each woman with her exact requests, integrating each person in the career, humanitarian, leadership, mental health, and cultural programs that respond to her actual needs. With such a customized approach, we can satisfy the needs of a bigger number of women in cities and villages as well as provide them with more sustainable solutions. 

By the end of 2023, we aim to start the renovation of our Kyiv Radiate Life center. In Kyiv, the number of internally displaced families with single parents is over 85,000. This center will hopefully be ready to open in spring 2024 and will have the capacity to provide services to almost 1,000 women, including child development programs. At Radiate Life we believe that children’s mental health is an utmost important aspect for Ukraine’s future and requires immediate actions. Hence, at Radiate life we are designing an approach to improve the mental health of this generation of children and provide them with all the excitements and carelessness that childhood brings. Our goal is to ensure that Ukrainian children of war can still have their childhood and grow up healthy and mentally strong.

In 2024-2025 we aim to open 10 more centers in the cities and regions with the highest numbers of Internally displaced women and families in need.

Long-term, our goal is to serve women around the world. The reality is that vulnerable and underrepresented women exist in every country, even developed ones. Radiate Life’s biggest dream is to establish community centers for these women worldwide. While the specific services offered may be adapted to suit local needs and circumstances, the core mission remains universal: when women are encouraged, empowered, and equipped with tools, robust support systems, and opportunities, they drive economic growth and have a profoundly positive impact on their families and communities.

The Need

In the long run, we envision a self-sustaining model whereby the Ukrainian government becomes a buyer of services as a part of its recovery plan. The services can be procured by municipal authorities in the cities of operations and sustainably cover the needs of communities. Moreover, the Radiate Life team is developing a list of interventions (e.g. social enterprise accelerator and digital HR marketplace), which aim to become fully self-sustainable in a few years. However, at this current moment we are in need of sponsors and donor support to open our first centers. You can become a part of the rebuilding of Ukraine by helping women restore their health, economic freedom, access to vital services and creating safe educational spaces for their kids. Any donation amount helps tremendously, but we have broken down some amounts below to help you understand how far your donation can go.

  • For $100, two women receive psychological support and participate in women’s leadership course.
  • For $200, 10 families get nutrition sets for a balanced diet from Good Baskets monthly.
  • For $500, 5 women obtain job qualification in three months and are prepared for an employment.
  • For $1,000, 50 women can find jobs through Radiatelife.work App.

Make a contribution below, or reach out to us for other ways to donate and get involved at [email protected].

Learn more about the incredible women behind the project here.