11 April 2024, Hiroshima, Japan – Olha Vovchok, from Cherkasy, Ukraine, is an alumna of the UNITAR training programme “Bolstering Livelihoods: Digital Reskilling for Ukrainian Women Evacuees in Poland”. Olha participated in this programme in hopes of unlocking her potential and helping her community in a foreign country. 

When we met Olha at the “Digital Champions” employment forum in February 2024 in Warsaw, she was carrying a big plush duck. We were all curious to know the story behind this duck.

Olha is a book publisher, a mother and an active member of her community who wants to support her fellow nationals in Poland. She arrived in Poland soon after the Ukraine war started, where she started organizing reading workshops to support Ukrainian children in Poznan. Since then, she has added a theatre club and Polish and Ukrainian culture workshops. 

The new environment gave Olha the impetus to develop her skills and find opportunities and inspired her to join the UNITAR programme. Everything was new in an unfamiliar country, and the language barrier especially was an obstacle for many Ukrainians, Olha included. However, in the UNITAR programme, Olha noted that the language barrier with the instructor was quickly overcome as “we were working together for the common purpose”.

Upcoming endeavours: The duck

As a part of the programme’s final assignment, Olha demonstrated her “Kachur” Club project. “Kachur” is translated from Ukrainian as “a drake” (a male duck). So here, the mystery behind the plush toy was revealed!

Kachur Club is a club for young learners, where they will have an opportunity to read in Ukrainian, practice performing arts, and learn about Polish and Ukrainian culture. Far from their motherland, Ukrainian children can join a piece of their homeland and feel involved in the community – a community that they once lost.

“You are important”

Olha says the UNITAR programme was crucial for her self-esteem.

[The programme] highlights that you are important and gives opportunities to move forward and reveal your hidden talents. … You are stronger than you could have imagined.” -Olha Vovchok

She says the programme “allowed the participants to see learning from a different perspective, experience new methods and approaches, often different from what we are used to. Thank you, UNITAR, for such an opportunity!”

Olha took part in the Advertising and Marketing Design track of the UNITAR Programme for Ukrainian women evacuees in Poland, which was run in partnership with the Polish-Japanese Academy of Information Technology in Warsaw. The entire programme is financially supported by the People and Government of Japan.


The United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) is a dedicated training arm of the United Nations. In 2022, UNITAR trained over 395,000 learners around the world to support their actions for a better future. In addition to our headquarters in Geneva, we have offices in Hiroshima, New York and Bonn and networks around the world.

The Division for Prosperity is based in the Hiroshima Office and Geneva. We seek to shape an inclusive, sustainable and prosperous world through world-class learning and knowledge-sharing services on entrepreneurship, leadership, finance and trade, digital technologies, and nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. We empower individuals from least-developed countries, countries emerging from conflict, and small-island developing states – especially women and young people – to bring about positive change.

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