From wheelchair racing to owning a small business in Donetsk

We met Valeria in Donetsk several years ago. This smiley young woman never ceases to amaze us with her persistence, positive attitude, and incredible dedication.

Valeria has won multiple mini-marathons for people with disabilities, as well as the “Miss Creativity” title in the “Special Beauty” contest previously held in Donetsk. In addition, she enjoys wheelchair dancing, as well as powerlifting.

Svitlana Kuznetsova/ICRC

However, with ongoing fighting, some of her usual activities aren't possible.

"At the moment, due to the current situation in Donetsk, many sports activities and events, unfortunately, are not available now," Valeria shared. But she's not one to sit around and wait for things to happen.

Valeria took part in one of our projects for small businesses. She made a plan and, with the support of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), attended specialized training courses on nail art. She also received all the necessary equipment for further work.

Svitlana Kuznetsova/ICRC

Valeria trained in a physical rehabilitation gym in Donetsk equipped with the support of the ICRC.

Svitlana Kuznetsova/ICRC

"The workplace was fully equipped for me: I received all the necessary furniture, sterilization equipment, including a dry heater and professional equipment. This is the dream for a manicurist," said Valeria.

She also posts her work on social media. "I deliberately post advertisements from my personal account, where people can see all my photos so that clients can see their manicurist. All my clients are new," says Valeria.

Anton Zgonnikov/ICRC

"Thanks to the ICRC, I have acquired new skills that will help me in my further development and self-realization. I already have my own client base and I'm not going to stop. The main thing is to not give up. If it doesn't work the first time, you should definitely try again until it does," says Valeria, sharing her life motto.