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Ukrainian couple hoping to open bakery

Viktoriia Horbonos and her husband Mykola Kuleshov came to Ireland from Ukraine last year.

Viktoriia has a PHD in law and in Ukraine she worked in the state forensic service and as a college lecturer.

Unable to get similar work here, she found a job in a restaurant.

“I started to apply for jobs but it took a really long time and I decided that I needed to do something to earn money and to start to build my credit history, and that’s why I went to Five Guys, the burger place,” Viktoriia said.

Mykola is a baker and the couple have now decided to open their own cafe in Ireland.

They have attended seminars on opening a business and have chosen a name for their new venture.

The cafe will be called Lucy after Mykola’s grandmother.

Although the name and menu will be influenced by their home country, they are determined to set the business up here and stay in Ireland for the long term.

“We have fallen in love with Ireland,” said Mykola.

“Sometimes it’s raining but it’s okay and the winter is amazing here, it’s warm and everything is green.”

“People are very kind and you have a lot of opportunities, you also have protection,” he added.

New research by Ukrainian Action in Ireland shows that more than 40% of Ukrainian people living in Ireland under temporary protection are currently employed but just 9% of them are working within their profession.

Barriers to employment include language, refugee stigma, lack of public transport, accommodation and status uncertainty.

The survey found that the majority of those who are not working would like to be.

It also shows that more than half of respondents want in remain in Ireland for the long term – a 12% increase on last year’s survey.

Many of them are families that came here to flee a nightmare who have now decided to stay and follow their dreams.

“We want to try to build our life here because we feel inside in our hearts that we were meant to be here,” Viktoriia said.

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