Originally we lived in Odesa and practised as lawyers. We both studied at Odesa National University, graduating in 2011 and 2013. After university, we found a passion for communication including Marshall B. Rosenberg’s Non-Violent Communication.
Hanna studied to become a mediator, becoming qualified by the Deutsche Anwalt Academie in 2018. She did all kinds of mediation from helping co-workers whose relationships had broken down. In 2019 she began working in a school with conflicts between parents, schools and children.
We met when we both attended the Tomorrows Lawyer programme in Kyiv in 2019. This course was conducted by experts from the Canadian Bar Association within the framework of the “Quality and Accessible Legal Aid in Ukraine” (QALA) Project, carried out by the Canadian Bureau for International Education (CBIE) with the support of the Government of Canada.
Hanna and Vitalii opened a consultancy office on legal services and mediation in 2020. Hanna started working as in-house mediator in Odesa private school “Mriya” and organised courses on self-development and communication skills for students and teachers, also for legal professionals (judges, lawyers), organisations and businesses.
During Covid, we both worked remotely from our office in Odessa. Vitalii still had to visit court sometimes because he was working on a criminal case. After restrictions were lifted in Ukraine we got married in October 2020 and properly began our lives together.
Vitalii just come back from the work trip by plane on the evening of 23rd of February without realizing that it was the last flight to Odesa. The next morning 24th of February 2022 our world was turned upside down when Russian forces invaded Ukraine.
In order to find a safe place, continue their life and be able to work they began the visa process to get on the Homes for Ukraine Scheme and in June they heard the news that they had been hoping that their visa had been approved. They made their way to Scotland, arriving in Dundee in July 2022. Here they moved into the Queen’s Hotel in the city centre, home to about 70 Ukrainian refugees. After a brief rest, they set to work again.
Online seminar for a group of 10 women lawyers in collaboration with Maria Prokopchuk and the Ukrainian Women Lawyers Association (2 October 2021)
On April 1st and April 14th, 2021, a 2-day training was held for employees of centres providing free legal service
On June 8-9, 2021, the fourth training was held as part of the peer-to-peer project. Graduates of the “Tomorrow`s Lawyer” program, Maria Prokopchuk and Hanna Dushkova in collaboration with Tomorrow’s Lawyer (the first nationwide professional development program for lawyers) conducted offline training
Online seminar for advocates in collaboration with Maria Prokopchuk and Odesa Regional Bar Association (10th of June 2022). Attended by 251 advocates of the Odesa region.
We now live in Dundee, Scotland and offer our training services to try and help people here. We realise from own own experience how difficult it is to be forced to move to a new country and want to use our skills to help people here. Since our arrival, Vitalii has worked as a translator for the Dundee City Council and it is partially through this relationship that we realised that our skills and training which we had been developing in Ukraine could be put to great use right here in Scotland to help local government and organisations communicate with refugees.