After fleeing their war-torn homeland less than a year ago, Mariya Kadachyhova and Yuliiya Zaika have teamed up to launch an online business.
Each of their families arrived in Canada last spring from Ukraine, escaping a Russian invasion that has now been raging for close to two years.
Both have young children, both work full time and together, they have launched a business on Etsy.
They create board games, cards, themed scavenger hunts and Christmas advents which can be purchased as PDFs and printed at home for family fun, birthday parties or other events.
Zaika also makes puppets, and does puppet shows for kids in Polson Park during the summer.
The two women did not know each other in Ukraine, but came to Canada on the same airplane in April.
They wound up Vernon where they became fast friends. As their friendship grew, so did the idea of starting a business. They combined their talents to create YellowHouseUaStore.
“We wanted to do something creative, we wanted to do something different, interesting,” Kadachyhova said.
After some discussion and research, they launched their online business.
“I make the designs for all the games,” Kadachyhova said.
Zaika said she always enjoyed creating parties for her three young boys, which included treasure hunts, games and other activities.
“Her work is really beautiful,” Zaika said of Kadachyhova's art.
“One day, I said 'I always wanted to make a business with games for kids,' and she said, 'OK, let's do it.' And so we started one.'”
Zaika said they have honed their skills through creating the games.
“I really like to make these games,” she said, adding the board games are educational and offer "good ways to spend time together."
"I like to make people happy," Zaika said.
Kadachyhova said they are happy to be in Canada where their families can grow without the worries of violence and war, and where she has been given a chance to launch a business partnership with a now close friend.
“It's so fun, I love it,” she said. “I am so grateful to Canada because I finally feel safe and to have a place where I can do something beautiful.”
Kadachyhova and Zaika have plans to expand their business with new, creative games.