Košice – Before the war started in Ukraine, Anzhelika and her two daughters, Ruslanka (20) and Valeria (22), had a peaceful life in Borodyanka, in Bucha Raion of Kyiv province. The 48-year-old mother worked at a jewelry store and spent her days daydreaming about her daughters’ weddings and future grandchildren – until the 24th of February.

In the past, Ms. Lavra has left Ukraine for work several times. In 2020, she decided to take this step again to earn a living and studies for her daughter. As a result of a bad financial situation, she was willing to accept any job, even without a work permit and in unsuitable working conditions

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Mariia, a 25-year-old public relations manager, used to live in Kyiv together with her husband, Sasha. They both worked and lived to the fullest in the city, but when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, they decided to move to the countryside, to a quiet village on the outskirts of Cherkassy.

The village of Tskaltubo in the central part of Georgia is known for its green valleys and mineral springs. This is where Shota with his family moved after his return from Slovakia, at a time when the coronavirus pandemic started to spread around the world. Shota and his wife have a small farm which keeps the whole of their young family very busy.

Why Shota ask IOM for assistance more than a year ago?

The couple from Ukraine lives in an older family house in the mountainous Ivano-Frankivsk region. Due to its location, the house is exposed to a big amount of rain and snow. The family had long been bothered by a leaking roof as the water was destroying the walls and ceiling.

Ivan lost his residence permit in Slovakia. At the same time, he recieved an entry ban covering the European Union. This is his story.

The situation at home was unstable and both living conditions and future prospects were worsening. Therefore the family decided to leave. Mr. Hassan gathered money for the journey by selling all of his property, including the house in the Iraqi city of Sulaymaniyah, where he lived with his family. Mr. Hassan left the country together with his wife, three small children and his brother. Their final destination was Western Europe.

More than four years ago, Yuliya found herself in Slovakia without accommodation, money, a residence permit or any other prospects. She could not and did not want to stay in Slovakia in this situation, so she approached the International Organization for Migration (IOM) with a request for help with her return home. She successfully returned to Ukraine and decided to begin a new life in the capital. You can read about it in her older story. We visited her after a couple of years and we were curious how her story has continued since.

Faisal fled Afghanistan when he was 14 years old. His family faced threats and decided to send their son to a safe place, hoping for his better life in Europe. The travel through Iran and Turkey was not easy for him and he had to earn money for further journey. Therefore, he spent more than two years working on farms in Turkey.

Kata left Serbia when she was 21 years old. Back at home, she lived with her mother and studied law. She tried to earn some extra money through various part-time jobs, but it was not enough. Her mother could not support her either, as she was taking care of the entire household by herself.