Three generations of Ukrainian women enduring perpetual exile in Austria

From Mikolaiv to Vienna: The Journey of a Ukrainian Family Facing Uncertainty in Exile

Irina, Marina, and Katia are a grandmother, mother, and granddaughter originally from Mikolaiv, southern Ukraine. However, they had to flee their city of origin due to the dangerous war with Russia. Now they find themselves in exile together in Austria, trying to integrate while facing the reality that a quick return to their homeland may not be possible. There are 6 million Ukrainian exiles in Europe, marking an unprecedented wave of displacement since World War II.

Marina, 43, found a job in a supermarket and worked her way up from the bakery department to become head cashier. Her daughter, Katia, 17, is studying remotely at a Viennese high school with the goal of obtaining the Austrian high school diploma in 2025. Irina, the 64-year-old grandmother, has dedicated herself to volleyball and has formed a circle of friends. The three women have worked hard to integrate into the local community and have found an apartment in Vienna.

While many Ukrainian refugees are building their future in their host countries, the situation is complicated for women whose husbands are on the front lines. As the conflict drags on, the initial wind of solidarity for refugees has lost strength and volunteers are finding it difficult to help women find jobs and learn the language. The burden on Austrians who have opened their homes to refugees is also growing and there is concern about the long-term impact on communities hosting refugees.

In neighboring Germany

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