Irina, Marina and Katya are a grandmother, mother and granddaughter originally from Mykolaiv, southern Ukraine. Due to the dangerous war with Russia, they had to leave their hometown and now find themselves together in exile in Austria. They are trying to integrate while facing the reality that a quick return to their homeland may not be possible. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees reports that there are 6 million Ukrainian refugees in Europe, a wave of displacement unprecedented since World War II.
Marina, 43, found a job in a supermarket and worked her way up from the bakery department to head cashier. Her daughter Katia (17) is studying at a distance in the Viennese high school with the goal of obtaining a diploma from an Austrian high school in 2025. Irina, a 64-year-old grandmother, devoted herself to volleyball and created a circle of friends. The three women worked hard to integrate into the local community, found an apartment and made the most of their new life in Austria.
While many Ukrainian refugees are building their future in 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 the refugees has waned, and volunteers are finding it difficult to help the women find work and learn the language. The burden on Austrians who have opened their homes to refugees is also growing, and there are concerns about the long-term impact on communities where refugees are located.
In neighboring Germany, which is home to more than one million refugees,