“We have already tried the Belarusian milk products, and especially like the sour cream"

When you’ve had to carry your life in four bags to reach safety, comfort can come from simple, unexpected sources.

The Marchenko family, headed by young grandmother Victoria, started their journey from their home town of Pokrovsk in the Donetsk region of Ukraine in 2022 when war arrived on their doorstep.

Carrying four pieces of luggage and two young daughters in their arms, the Ukrainian family faced the same uncertainty that thousands of others have faced since the full-scale invasion of their homeland:  where to live and how to make a living?

Victoria found an apartment in one of the areas of Minsk. But there were no jobs, and the cost of accommodation was steep. After the search in Minsk was unsuccessful, Victoria and her son started looking for a job in smaller Belarusian cities.

Now, Sergei, once a miner, works as a welder, while Victoria found a position as a cook's assistant. Sergei's children will soon attend kindergarten, marking a milestone in their journey towards stability. The Marchenko family is grateful for the support they've received and eagerly embrace the new opportunities Belarus offers.

Transitioning to rural life, they no longer fret over rent; instead, they simply cover utilities. Victoria expresses deep gratitude to the International Organization for Migration, whose assistance was invaluable, providing essentials and easing their transition into a new life.

Their modest apartment tells the tale of resilience and adaptation. Each item holds significance, whether it's from the local second-hand market, gifts from colleagues, or purchased with hard-earned money from their new jobs.

The Marchenko family faces the future with optimism and determination. Sergei is undergoing driving courses, expanding his job prospects, while Victoria looks forward to the day she can start her own small business with a residence permit.

“There has been a reassessment of values, now we appreciate every moment, we rejoice in ordinary things – electricity, water, clear windows”, she says. At home, we had to  nail chipboard over our windows to protect ourselves from bombings. We lived in the darkness. We can say that everything is fine now.”

SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
SDG 3 - Good Health and Well Being