In the heart of Kyiv, where the aroma of freshly baked delights wafts through the streets, Iryna discovered solace in the art of baking. Her colleagues were more than just co-workers – they formed a supportive community. Content with her salary and the warmth of companionship, Iryna shared this life with her husband, and their 10-year-old daughter who diligently attended school in Kyiv.

Yet, the roots of Iryna's story extend back to Kherson, the peaceful homeland left behind because of the war in Ukraine. The journey eventually led them to Budapest, where Iryna's brother had established his life. The twist in their story arrived when her brother, on the brink of returning to Kherson in December 2022, made a last-minute decision to stay. It was a choice that shielded him from the clutches of circumstance, and in doing so, extended an invitation to Iryna, her daughter, and eventually her mother. 

The early months were spent in the border region, residing with a kind local family. However, as the war’s duration became apparent, Iryna decided to make a fresh start in Budapest where she has growing opportunities. Her determination led her to secure employment, which came with shelter. Yet, the living conditions were far from ideal, and prompted Iryna to seek alternatives. It was during this search for a better life that she discovered the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Hungary.

IOM's shelter team proved to be a lifeline for Iryna and her family. They guided her towards a safe residence that would become their sanctuary for the next six months. Iryna now had a stable home for herself, her daughter, and her mother. Over time, she transitioned into her own rented space, offering her family a sense of stability and permanence that had been absent for too long.

Education took center stage for Iryna's daughter. She enrolled in a Hungarian school and dove into Hungarian language and culture. It is proof of the capacity for growth and adaptation.

Reflecting on her journey, Iryna expressed, "Every aspect of life holds a positive light. Budapest, a city that embraced us, is a spark of hope. Good-hearted people all around." 

Iryna's story is one of courage and transformation, a journey that led her family from the underground shelters of Kyiv to the welcoming embrace of Budapest. Through adversity, they discovered hope, and through the support of IOM, they found a new beginning. In the face of challenges, Iryna's determination and IOM Hungary’s assistance became the cornerstones of a brighter future.

SDG 3 - Good Health and Well Being