Carrying Home

Text and photos by Nataliya Dovhopol

“How can we help better? How can we really understand the needs of Ukrainian women?”, asked the social workers from multiple organizations.

Being a Ukrainian migrant myself, I feel we are not that different from other women. We are caretakers. Learners. Hard workers. Career builders. Dreamers. And we all have a hole in our hearts. Missing home is our everyday habit. War is a bullet that broke us apart. But we are still holding on — with all our hatred and love, with everything we can bring to this world.

A caretaker. A muse. A mother of wonderful children.

An artist with no time-space for art.

Be strong. Don’t cry. Give everything to your family.

No time for personal dramas, career or holiday seasons.

Greece accepted you, pay it back. Be a better version of yourself!

Be yourself.

“Ukrainian women arrived with several degrees, well-groomed, with makeup. “Are these refugees?” asked the Greek migration officials. They didn’t understand how our women differed from the usual forced migrants,” says Liubov, who worked as a Ukrainian-Greek interpreter in the first months of the invasion.

Liubov also came to Greece with a university degree many years ago. Unable to have her Ukrainian education validated in Greece, years after having children and taking care of her family, she entered a Greek university and studied to become a teacher.

Strong and beautiful women raise strong and beautiful children.

The war is always close, always near. In the heart of every Ukrainian woman, no matter how far from home she is. “It’s good that you’re safe,” the Greeks say, but the woman has tears in her eyes. Her husband/father/son/classmate is in a trench. Her nephews are hiding in a bomb shelter during classes.

The war is not far away, it is always near. And every day it tears us apart.

There are women who haven’t been home for twenty years. First they came here for a better life, hiding from the police, cleaning houses and watching other people’s children. They formed families and found legal jobs, but still waiting to be legalized — after years and years in the country which does not accept them. Ukrainian refugees got their permit at once. But soon it expired. It’s legal, says the Greek state. The expiry date is 04.03.2023, says the card. And here the battle with the bureaucratic system starts.

Leaving your family, friends, and life at home when you are only 18. Stepping into the unknown, learning the language from scratch, seeking support among “your people” and among your new Greek friends. 

Ukrainian youth are brave, but these young women desperately need support and a ground for a new start. 

Alina is often homesick. Her longing for home goes through her every work of art. A nest, that you carry with you — no matter if you are a forced migrant or a one with a choice.

She showed her art pieces all over the world, only Ukraine is resistant to her calls. Yet, this kind of love is unconditional and everlasting. No matter what.

From June 6th to June 9th, 2024, people in Europe will have a chance to help decide what happens next in European politics during the European elections.

This is a time when we can all work together to make decisions about the European Union’s future. Your vote matters, whether for things happening in your neighbourhood, country, or across Europe. It’s a chance to speak up about the issues that matter to you.

In Greece the election date is 9 June.

It can be easy to forget how many people are impacted by the outcome of the European elections. The European Parliament adopts laws that affect everyone, including migrant women.

Greece became a new home for many migrant and refugee women from Ukraine.

Who are they?
What are their needs?
What are their dreams?

They want to learn, work, create, care, educate.

Without any fear. With a little piece of home always in their hearts.

When you vote, you choose the Members of the European Parliament, who will work on behalf of migrant women on issues like legalisation, proof of university degree, children day-care, young women support etc. These Members make decisions that affect your daily life.

Your vote matters.
If you vote, you have a say.

More info here: