Andriy and I have been in Dublin for almost five months now. Our days are different on the one hand, but similar on the other. I cook for him, we video chat with his dad, we go for a walk or take the bus downtown.
We recently went to the botanical garden. It’s funny that Andriy showed his father the ducks via video link, and his father showed him ducks on the lake near our apartment in Kyiv. It’s good that we can do these video calls. We can watch Andriy’s snake being fed live and see our cats. I showed my husband the beautiful roses in the Botanic Gardens and the seafront at Bray.
Many of the things that my son and his father did together I now have to do on my own. But I don’t play video games with him – I don’t know how… And of course hugs, walks together or visits to the cinema are missing.
The rest of the time I do my volunteer work with the Ukrainian Action in Ireland (UACT), which makes me feel professionally in demand. I also help with communication for the Keep Going Ukraine Foundation. We help small businesses in Ukraine during the war. I’m a former journalist and good with information, but I remember being under a lot of stress during my first few months in Ireland. I wrote a five-page résumé, but then I realized that I wasn’t ready to work because I was mentally damaged by the war. Many of us felt the same way.
Communicating with the Ukrainians here, helping them with simple questions helped me come to my senses. Also, the organization’s mission is very close to mine – to speak and act for Ukrainians in Ireland. The biggest problem for us here is housing. We are grateful to Ireland that everyone has temporary housing so far. But it is very difficult for people to find a job or school for their children when they are constantly being relocated. Some live with host families, but it is not clear how long we can enjoy the kindness of these people.
I know this is a problem for many Irish people too. For the first month in Ireland we lived in a house my sister rented. But the landlord’s plans changed and everyone had to leave. Ukrainian refugees will soon face the same problems. Imagine that 85 percent of the more than 40,000 Ukrainian refugees in Ireland are women with children and another 4 percent are elderly.
You’ll have a hard time finding a full-time job when schools are only open until lunchtime and closed in the summer and kids’ camps cost money. And I’m not even talking about renting a house or an apartment, maybe just a room.
Together with the UACT team, we conducted a large survey among Ukrainian refugees to understand the real problems they face. Mothers have the greatest difficulty in finding employment. Although 20 percent of mothers have found a job, 43 percent are actively looking and 22 percent are unable to work due to child responsibilities or health issues.
They also face the challenge of understanding the Irish labor market. There is a lot to learn.
In conversation with Katie Byrne
https://www.independent.ie/life/diary-of-a-ukrainian-refugee-mothers-face-the-greatest-difficulties-finding-a-job-41842324.html Diary of a Ukrainian refugee: “Mothers have great difficulty finding a job”