Natalya came to Ireland from Ukraine with the hopes of earning a living and improving her English. She worked for two years without a permit, but found it increasingly difficult to make ends meet. In 2010, Natalya became pregnant and realized she could not support herself and her child without consistent employment. Natalya wanted to return to live near her family and receive help in raising her child. She asked her friends for help in returning to her hometown, and they told her about IOM.

Natalya met with IOM staff in Dublin and learned that she could receive assistance in returning to Ukraine. Through IOM, she was able to organize her travel documents and pay for a plane ticket. She also met with a doctor to ensure that she could safely fly during her pregnancy. Natalya was told that, once in Ukraine, she could apply for a reintegration grant, to help her begin a business or continue her education after she returned.

“Be prepared for the reality, and a possibly difficult adaptation period after return.”

After returning, Natalya was hospitalized for complications with her pregnancy. She was unable to work until her child was born, and received financial help from her friends and family. Her child was thankfully born healthy and, after she had recovered, Natalya applied for reintegration assistance. She received tools and seeds, and is now developing her own micro-farm which is growing slowly. Until the farm becomes sustainable, Natalya is also teaching physics part-time at a local school. Natalya would one day like to work outside Ukraine again, when her child is older.