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Project May 25, 2016

Ukraine's Most Vulnerable, Two Years On

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Olga has known about her HIV status for almost twenty years. She was a very active social worker helping young women in her hometown Donetsk. She openly opposed the separatist regime and had to flee Donbass leaving all of her possessions behind. Her apartment is now occupied by separatists. She is now in Odessa and has had a hard time adjusting to living in temporary shelters and has attempted suicide. Image by Misha Friedman. Ukraine, 2016.

Working in tandem with photojournalist Misha Friedman, who's been documenting the plight of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Ukraine for the past year, journalists Julia Barton and Sophie Pinkham report on the patchwork of efforts to integrate those who've fled eastern Ukraine and Crimea, now that it's clear that this mass migration is no longer "temporary."

This reality would be hard enough to handle in good times, but jobs are tough to find in Kiev, and affordable housing equally so.

Worse, some IDPs have issues that make them even harder to integrate, including post-traumatic stress or medical problems such as HIV. Among the most vulnerable are women, who must live in a culture that often tolerates sexual harassment while they try to overcome bureaucratic hurdles that make it hard to change residences or enroll their children in good schools.


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