Story
09 Jan 2023
By:
  • IOM Moldova

Balti - Roman, 18 years old from Odesa, left Ukraine at the beginning of the war.

“I was leading an ordinary life in Odesa. I was studying medicine at the university. I had friends and the warmth of my family”. He remembers the beginning of the war as if it was yesterday. “It was late, and as often happened my classmates and I were still awake preparing a PowerPoint presentation. When we finished, I went to brush my teeth and went to bed. After a couple of hours, I heard some loud explosions. I looked out the window and saw the bombings. I lived not far from the Odesa military base and the airport, and that's where the Russians struck when the attack started. The earth was shaking, I was very scared. My best friend called me in the morning, and we made the decision to leave”.

Roman arrived in Moldova alone, in March 2022. He decided to go to Balti where his grandmother used to work long time ago in a machining factory. No parents, no friends, no acquaintances nearby, scarce financial resources, and no place to live. 

“I needed help because I was alone, no money, and far from my hometown. I did not even know how it was possible to find a place to stay”. Thereafter, thanks the support of the host community, “common people”, he found a safe place to live. “But I could not afford it”, he admitted.

“Now I live in a comfortable apartment where I feel safe, and I can continue my studies remotely”, Roman. Photo: IOM/Petru Zloi

In a vulnerable situation, he seized the opportunity to have a roof over his head but with the awareness that it would have been an almost insurmountable challenge to pay the rent with the odd jobs he could find, and remittances provided by his family in Ukraine. The risk of eviction was around the corner. 

In the period of his greatest uncertainty in Balti, “I received a call to my phone number from IOM Moldova to inform me about the ‘Rental Assistance’ project. I immediately showed interest and I was invited for a meeting”.

Roman hadn't been able to find work yet and therefore he had no financial resources, beyond the support of the family, to pay the rent and provide for his basic needs.

“The only expectation I had at that time was to receive rental assistance for the apartment.  I didn't count on anything more. I couldn't even ask for more, because I know there are people who are in a much more difficult position”.

“I live in an ordinary old apartment, where I feel comfortable and safe. Thanks to the assistance of the IOM, instead of paying the rent, I can save money for other needs and build my future. In fact, I did not give up my studies. I am attending the university with continuous distance learning since would see myself in six months at home, despite the fact that everything is destroyed, and I still do not know what will happen”.

SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
SDG 16 - Peace Justice and Strong Institutions