‘The Other War’ or Prospects of Survival: The Stories of Women Refugees with Cancer in the Russo-Ukrainian War
Olha Labur’s project is focused on documenting the life stories of Ukrainian women who are cancer patients and who, in the context of the Russo-Ukrainian War, ended up in Germany. Using oral history tools, she plans to conduct ‘living interviews’ with women who decided to leave the warzone and seek treatment abroad. Olha considers their experiences exceptional, as this a high-risk step for people with a terminal disease. They did not know what lies ahead, such as whether they will be able to find treatment, understanding with foreign doctors, or normal living conditions and food. Some of these women arrived with small children, which makes their situation even harder. Olha intends to document ‘women’s voices’ in this transformational period of their lives to understand how they made decisions, what caused them to go abroad, and what support they received from their relatives, friends, volunteer communities, the hosting party, and other cancer patients. The project also seeks to understand how the process was organized on the level of the state, international institutions, local communities, certain medical institutions, and the self-organizing cancer patient community. The research will consider whether fleeing the war turned into a personal ‘second war’ for these women or whether their prospects of survival improved. Ultimately, the project will identify and describe the new survival practices of one of the most vulnerable social groups of the war.