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Abstract  

This study describes the experiences of child refugees from Ukraine residing in the Czech Republic and sheds light on the perception of their situation. Our research is based on selected stories of 22 children from Ukraine – who wrote down their experiences of the war – and additional sources containing children’s memories of the war from other contexts and historical periods. Using qualitative analysis of their narratives, we look at their life stories, which we have recorded, code, and sorted into analytical categories. The results indicate children’s agency and the importance of their social relations. Moreover, we stress similarities with other refugee situations from the past that led to shaping children’s identities. Attention should also be paid to the importance of children’s vulnerabilities and special needs in refugee situations, especially when it comes to securing their emotional needs and education.

Abstract  

Hosting large numbers of refugees in private homes rather than in refugee camps is a fairly unusual phenomenon in the broadly understood Western context, including the post-socialist countries of Central and Eastern Europe. Thus, explorative research is much needed to determine the fundamental problems triggered by this novel situation. Based on a series of individual in-depth interviews with Polish hosts who invited Ukrainian refugees to live in their homes, this paper puts under scrutiny the micro-relations between the hosts and the guests. The study identified 6 kinds of ‘difficulty’, including (1) negotiating everyday routines, (2) dealing with difficult life situations and stress, (3) quarrels and divisions among migrants, (4) neglecting one’s own family, (5) a too strong emotional attachment to the guests and (6) irreconcilable sets of expectations.