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Real life situations created in peace-war conditions, clash of cultures, integration, prejudices, connection between political and interpersonal conflicts.


  • Finding consensus in the group.
  • Analyzing the story from the point of view of personal, interpersonal, political etc. conflict. - Understanding about various migration processes and migration reasons.
  • Looking for solutions for cultural integration in conditions of globalization.


  • Time: 1 hour
  • Marichka's story text, evaluation tables for each participant, plus for each small group, pens, flipchart for an overview, markers.


  1. Divide participants in groups of 3 to 4 people.
  2. Read the given story.
  3. Ask each individual has to make a rating of the story characters (who is the best character nr. 1 for him/her, who is the worst one nr. 5).
  4. In the small groups, ask participants to find consensus, coming up with a common rating. Each group presents their rating, with a short explanation. Make the overview on the flipchart.
  5. Ask an opinion about each character of the story from each group.


  • Was it difficult to find a consensus in your group?
  • Would your opinion change, if the story would be told from another perspective (E.g. if the central character would be Marko’s mother)?
  • Which kinds of conflicts do you see in the story (personal, interpersonal, socio-cultural/political)? Try to analyze the conflicts from various perspectives (reasons, actors, culmination etc.)
  • Based on the story, think of various reasons of migration nowadays, its challenges and opportunities.
  • Were you aware about the war in Ukraine? Which war conflicts do you usually keep in mind and which forget?
  • What do you know about the region mentioned in the story (Baltic country + Ukraine + Russia)? Do you see commonalities or differences in country’s histories and cultures, traditions?
  • What if Marichka would be a refugee? What could be her destiny in the story?
  • What is the role of propaganda in the story?
  • Do you have similar examples from your life to share?
  • What are your suggestions for the conflict solution and for a better integration process?


Method adapted from “Abigail’s story”. The events reflect a true story with changed names





Marichka’s Story

Marichka is a young and beautiful girl from Ukraine. She finished university and started to work in a bank. She could not stand the arrogant attitude of the managers towards the employees and the unfair working principles towards the clients. She decided to try her luck in a more democratic, Scandinavian country and signed a contract to work as a waitress in Denmark.

The new employer met her in Denmark, took her passport and locked her in a building together with other immigrant workers. It turned out to be an illegal work and everybody was treated as a slave there. Men or women, they all had to work non-stop as construction workers until they finished building the café and then they had to work as waiters and cleaners. No money, only food, no possibility to go out, no passport, no Internet, rare contacts with relatives and when happening only under the supervision of the employer. After many months of severe life, one night risking immensely Marichka stole her passport and managed to escape.

When she saw the lights of the amazing city, she fell in love with it. She decided to stay there. However, the only opportunity for her was to have illegal work as a cleaner. It was an expensive city, and she had to work really hard to survive there. She woke up early in the morning, worked the whole day, but when she went back from the cleaned houses, she could see the lights, and she loved these short moments of freedom.

Marichka was actually hiding during the day, not to get back into the hands of the slavery. But step-by-step, she decided to go out. Euromaidan started, and she could not be silent. There she met people from Ukrainian community. Together they went for demonstrations and organized actions to support their countrymen back in Ukraine. She also went for Danish courses. There she saw an announcement about a free place to go to a project trip to Italy. She went for the interview to the organization and met the social worker – a young girl Kadri. Marichka got accepted for the trip: she still had Schengen visa and she made a good impression. Marichka felt extremely lucky. She could see the world, she could eat good food for free, she could meet new people, she could be treated the same as others, she could develop her self-confidence so much and she could enjoy freedom and peace.

Marichka liked this feeling of euphoria. As soon as she came back to Denmark, she applied for another trip, to France. Occasionally, the social worker Kadri also went for these trips. They took the places near each other in the plane, started to speak and immediately realised that they were soul mates. They became close friends and told their individual stories to each other. When they came back from the trip, Marichka introduced Kadri to her Ukrainian friends. As Kadri was Estonian, but also had some Ukrainian roots, she got very much engaged into their humanitarian activities. Kadri got new friends and fell very much in love with Ukraine. Unfortunately, Marichka’s visa expired and she had to return to Ukraine.

Back in Ukraine Marichka could not sit still. She cooperated with the Ukrainian community from Denmark, collected humanitarian help and went to the front many times, to bring help and to support the soldiers. She wrote also several articles about soldiers’ lives and destinies.

She also stayed in contact with Kadri. Kadri went to Estonia to visit her parents. Word by word, she mentioned about her new friend to the family, and how inspired she became of her story and character. Once Kadri and her parents talked alltogether on skype. The father was cracking jokes and the mother tried to speak some Ukrainian, using her basic knowledge from childhood.

After the visit to Estonia, back in Denmark, one evening Kadri was on Skype with her elder brother Marko. Suddenly he asked her about Marichka. He understood, that life and working opportunities were very limited for the young girl in Ukraine in the current situation, he got interested in her and suggested to help with her Schengen visa, as he could invite her to work in his company in Estonia. For the next day Marko and Marichka booked a Skype call, and since that day they spoke every day, as they fell in love with each other immediately.

Marko invited Marichka to come to Estonia. She prepared the documents and went to Kyev for the flight. Suddenly she got stopped at the passport control: they told her she had a debt back in Ukraine and couldn’t be allowed to leave the country. Both Marko and Marichka fell into a deep depression for several weeks. She went through a long procedure of proving she actually had no debt until she could finally fly to Estonia.

She flew and they started to live together secretly, as Marko’s parents were very conservative. They would never believe in such a love story, they would be suspicious about their age difference etc. As Marko worked together with his father, one day he finally told him about Marichka. Even being quite conservative, the father was always on his children’s side – he was the children’s ally. He helped Marko hide the fact for some time and tried to tell it, step by step, to the mother so that she would accept it.

One day Marichka went to Ukraine to take care of some documents. It was Marko’s birthday. Besides Marko, Marichka wanted to congratulate his mother as well. She called the mother on Skype. The mother saw her profile picture, in military clothes and then started searching for information on the Internet. She found Marichka’s articles and pictures and got really furious.

Because of their ethnic background, Marko’s mother and father were always perceived as ”aliens” or non-citizens in Estonia. They could not prove they had enough work experience in this country, but could prove they had it in the Soviet Union. So, they could apply for Russian citizenship to receive pension from Russia. They and Marko (in separate apartments, but in the same city) lived in a Russian-speaking area of Estonia, where everybody watched only Russian TV and propaganda had a huge role. In these conditions when the mother discovered those pieces of information about Marichka she made the father be on her side now. 

She screamed at her children. She said that Kadri brought an enemy to the family – a person who helps others kill. She wanted Kadri to quit her strange work if she met people like this in there. She wanted Kadri to quit contacts with any of her Ukrainian friends immediately. She also told Marko, he won’t be her son anymore, if he brought Marichka to their house again. Both parents supported each other and told the children to quit any communication with Marichka. The children suffered enormously, as they loved their parents very much, but thought it was very unfair. They were also shocked about the father’s unexpected attitude. 

Meanwhile, Marko actually decided to merry Marichka. For her to live in Estonia again, he had to fight a lot for documents. Kadri supported him as much as possible: with advice and money. The procedure took several months and during all this period the mother was threatening them continuously. She pretended to be very sick and told her children she will curse them, if anything serious would happen to her. Finally, Marichka could come to Estonia and be with her beloved one again. Marko told the parents, that he brought her, but did not even show her. Marko and Marichka decided on their wedding date and invited Kadri, without letting the parents know.






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