Vladislava's face beams as she drives alone and unassisted across the yard at the PARAVAN mobility park in Aichelau in her new purple PR Piccolino. Three months ago, she came to Münsingen with her family from Kiev with only a suitcase and backpack. The 19-year-old has spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) and previously had an active wheelchair that she cannot move on her own. "I was always dependent on outside help, could not leave our apartment in Kiev independently," reports the computer science student, who would now like to continue her studies in Germany. "Now I can get around without my parents."
At the beginning of the Ukraine war, the family fled via Warsaw; acquaintances then drove them directly to Münsingen, where they were first accommodated in a hotel. "We were very well received here, the hospitality was great," says Vladislava's father, Leonid Kylivnyk, who fled with his wife and another daughter. After two days in the hotel, they were assigned an apartment in Münsingen, where they have been staying ever since. Among the helpers in Münsingen at the time was Stefan Ludwig, head of the wheelchair department at PARAVAN GmbH. "We were looking for barrier-free accommodation for the family," he reports. "That's when I met Vladislava. In order to continue her education in Germany and participate in social life, something absolutely had to be changed about her situation, and PARAVAN has the means to help."
"This is direct help on the spot," says Martina Arnold, for whom it was a matter of course to support the family. "It's nice to be able to support directly and to see what a plus the help brings to the quality of life. Now we hope that Vladislava settles in quickly and finds a place to study. The wheelchair will give her the mobility she needs to attend lectures on her own, for example." She has already made her first independent excursions with the wheelchair in Münsingen, for example to the town hall or to go shopping.
At the moment, the family's main focus is on integrating into the work life. Leonid is a structural engineer, his second daughter studied construction management. Both would like to work in their professions again. The family has learned German online on their own, and now they are preparing to attend the integration course. This is an important prerequisite for gaining a foothold in the labour market. Currently, the family is looking for a flat in the Stuttgart or Karlsruhe area so that they can quickly find a suitable job without having to rely on outside or state help. Vladislava also wants to continue her studies as soon as possible.
The Kylivnyk family misses their homeland, from which they had to flee because of the war. At the moment, a return is out of the question. "That's where we lived, that's our home," says Leonid. The family does not yet know when and if they will be able to return.