Sisters Viktoria, 27, and Anastassiya, 24, are stranded in Belarus, while Aliaksandra, 21, is trying to rebuild her life in Brazil and could become the country's first Belarusian refugee.
On August 9, 2020, the world watched on TV as government shock troops beat protesters and journalists, when dictator Aleksandr Lukachenko, in power since 1994, was re-elected president.
On the 10th, even more people protested the violence. The three sisters were among them. They were held for three days and remained in the regime's crosshairs because they appeared in an internet video trying to stop the beating of protesters.
In the following weeks, Aliaksandra agreed to her Brazilian boyfriend's request and left for Brazil on October 14th.
Two days later, Anastassiya was convicted of violence against police and riot organization, with a two year prison sentence, and Viktoria got two years and six months as she had also participated in a rally during the campaign.
Only when she talks about her life in Brazil does Aliaksandra begin to smile. She applied for asylum in November but has not yet received a decision from the National Committee for Refugees.
With temporary permanence, she studies information technology. Now on the dictatorship's wanted list, she misses home. “It's inevitable, and the beginning was the hardest, when I realized I couldn't go back so soon. But now I'm in Brazil, and what I'm thinking about is making my life here."
Translated by Kiratiana Freelon