Family Matters September 2023 – Ukraine crisis: Marina finds safety for her family

25 Sep, 2023

The world was shocked when the conflict in Ukraine first broke out, and at Family For Every Child, we managed to act quickly to support children and families in vulnerable situations. Our Ukraine Children In Crisis Appeal in 2022 raised £85,000 with the help of our global base of generous supporters. We are incredibly grateful for each and every donation that fuelled Family’s response to this crisis. All funds raised went directly to practitioners working on the ground in the region, and many families have since received vital support from our partner organisation in Bulgaria, ‘For Our Children’. One of these families is Marina’s – a young mother who was forced to flee her home. We recently reached out to  our partner organisation to find out how she was doing. This is her story. 

Marina and her family are from Kyiv, Ukraine. The outbreak of war meant that Marina, her family and her husband were forced to split up. The father stayed in Ukraine, and Marina left the country with her two young children Alisa and Alexey. Pregnant with her third child, it was essential for Marina to find safety immediately.

The road for Marina, Alisa and Alexey was not easy. First, the three of them went to Krakow, Poland. They settled with a local volunteer who gave them temporary shelter for a month, but they couldn’t stay any longer. In her desperation, Marina found out about opportunities to get help in the Netherlands. After another long journey, the trio found accommodation in a small Dutch village. However, with no school or hospital in the vicinity, the young mother was once again forced to look for other options as her pregnancy progressed. At this point, the family travelled further to stay with friends in Bulgaria, who provided them with yet another temporary shelter. In Bulgaria, the family received temporary protection status and, shortly after, they managed to rent a small apartment in Sofia.

By this point, Marina was quickly approaching her final weeks of pregnancy. The young family had travelled thousands of miles, and the journey had taken its toll on all of them. Marina was lost, confused, and alone. She had no relatives that she could call on to help her. She was hopeful that her husband would be able to leave Ukraine as soon as their baby arrived, but desperately needed psychological support in order to cope. On a practical level, she also needed help making appointments with doctors and health professionals.

At this point, Marina heard about Family For Every Child’s partners at For Our Children, who support Ukrainians to get settled in Bulgaria. Once she got in touch, the team took immediate action to help Marina and her young family. They quickly registered her with a local doctor, who cared for the young mother during the remainder of her pregnancy. They also escorted her to local hospitals, translated conversations, and referred her for hospitalisation.

In November, Marina and her children welcomed a new addition to the family. Baby Nina was born safely in a Bulgarian hospital. With For Our Children’s help, Marina began receiving psychological support. Her toddler Alexey was able to join a weekly children’s group, where he quickly made new friends. The family also received humanitarian aid: a food package, a school package for her daughter Alisa, diapers for Alexey, and Christmas gifts for Marina and her children.

Today, Marina is a proud mother of three. Baby Nina is healthy, and eventually Marina’s husband was able to leave Ukraine and be reunited with his loved ones in Bulgaria. Although far from their homeland, they are more stable, safe and better prepared for rebuilding their life than they could have ever imagined.

Thank you to everybody who helped fund our Ukraine Emergency Appeal. Through our partners at For Our Children, you’re continuing to help make a huge difference to the lives of people like Marina, Alisa, Alexey and baby Nina.

The conflict is not over. Thousands of Ukrainian children and families continue to live life in the midst of utter devastation. Donations are still needed to support more families like Marina’s.

To make a donation today, please complete the form included with your Family Matters or e-mail supportercare@familyforeverychild.org. 

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