Stories of Change

Vitalina and her two sons

Language Lessons Open New Doors

Watching your child struggle in school can be heartbreaking and frustrating, especially if you don’t know much about what they are learning. For parents who have had to leave their home country and don’t speak the language of their new home, this challenge can feel impossible.

Vitalina, a refugee from Ukraine, came face to face with this struggle when she and her two sons were forced to start a new life in their neighboring country, Moldova. When they arrived, Vitalina was hopeful that the war would be short-lived. Unfortunately, the situation turned out to be much different than they expected. As the war back home intensified, Vitalina knew that her family needed to integrate into the community in Moldova and start a new life for themselves.

Vitalina’s children began attending a school in Balti while also attending online classes through a Ukrainian school. Education became a real challenge for Vitalina’s children due to differences in the program structure and language. Vitalina’s oldest son had also started 4th grade and needed to pass exams in Mathematics, Russian and Romanian so that he wouldn’t fall behind. While these challenges could have been eased through tutoring, paying for tutoring was nearly impossible for Vitalina. She didn’t speak Romanian, the primary language in Moldova, so she was struggling to find a job.

Thankfully, a silver lining appeared for Vitalina when one day she saw an online post about Romanian classes offered through a program sponsored by UMCOR in partnership with CWS. Excited and filled with renewed hope, Vitalina applied immediately. She said, “my happiness was overwhelming when I found out that my son could also attend with me.”

Soon, Vitalina and her oldest son began attending language classes. Both were excited and committed to learning the language. Vitalina shared that as her language skills improved, she was better capable of helping her son with his school work and preparing for his exams. When the course ended two months later, Vitalina and her son wanted to keep learning, so they requested to stay longer. The program gladly invited the pair to stay, and they will begin classes soon. ”We were heard and supported,” Vitalina stated.

In addition to language classes, Vitalina and her family received regular food and hygiene supplies from the project, which have helped them save money that they would otherwise need to spend on basic needs. Vitalina said, “I want to express my gratitude for this opportunity. It meant a lot to me.” By learning the local language, a door has been opened for Vitalina and her children to be able to participate in their new community.

Through our partnership with UMCOR, CWS aims to support 20,000 Ukrainian refugees like Vitalina through food, donations, psychosocial support, legal aid, medical help, and vocational and language training. To join us in achieving our mission, click here.