Stories of Change

Olga and her daughter, Carina, receiving a donation box at Diaconia

Rediscovering Peace

The life that Olga and her family had in Ukraine was the type of life that many dream of. She had a loving husband and two healthy and happy children. Her daughter, Carina, was a talented ballerina and on her way to becoming trilingual at just nine years old. Her three-year-old son, Gleb, loved his family and was especially close with his father. None of them could have foreseen what would come in the next months.

The war in Ukraine came fast and shattered the family’s dreams. It arrived with a boom when a bomb exploded right by the apartment the family was in. In just half an hour following the explosion, Olga said goodbye to her husband and fled the country with her children, leaving behind the life they had always loved.

The family arrived in the neighboring country, Moldova, where they were generously hosted by a family of farmers. “Some people who were strangers to us sheltered us and offered us a place in their house. Together with my children, I helped take care of the animals, gathered wood for the fire and helped in the house as much as I could. We weren’t thinking about comfort, the important thing was for us to be safe.”

Although they had found physical safety, the trauma and horrors of the war lingered in their minds. Young Gleb shut himself off to this new life and refused to speak for four months. Unable to understand why his father did not come with them, Gleb also refused to communicate with his father. Carina responded to the trauma by growing up far too quickly and becoming a reliable source of support for her mother.

Despite these struggles, Olga refused to give up. Through CWS’ winterization project in partnership with local organization Diaconia, Olga was able to receive essential supplies. She also began a hairdressing course to be able to get a job and enrolled her children in school.

Through these small steps, Olga and her children are slowly healing and recreating a life that makes them feel happy and safe. “It is so valuable and important to know that we are not alone, there are people who support and help us,” Olga stated. “We thank you from the bottom of our hearts for the care you give us. Now that the temperatures are very low, winter footwear is a basic necessity. Thanks to you, and your donors, we now have less to worry about.”

Although peace in Ukraine is a subject of uncertainty, Olga and her family are discovering that peace can be found in the support and care they have received in their new home.

This story is possible thanks to CWS’ membership in ACT Alliance, a global coalition of churches and agencies engaged in development, humanitarian assistance and advocacy. Thanks to the support of ACT Alliance, CWS is able to support individuals like Olga, all around the world.

You can learn more support CWS’ work with Ukrainian refugees in Moldova, here.