Stories of Change

Olga and her Daughter, Dasha, in Iceland

Refuge and Gratitude from Iceland

CWS partners with the local Moldovan organization, Zdrovii Gorod (Healthy City), to support Ukrainian refugees by providing comprehensive services including food and non-food items, social inclusion, and psychosocial support. Olga was both a program participant and a volunteer at the center. She recently moved to Iceland with her daughter, Dasha. Below is a thank you letter she wrote to Zdorovii Gorod Director, Budulai, Program Manager, Bartosz.

“My dear Bartozs and Budulai,

How Dasha and I miss you! I am writing this letter to you at the edge of geography, more than 4000 km from you, from the cold northern country – Iceland. I can hardly believe that I’m here. Every time I think of you and the time that I spent in Moldova with you, I feel warmth and joy in my heart.

I congratulate you on the anniversary of your project, “Helping refugees from Ukraine near Balti”. But today is April 6th and I have my own anniversary. Exactly one year ago, I wrote a message to you through Instagram saying that I wanted to become a volunteer at your center.

At the time I had no idea how important this would be for me. At that moment, I just wanted to be useful during the war and help those who needed it just as much as I did. And so I came to help you but in fact, you ended up helping me. You helped all of us Ukrainians who felt at home at the center.

It just so happened, and I don’t believe in coincidences, that on April 6th I wrote to you, and on April 7th I turned 40 years old. To me, this is a very symbolic date. I always thought that at 40 life would just be beginning. This is the stage when you can do almost everything; when you have gone through a lot of bumps, but made the right conclusions. When one understands both friendship and betrayal and is left next to the right people only. Overall, at this age, one has gained enough experience to choose the right direction and path along which you will walk for the second half of your life.

I planned to meet my 40 years brightly and unforgettably, but the war made its own adjustments in each one of our lives. I remember ourselves during the first month after February 24, when we threw some things into the car with Dasha, struggling to decide what to take with us. We left Odessa without understanding what was happening at all. It seems that not a year has passed, but ten years. The first month after February 24th just disappeared from my life. I stayed in the room, I didn’t go anywhere. I just followed every piece of news with the hope that this madness would just end so that we could go home.

But every day, it only got worse. A month later, when I had lost 11 pounds, I realized that it was impossible to go on like this and that I needed to get out of this state and change something. That was when I wrote an SMS to Zdorovii Gorod with the request to register as a volunteer.
So, it was NOT by chance that my life at 40 began with Zdorovii Gorod and this project! The vector was set correctly! Now it’s completely obvious!

I was moved by intuition and the call of my heart. The life of every person is programmed by someone from above, and everyone determines for themselves what God they believe in. Everything that happens to us is only a consequence of the choice we have made. At every intersection in life’s path, you need to choose a way. We do not always choose correctly but in my 40s, I made the right choice. I chose this project with Zdorovii Gorod!
Zdorovii Gorod has changed me! Each of you! Our project team is special. It fits like a puzzle with such different and at the same time, such similar people.

Thank you for this year, for this little life that we have lived together. Thank you for the trips, our joint vacation and the excursions in sunny and beautiful Moldova. Thanks for the vocational classes, interesting trainings and joint holidays. Thanks for the faith in goodness (which had been lost in the outbreak of war), for the inspiration to move on and for helping me realize that not everything is lost in this world as long as there are people like you! Thanks for the help and support in everything. For your humor, and for your ability to find the right words. And most importantly, thank you for your time, which you give to people and your noble cause. After all, time is the most valuable resource. Especially now, when you are not sure about tomorrow and there is only today. Today, like every day, you continue to help those who need it.

In general, thank you for letting me into your house, which is what it became for me in a year. It’s always hard to leave home but it is always a joy to return.

I wish you further development in all the directions that you are going. I know for sure that you will succeed in everything that you undertake. You are doing good and noble deeds and good always win and overcome any obstacles. I wish you new victories and achievements, new interesting projects, new opportunities, inextinguishable energy and inner strength!

With deep gratitude in my heart and the hope to see you soon,


Thanks to our generous partner, UMCOR, who supports this program, Healthy City is able to help up to 1,500 families every week get the donations they need. To learn more about CWS’ work with refugees around the world, click here.