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Since she was a little girl, Marina, a resident of Zaporojie, dreamed of traveling abroad. She wanted to see how the world outside Ukraine lived—to go to museums, visit castles, and swim in the Black Sea on the beaches of other countries. In the spring of 2022, her dream came true, but in the worst possible way—the Russian army attacked Ukraine, and millions of people, fleeing the horrors of war, left their homes. Marina, one of the beneficiaries of the “Medical and Social Services for Ukrainian Refugees in Moldova – Phase III” project, funded by the international organization Help – Hilfe zur Selbsthilfe e.V., was no exception.

“My family consists only of women – we are four sisters (Marina 25, Anastasia 17, Alexandra 14, Valeria 8) and our grandmother Galina (76 years old). Unfortunately, our mother passed away in 2019. Difficulties had become routine for us – a daily routine. We had gotten used to not complaining and were only surprised when something really went well. We had barely recovered from the loss of our mother when the war started. We no longer looked forward to tomorrow – only the air raid sirens reminded me that I was the eldest sister and had to take care of the younger ones, as well as our sick grandmother.”

After two weeks of bombings, Marina decided that if she wanted to survive, she had to leave as far away as possible. The lack of money led her to choose evacuation trains, which were their only way to leave the war-torn region.

“On March 8, 2022, when women all over the world usually receive flowers, we, four sisters and our grandmother, miraculously boarded the train to Lviv. There were over 300 people in our carriage, mostly women and children. Imagine what it’s like to travel at night, without light so that Russian planes don’t bomb you, and not be sure for a moment that you will reach the next station. This time we were lucky. We got off at Vinnytsia, and about 12 hours later, we crossed the border at Otaci, in the Republic of Moldova. We got into the car, which with every kilometer took us further away from the war that changed my perceptions of life, turned my childhood joys into multiple worries that not every adult can handle. At one point, I thought I had left them there, far away in Ukraine, among the ruins of bombed houses… But the wail of the siren that I still heard beyond the border, over the Dniester River, accompanied me into a new, unknown reality, where I would have to make daily efforts to survive.”

Arriving in Taul, Marina’s family was accommodated with distant relatives. Slowly but surely, they adjusted to a country they increasingly called “home.”

Obviously, it was difficult for her from the beginning. She didn’t know where she would get the money to survive away from home, how long this ordeal would last, how she would cope with three younger sisters and a sick grandmother. However, everything was quickly resolved once she was visited by collaborators from the “St. Iuliana” medical-social center.

“After meeting the ladies from the center, everything returned to normal. We started receiving food, hygiene products, bedding, dishes, and when they donated a refrigerator, I felt that goodness was beginning to prevail in our lives. Now my sisters are attending school in the village, I am looking for a stable job, and my grandmother is receiving specialized treatment. We have succeeded in everything thanks to the caring attitude and the information we received from the collaborators of the “St. Iuliana” medical-social center. These distinguished ladies, who work in the Homecare network of medical-social centers, have been both father and mother to my family over these 2 years. I feel like I can say for the first time in my life that I have been lucky. Being with such people, I am not ashamed to say that I am a refugee, because I am absolutely sure that they will always lend me a helping hand. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for being with us.”

The Public Association “HOMECARE,” with the financial support of the international organization HELP – Hilfe zur Selbsthilfe e.V., as part of the Project “Medical and Social Services for Ukrainian Refugees in Moldova – Phase III,” continues to be involved in assisting Ukrainian refugees, thus contributing to the efforts of the Republic of Moldova to cope with the demand for health and social protection services in the context of managing the influx of Ukrainian refugees.

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Uncategorized 8 April 2024