Ukraine: ‘thanks to your help my children can sleep in beds far from the sounds of war’

“MY NAME IS YULYA AND THESE ARE MY DAUGHTERS SOFIYA AND ANASTASIA, and my nephews Ivan and Demian. Until February 24th we all lived in Brovary,” says this young Ukrainian mother as she begins to describe her situation. Brovary is only five miles from Kyiv and in the first few days of the war it was struck by missiles, leaving seven people dead and 17 wounded. “My brother and I decided to get the children to a safer place, to our parents’ town, which is 12 miles outside of Brovary,” Yulya explains, as she sits on a mattress on the floor, surrounded by her daughters and nephews, aged between six and 13.

“My brother is a soldier. Since 2014 he has been defending the territorial integrity of the country, and his wife also enlisted in the armed forces when her maternity leave ended,” she says, which also explains why she is looking after her nephews.

“On March 6 it became clear that the frontline was drawing closer to the place where we were, the explosions became increasingly louder, and with shorter intervals,” this young Ukrainian tells Aid to the Church in Need. Yulya matter-of-factly describes what must have been a terribly painful affair for her brother’s family: “So, with their parents’ approval, we decided to get the children to safety further away.”

Yulya and her daughters and nephews

The question remained, however: where could they go? Yulya did not want to set off with four children into the unknown, “so I asked my parish priest, Father Román Laba, for advice.”

The priest suggested she get in touch with a fellow Pauline, Father Yustyn, who at that time was in Kamianets-Podilskyi, a city in the west of the country, close to the border with Moldavia and Romania. “I decided to act on his advice, and we were warmly welcomed here. When we arrived in Kamianets-Podilskyithe children were able to sleep on beds and under a roof, free from the sound of gunshots and explosions.”

“Father Yustyn has given us all we need: hot food, a place to stay, beds and even school material, so that the children can continue to follow their classes online. We are grateful from the bottom of our hearts to all the benefactors, who allow our children, and myself, to go on living with dignity. My brother and my whole family are thankful to all who have come together to help us.”

—Maria Lozano