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Finding hope in war

19 April 2022, Impact of Our Work

The journey Alina and her children took to safety was step by step - first hiding in a basement for three days, then making a hasty escape to the Romanian border

Thirty-year-old Alina* and her children Dimitri*, 11, Mikhail*, 6, and Mila*, 14 months, are among the millions of refugees who have fled the escalating conflict in Ukraine. And like many others, they left behind a member of their family, Alina’s husband.

Their story is one of desperate survival.

“My children spent three days in a basement, just so they could live. It is very difficult for me to recall all this,” Alina said.

But in the camp in Romania where they sought refuge, their story is also one of hope. There, they have access to advice services as well as essential items like food and nappies.

“Thank God we have arrived, we feel fine, the only thing is my youngest daughter has a cold, but it will pass. In other words, we received a warm welcome and we were fed.”

A moment of hope: “at least we are not being shot at here”

With the wonderful support of donors, Save the Children has set up a Child Friendly Space in the temporary camp. It is a space where children can relax, play and feel safe. 

“Yes, at least we are not being shot at here, we are alive here - this is already a good thing. They have put up a great games tent for children here, my middle son spent almost all of today there. He likes it very much, he doesn’t want to leave. They have wonderful people working there, he is happy. My eldest son has also made some friends, they play ‘tag’ together.”

I am very happy that even in such a situation my children are able to smile. This simply makes me happy.

Alina

The next leg of the journey

Most of the refugees, in the current wave, transit through Romania and Poland to third countries within Europe. This is the same for Alina and her family, for whom the camp is a temporary safe refuge as they make their way to their family in Spain.

“They are all waiting for us there. They are prepared to offer accommodation and financial support - they can’t wait to see us,” Alina said.

I want to sit at a big table with all my close relatives. That is all I want.

Alina

Alina’s wish became a reality. They are finally on their way to Spain to their family eagerly awaiting their arrival.

Through the generosity of donors, Save the Children, together with local partners on the ground, is providing essential assistance to refugees like Alina and her children, including cash, wheat, wood, fuel, and nappies for children.

In Romania, where Save the Children has had a presence long before the refugee crisis, we have been responding through a range of activities at the border and transportation hubs, including providing safe Child Friendly Spaces for children.

You can give life-saving support for families displaced by conflict.

Photo: Pedro Armestre/Save the Children.
*Names have been changed to protect identity.

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