In Brasov, Anastasia dreams of a peaceful future

The 13-year-old volunteer at the CATTIA Blue Dot Hub tries to build a new life by helping others and learning new things.

Ukrainian child
16 August 2022

“Every night, we have a family video conference. It’s an important ritual,” says Anastasia, a 13-year-old volunteer at the CATTIA Blue Dot Hub in Brasov. She came to Brasov together with her brother, mother, and two of her grandparents. They used to visit the city during the winter holidays, when she was little, but she doesn’t have clear memories from those trips. “We actually wanted to come again this year, on holiday, but our plans were canceled by the war.” So now they’re here as refugees, not tourists. 

“It caused a big pain or us to leave, to say goodbye to our house and to my father, but we got used to living here; it’s better now,” says Anastasia. She comes almost everyday to the CATTIA Blue Dot center, “because there’s always something to do,” in the improvised kitchen island, serving tea and coffee, or in the various service points spread around the complex.      

She likes sports, especially gymnastics and athletics. But most of all she would love to study acting or psychology. “I like people. I would feel lonely without people around me,” she explains. That’s why, besides the community work here, it’s very important for her to keep in touch with all her Ukrainian friends. “I have a friend in Ukraine with such good energy,  just talking with her on the internet makes me very happy” 

Now she’s working to improve her English skills, by reading books, watching clips on the internet, talking with people, or using the subtitles for her favorite movies, the Harry Potter series. “I play them again and again, in English, Ukrainian, and Russian.” 

“I’m also trying to learn Romanian, but it’s pretty hard. I find the grammar complicated. But I’m studying it with my mom, we’re taking classes together with a volunteer professor.” 

Ukrainian child

She doesn’t know what the future holds, because even her school in Mykolaiv was destroyed after an attack. Nevertheless, Anastasia dreams of having a big house, “with a dog and a cat.” “I really want a big Labrador”, she says with a hopeful smile. 

The UNICEF Blue Dot CATTIA hub in Brasov provided shelter and support for thousands of families of Ukrainian refugees. The Blue Dots are dedicated refugee children and family support hubs and represent an integrated model that provides support for the most immediate needs of children and women and include child friendly areas. Among the services provided are travel information and counseling for refugees; registration of the most vulnerable; spaces dedicated to mothers and babies/young children; psychological therapy; first aid on hygiene, health and nutrition; basic legal advice; referral services for cases of violence or health conditions, etc. At the Blue Dot hubs, families can be provided with blankets, warm clothes, sanitary kits, toys, hygiene products and baby food.