Family who fled home find helping hand in Kharkiv

Families have found shelter and safety thanks to UNICEF and partners.

UNICEF
29 June 2022

Shrieking, laughing children are playing in a courtyard on the outskirts of Kharkiv. From somewhere on the other side of the city, a shell explodes, but the children barely blink. This is nothing – a month ago, shells were exploding outside their windows. 

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UNICEF
Svitlana (28 years old) and Lilya (3 years old), Sofia (14 years old), Bogdan (12 years old) and Myron (3 years old) in the sanatorium "High"

Here at this shared temporary house, the Volkovs are among the fifty families that have finally found respite from the explosions. The children receive humanitarian, psychological and educational support from UNICEF. Here, they can live again. 

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UNICEF
Nadiya with her grandson Yaroslav (8 years old)
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UNICEF
Juliana, mother-heroine
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UNICEF

“I just imagined what could have happened”

Before the family fled home, Yulianna had been hoping that things would get better. But, every day, the shells fell closer and closer. Then, one day, the Volkovs knew they had to leave.

On the morning of April 20, an explosion erupted in the garden. The walls and windows shook and the children leaped out of bed, terrified. Shrapnel was everywhere.

“I was horrified,” recalls Yulianna. “I just imagined what could have happened if my kids had been in the yard.”

The family spent the next day in a basement but it was crowded and damp, and made the children more anxious. Out of options, they boarded a bus to safety.

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UNICEF
Three-year-old Lilya.
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UNICEF
Sophia, 14, and Viola, 3.

A helping hand 

The family now live at a health care center for pregnant women that is currently serving as temporary housing for displaced people. When they first arrived, there was no water or heating. But with the support of UNICEF and volunteer organizations, the heating and water has been turned back on and lives of those sheltering here have been transformed.

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UNICEF

UNICEF not only provides clothes, food, and medicine, but also psychological and educational support for the children. Yulianna is grateful that her children now feel less stressed and are learning to live again.

Millions of children and families are at risk in Ukraine as the conflict continues to escalate. Homes, schools, water supplies and hospitals are damaged. Explosives, including landmines, are a daily threat to children’s lives.

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UNICEF
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UNICEF