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United Way Blog

Ivanna & Her Family Have No Home to Return To

Ivanna’s story represents the journey of millions of families arriving at the border with the husbands escorting their wives and children, but once they reach the border, the husbands say farewell returning to their duties awaiting in Ukraine. Ivanna has two children, four-year-old, Sonya; one-year-old, Vania.   

From Harkiv to Canada  

Ivanna arrived with her two kids  to Romania from Harkiv, one of the most bombed cities in Ukraine. In the early days of the war, along with her husband holding their children hands, took refuge in the subway basement.   

During those days, they decided that, for the safety of the children, the mother should leave the country with them, even if it meant separating from their dad-husband for an indefinite period.  

Trains, buses transported them to reach the romanian border. Ivanna thought to make the journey easier,  bought a travel book for the children; thus the little ones would have seen this trip as an adventure.  

On the days they are arriving in Romania. The family has spent the night in Sighetul Marmației. Next day, they returned to the customs area to receive more information, waiting for the train to Bucharest.  

From Bucharest, Ivanna wants to go to Istanbul, to get a visa for Canada. “We will never be able to return to Harkiv anyway. Our house was destroyed. We have to look for another house in another country,”she explained sadly. She doesn’t have anyone in Canada either, but it is a place where, she and her spouse, dreamt to settle down a long time ago.  

First birthday away from his favorite toys, way far away from dad   

A sense of home, family help children in early childhood to develop confidence, an atmosphere where their brains are creating millions of connections per second to teach their bodies how to interact with the world, at stress this process is blocked. Kids growing up in conflict contexts are navigating the displacement in different ways, are shocked at the beginning, but  if they are properly taken care of, then they can start to play, adapting to their familiar journey.  

Vania’s first birthday is in 4 days. The mother’s and baby’s tent, where this family is waiting, has a sense of home. While Ivanna collect her thoughts, the little ones found enough activities to their liking. He will celebrate his first birthday away from his father, his favorite toys, his hometown and his country.  

Moments before leaving, Ivanna hurriedly picked up two bottles of water, fruit, food for the trip, diapers for the little one, offered by United Way Romania. All she wants now is for this ugly dream to end as soon as possible so that they can be a complete family again. They will celebrate Vania’s life in the middle of the road.   

Volunteers, communities and network on the ground first provide support for basic needs, relocation and art therapy. Education, Jobs and Financial Stability are steps to be addressed in the times coming up.  

 We hope Individuals and corporates get a sense of the reality with the stories our team is collecting. If you feel moved, we all can help. Support our efforts by donating on the following page: #UnitedForUkraine 

United for Ukraine Global Fund

By donating to this fund, you will receive a U.S. tax receipt. United Way Worldwide is unable to provide tax receipts for non-U.S. donations.

United for Ukraine