Olena is a 40-year-old Ukrainian mother of two. She discovered that she was pregnant with her third child just two days into the conflict. Because of frequent bombing and the need to run for shelter, she and her husband decided that she should take their boys and leave Ukraine.
Now in Poland, where she hopes to stay, Olena has found safety and support through IOCC’s response there. A local Orthodox priest converted his parish house into a home for refugee women and their children, so they all have a safe place to stay. Olena and her boys received emergency food and hygiene items, plus vouchers that allow Olena to shop independently for things they need.
“This help allowed me to support and fed my family for the next few weeks,” she said. “This program helped me when I needed it most [so] I could … ensure the safety and well-being of my children.” Although she and her husband are saddened by the separation, Olena is grateful that their children are safe.
IOCC’s response to the conflict in Ukraine is ongoing in Poland and Romania, as well as in Ukraine itself. Meeting emergency needs and training volunteers who are serving refugees have been two key focuses, and the program continues growing as needs shift over time.