Ukraine Crisis

A mother’s long journey finding hope for daughters amidst the Ukraine crisis


During the chaos of war, Kateryna's strength and determination shine as she fights to protect her children and find solace in the midst of uncertainty. Experience her inspiring journey of resilience and the power of a mother's love.

“My children were in danger, I had to save them. I remember when we did not have time to run to the shelter after the air alarm and immediately heard the explosions,” shares Kateryna Petrukhnova, a mother of two little girls – Victoria (9) and Anastasiia (3).

Thrice displaced Kateryna, a resilient mother from the Kharkiv region, made the difficult decision to flee her beautiful hometown, seeking safety and a brighter future for her children.

Despite the challenging conditions they faced, including freezing temperatures in an apartment without heating, Kateryna's sole focus remained on her children. Grateful for each day they spent together, she believed their sacrifices would bring them closer to a better tomorrow.

Ukraine Crisis
Kateryna's two daughters Victoria and Anastasiia started to settle in their new environment although they still get bothered by air alarms.

“I was grateful for everything we had then. Even if we had to live without heating in winter. I thought only about the lives of my children,” recalls Kateryna.

Eventually, Kateryna with her daughters and older brother Serhiy ended up in the collective center, which is situated in the small but cozy village in the Kyiv region. 

Here, little Victoria and Anastasiia can spend more time outdoors, enjoying the freshness of summer, thereby strengthening their immunity. Kateryna discovered a sense of calm that eluded her in previous shelters.

“I am very glad that we made the decision to come here. There is a forest, and nature around. The children are very happy. I can even see changes in their eyes, even though sometimes there is a fear of explosions,” explains Kateryna.

In this challenging time, Kateryna’s family found support from organizations like World Vision and Youth Movement Be Free (YMBF). The assistance they received strengthened their resolve and gave them the courage to move forward.

''I am very glad that we made the decision to come here. There is a forest, and nature around. The children are very happy. I can even see changes in their eyes, even though sometimes there is a fear of explosions.''

“People who were forced to leave their homes and everything behind to save the lives of their children have the opportunity to be with the people of their country and start a new life in the collective centers.

The collective centers became their new home, where they found the warmth of being with other people, but also the feeling of safety and protection for their children.

World Vision and its partners are happy to help give them hope for a better future for their children", says Blerina Lako, the Chief of the Party for World Vision’s Bureau for Humanitarian Aid (BHA)-funded project.

The project has distributed institutional hygiene kits and non-food items made possible through our donors - USAID’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance (BHA), Ukraine Response Consortium, and ACTED Ukraine.

Kateryna's eldest daughter, Victoria, had been deeply affected by the traumatic events of the invasion. Despite Kateryna's efforts to explain and prepare her, the sounds of rockets flying nearby intensified her fear.

“One day a rocket flew into a nearby street, she heard it and was very scared. I did everything I could to calm her down and help her,” says Kateryna. With their relocation, Victoria begins healing from the traumas she had endured.

Ukraine Crisis
Kateryna with her older brother Serhiy who went through a difficult period being captured for three months.

“I go to school, but online for now. I want to spend more time with my mom and my younger sister,” explains nine-year-old Victoria. World Vision and its implementation partners continue to provide essential aid and support to families like Kateryna's.

“I am happy we found a safe place here. Thanks to the support of World Vision, we received all the necessary items and hygiene kits. Thanks a lot!” tells Kateryna.

Kateryna's story is a testament to the indomitable spirit of a mother who sacrifices her own desires and comforts for the safety and well-being of her children. She yearns for the day they can return home, where their roots are firmly planted.

Her hope for the future shines through her tears, driven by her unwavering determination to reclaim what was temporarily lost.

Story and photos by Oleksandra Shapkina, Communications Officer