“The first days of the occupation were the most terrible. We saw tanks passing, we could hear explosions, we saw rockets flying. For two days there was no bread.”, Nadia’s story

23 February 2024|JRS Europe

Until February 24, Nadia lived an ordinary life. Her husband went to work, her daughter (Alyna, 11 years) and her went to school, to rehabilitation, they met with friends. They have been living in occupation since the evening of 25 February. Every night they heard artillery cannonades, the Russians were shooting incessantly, and they didn’t know where. “The first days of the occupation were the most terrible. We saw tanks passing, we could hear explosions, we saw rockets flying. For two days there was no bread.”, she remembers vividly. About a month after the occupation of their town, they decided to leave for somewhere quieter. Although their house and its surroundings were not directly affected by the fighting. Her daughter hardly endured the situation, closing the school, isolation. Nadia’s husband stayed behind, partly for his job, but mostly for his mother’s sake and the house, to keep an eye on it all. She signed up for a bus to Zaporizhzhya, where her husband’s relatives live, packed the essentials and waited for a whole week until she could travel. On the way to Zaporizhzhya and then further on by train to Lviv she saw shot up cars. She felt scared, stressed and uncertain about the future.

After getting in contact with JRS Poland, Nadia and her daughter have been living in the L’Arche – Kovcheh house In Lviv since September. “The place suits us, Alyna has her school here, there is a hospital, a speech therapist, a psychologist nearby. Thanks to the JRS we have the bare necessities – a roof over our heads and food. We made all the necessary documents, filed all the applications.”, she describes.

Nadia worries about her husband and her family who stayed in Ukraine, but at least she does not feel alone anymore. “We have someone to talk to, we have free housing, they help us buy groceries and stuff like that. The state now gives us 5 thousand hryvnia (120 €) a month.”, she says. JRS Poland organized activities such as exchanging presents for Christmas, workshops, or a sightseeing excursion in Lviv. Nadia keeps her hope alive despite all the adversities she had to face, just like thousands of refugees supported by the JRS network.

JRS is working together with the Xavier Network, Concordia Moldova, the Society of Jesus in Europe, local civil society, and NGOs in a coordinated Jesuit response. Together we help thousands of people like Veronika. You can read more about The One Proposal: the coordinated Jesuit response to support the Ukraine Crisis here.