Olena and her daughter at the counseling hub

Welcomed in a time of war

"This is the first time in my life that I have left my country, Ukraine," says Olena, who is now living with her two daughters at a friend's home in Romania.

"Until now, I lived with the noise of sirens and the pressure of missiles flying over our heads.

"I used to take the children to school in the morning and had no idea when I was going to take them back. I was supposed to wait for the sirens to stop to go and pick the children up, and they were hiding in the school's basement. I never knew what to expect, there was always uncertainty looming."

Olena and her children, Julia, 4 and Anna, 7, arrived in Iasi, Romania at the end of October, 2022. Her husband remained behind to continue receiving free medical care for his diabetes and disability, but the family hopes to find services for her husband as well so he can join them soon.

Olena chose Romania following the recommendation from her friends who said the Romanian people were very hospitable, and that Save the Children was supporting people crossing the border from Ukraine by providing families with basic necessities, and referring them to Counseling Hubs where they receive supplies and services.

"When I arrived here, in Iasi, I discovered a different world, without sirens and bombs," she says. "After a few days, I finally felt that I could be safe here.

At the Counseling Hub in Iasi, Save the Children assessed the needs of Olena and her children and began providing support including cash vouchers, social counseling, medical care -- especially for Anna who needs physiotherapy for a wrist injury, school enrolment and access to emergency housing.

"Every time I come to the Counseling Hub I feel safe," says Olena, "and my children do not want to leave because they feel comfortable and at ease."

"I am very happy to have found the Save the Children Romania-Iasi organization. Here I feel welcomed and supported."