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Mother & Young Daughter Leave a War-torn City to Forge a New Life

Our story began like many others…at 4:30 a.m. on February 24, 2022. We lived in Nikolaev in the south of Ukraine.

We woke up from the explosions. We had no idea what was happening. I did not know what to do or where to run. Just shock. I knew I had to think quickly and act logically. Then, we began receiving news and information on what to do.

By 8 a.m., I withdrew all the money I could from my bank cards. I transferred water, food and blankets to the basement of our apartment building where my 5-year-old daughter Nadia and I lived, in constant fear, for a week. After this week, I decided to get out of the city because there was a real threat that Russia would siege Nikolaev. A local church was organizing to take the women and children out. I packed everything I could in a small bag within 20 minutes, and I took my daughter and went to the church.

We managed to get on the last bus and to get to the border in Moldova. It took six hours to get across the border. It was freezing cold and the flow of people was unimaginable. Everyone was exhausted and scared. We were taken to and welcomed into a refugee center at Moldexpo. We stayed at the center for two days and then a pastor, named Michael, took us to his home. We rested for a day and he took us to Romania. Three days later, we arrived in Poland. We were given so much help by caring people Moldova, Romania and Poland. They provided us with food and transportation and a place to stay.

In Poland, we were given a room in an apartment and the people supported and encouraged us. It was difficult to realize what was happening. There was so much pain back in our city of Nikolaev, for our friends and family, for our people – for our whole country. Every day passed like a dream – we expected to hear some news that the war was over and that we could return home. There was none and then I was in shock that the war had not passed and I finally accepted that the war would not end quickly.

I began to think about how and where to give my daughter a future. Friends of mine had received a visa to Canada for Ukrainians. They flew away and I began to think this was a good prospect to build a new life for Nadia and myself. In September 2022, Nadia and I flew to Canada and now we live with a wonderful host family. Nadia is in first grade and is successfully learning English. Although I had a career as a digital marketing specialist in Ukraine, I am now working at a café. I plan to pursue my career in digital marketing and I hope to find a home of my own where Nadia and I can live in peace. For now, I am grateful for a job, for an education for my daughter and for the kindness of strangers who are helping us.

Inna’s LinkedIn Profile




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