June 17, 2022

Refugees find safety in hostel sponsored by Lions Club Karlsruhe-Baden

Some refugees in our hostel barely escaped the missile strike in Kramatorsk. Many went through heart-breaking experiences to get to safety. Thanks to our donors' generosity, we can provide housing for 125 children and their families who, leaving their entire lives behind, fled their hometowns and villages to find shelter and security.

We would like to thank the Stiftung der Deutschen Lions and the Lions Club Karlsruhe-Baden for providing a grant to pay for 30 beds in one of Lviv's hostels for four months from 1st June to 30th September: a total of 3,660 beds! Their grant also funds food for the refugees settled there. Thank you to the Ukrainian Association of Karlsruhe for coordinating the fundraising!

Some refugees stay for a week or two before moving on to other countries, relatives, or a rented apartment. For other mothers, children and retirees, this hostel has become a longer-term residence. Two of the refugees have been employed by the hostel.

Here is Svitlana’s heart-breaking story of how she came to our hostel:

Svitlana from Slovyansk fled the war and came to Lviv with her three children. Svitlana’s husband is now defending Ukraine at the front. She talks to him briefly but only when he calls. No matter how much she misses him, she has to wait, so she doesn’t endanger his life.

When shells first began to fly overhead, Svetlana's husband called and told her to go to western Ukraine with their children. They had no idea where to go. The journey with the children was not easy: the youngest son has a disability. He cried all the way and didn’t let his mother out of sight for a moment.

At their first attempt to flee the family arrived at the train station in Kramatorsk when it was hit by a missile.

"It was terrible. Thank God that my children and I were away from the biggest crowd and weren’t injured. We were extremely shocked by what we saw, especially the children: dead and wounded children and adults lay before our eyes. I can't put it into words."

The family returned home and hid in their basement for nearly two weeks. At the second attempt, Svitlana and her children managed to leave.

“As we rode the train, we heard sirens. My frightened son asked: “Mum, if we get hit, will we all die and never see each other again? What about Dad?”

Finally the family arrived in Lviv, where they felt safe as the tanks could not reach here. It took a few days to wake up from the shock of their experience and realize that a new life awaits them in a place where everything is foreign and new.

“My husband and I are very happy that Care in Action has given us a roof over our heads, and that we can hold on to the savings I carried, because we don't know what lies ahead. My youngest son developed health problems that need medical treatment. The older children recovered better, but I see that they also have an imprint of these terrible events. Thank you very much for the warm welcome. "

Another mother wrote:

"Myself and two of my adult children came from the Kharkiv region after the Russian invasion on February 24. We were forced to leave our hometown because of the threat to our lives and health. We arrived in Lviv by evacuation train. The journey was very difficult, but we are safe. Thank you very much for your help! I don't know if we will ever return home, where no one is waiting for us. We plan to stay here and find a way to move on with our lives.”

Children and parents who live in the hostel can access therapy and spend time in our “Creative Hub”, which opened on June 1st. There, children play board games, socialise with peers and do creative activities. Adults have a quiet place to work remotely or talk over a cup of tea. This has made life in the hostels, where the bedroom, kitchen and living room are shared, much more comfortable.

We aim to recruit a Counsellor who can work with each family to help them create a plan for overcoming the crisis. Ukrainian author Myroslav Dochynets wrote: “Wherever you are, you are at home. This is very important: to feel at home everywhere.” We will not be able to replace the homes of children and families, but with the help of donors who support our projects, we are working to make them feel at home.

Thank you to everyone who helps us to rebuild lives in Ukraine.

*To learn more about refugees who we have provided shelter to, please see:

* For security reasons, people's names have been changed and photos do not match the stories. The hostel name and address are also withheld for security reasons. However, all photos and stories are from the sponsored hostel.

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