Valeria, her husband and four-month-old baby Salah-Arslan are among over a million people that have been forced to flee their homes as a result of the escalating conflict in Ukraine. Most of the people who have been uprooted are women and children.
The family were living happily at their home in Cherkasy, central Ukraine. Valeria was studying for a master’s degree in international economic relations. When the conflict escalated, Valeria and Salah-Arslan spent a night cowering in a basement. As the situation quickly deteriorated, Valeria made the wrenching decision to leave the family home. They packed and fled quickly. The shelling of the city started shortly after they left.
The family travelled more than 450 miles overnight by minibus from Cherkasy to Lviv, on the western border with Poland. They arrived at 6am to find all rooms fully booked.
Valeria and her husband were directed to a support centre. Volunteers here provided the family with food, shelter and healthcare. Like many families fleeing the conflict, Valeria and her husband are hoping to find a way to leave Ukraine to protect them and their baby.
Millions of families affected
Valeria and her family are just one of millions of families affected by the conflict in Ukraine. The entire country’s 7.5 million children are now at risk from the escalating conflict. Hundreds of homes have been damaged or destroyed. Hundreds of thousands of people have been left without safe water, electricity or water.
Families on the move in and outside of Ukraine need urgent support.