My daughter is deprived from a peaceful sky over Ukraine

Oksana, Khmelnytskyi region, 26.03.2022

My daughter is deprived from a peaceful sky over Ukraine

Dear colleagues of the Centropa team!

Thank you very much for your support and care during these difficult times for Ukraine and every Ukrainian.

For a month now, I have been living in Ukraine, which is defending itself from the onslaught of a fierce and brutal enemy, Russia.

My name is Oksana […] and I live in the Ukrainian city of […]. I am 53 and my only daughter is 15 years old (while my first daughter died on the 15th day after her birth due to birth trauma post a difficult labor). I know what it's like to lose…

On the first day of the war, February 24th, 2022, I bought tickets to Transcarpathia on an available date, February 27th, because I saw fear in my daughter's eyes. The mother's instinct and fear for the child's life prompted me to do so. But we did not leave our hometown. Why?

I will briefly write about our lives below:

We spent two indescribably difficult days of online teaching on February 24th and 25th. With each lesson after February 25th, fewer and fewer children were joining the Zoom classes. The children and their parents left Ukraine. In the end, we were sent on holiday on February 28th.

On Saturday, February 26th, 2022, my daughter and I took our belongings (clothes, food, etc.) and went to the Territorial Defence Headquarters to help those who needed it and, along with dozens of […] residents, joined the effort.

We saw hundreds of people who were carrying, carrying, and working all day. We saw determination and faith in the eyes of these people. We worked all day with them. Here, for the first time, we heard an alarm and spent 40 minutes in hiding.

The next day, my daughter and I took the food again and went to the collection point of the […] Volunteer Association “Protection,“ where we gave the food and offered our help. We saw hundreds of people who were carrying stuff and working all day. We saw determination and faith in the eyes of these people. We worked all day with them.

I felt that my daughter was no longer as scared as she had been on the first day of the war.

Around 5 p.m., my colleague (she is the head of one of the educational institutions of our city) came to us. She, her husband, and her son (who is 12 years old) also brought help and came to work with us–to cut the old camouflage into strips for nets.

It was dark in the yard, there were many large bags with an old camouflage uniform, which needed to be divided into a piece of cloth for the garter nets - a whole bead. My colleague offered to take some of the bags to her school. And just like that, for several days my daughter and I and many colleagues of mine helped cut the fabric into camouflage nets.

My daughter and I live on the 10th floor. My close colleague saw fear in my daughter's eyes while the sirens were crying and offered for us to spend the night in her house in the private sector. So, we spent the first nights of the war with the family of my colleague at their place. Once my daughter stopped fearing the sound of sirens, we returned home.

During this time, the men from our house equipped the premises on the ground floor of the house so that the residents could hide there during the alarm. There is no bomb shelter near us. The basement is a technical room with a switchboard and pumping station and it is cold. We especially feel it when we sit there for two to four hours during the alarm, and more–this room has only one entrance. We understand that it is also very dangerous here if the house is blocked.

But we can't stay on the 10th floor during the alarm. It's even more dangerous there. We did not leave the city. My daughter and I realized that our hands are needed here. We must help as much as possible: weave camouflage nets for the Armed Forces of Ukraine, prepare food for those temporarily displaced in our city of […], and receive more refugees.

We even helped a 68 year old woman from Kramatorsk, Donetsk region, who temporarily stayed with us. We gave her shelter and helped her get to the border with Moldova, because her relatives were waiting for her there. We took in a family with a small child from Kyiv who had to flee the war and gave shelter to a teacher from Kyiv who had to come to us with her little kitten because it became very dangerous in Kyiv. Bombs and rockets fly over her house. My colleague, an English teacher, has been living with us since March 8th.

We in […] are relatively safe. We are mostly physically and emotionally exhausted by alarms.

On March 9th, 2022, online teaching resumed in our city. I continue teaching and my daughter continues her studies in the 10th grade. After classes my daughter, together with my colleague from Kyiv and I, go to weave camouflage nets for the Armed Forces of Ukraine. We want to make a small contribution every day and bring victory closer.

We do not post photos from the locations where we work, for security reasons. I uploaded some photos and videos to the disk.

Now we expect that our colleague and her 13 year old daughter, who escaped from the town of Popasna, Luhansk region, will be able to visit us.

We believe in our Armed Forces! We believe in the victory of Ukraine!

That is why we are staying in Ukraine; we want to bring our victory closer with such small deeds!

I have been writing this letter for a long time. Every day, with my appearance, I try to inspire my daughter with confidence in the future. There are days when it is difficult to do it physically, emotionally and psychologically, because I am a woman and I have emotions. In recent days, the enemy has begun to use chemical bombs, government channels have instructions on how to behave in times of chemical exposure. Head teachers have to talk about it in classes.

My 15 year old daughter, like all children in Ukraine, is deprived of many familiar routine things, and most importantly–a peaceful sky over Ukraine.

My student, a participant in many projects of Bohdana, since the beginning of the war, has studied the language of people with speech and hearing impairments to show the world how she and all the children now live in Ukraine. Here is a TV story about Bohdana:

Our sincere gratitude to the Centropa team for your financial help and moral support!

It is very valuable and important to us! We see that God and the whole world are with us!

With respect and gratitude,


[…], Ukraine.