Report, first year of war in Ukraine

Vika, Ukrainian member of the board, presented this report at the general assembly meeting on March 31, 2023:

24.02.2022 has divided the life of every Ukrainian on before and after. We will never forget those terrible nights, full of worries, fears and the feeling that everything that happened was not true after all. In an instant, the lives of millions were changed and destroyed. Thousands were killed or injured, tens of thousands lost everything, hundreds of thousands had to flee. Every story told at that time was a tragedy.

People had to stay in their cellars for days and nights with no hope of going back home. The women with children who tried to escape to the West in those days had to wait and spend the night at the train station in February at the railroad track in order not to miss the rescue train. In one hour all supermarkets and pharmacies were closed (nobody was working, all were in the basement) and people remained without food and medicine for weeks (until first humanitarian aid arrived). At that terrible moment there were 250 children in Nikolaiev Baby House (NBH), and nobody in that chaos knew what would happen to them. In my opinion, the nurses who stayed with the children around the clock did a heroic job.
It was not until the end of March 2022 that it was agreed that NBH would get a so-called green corridor for 24 hours and the children were allowed to evacuate. In one night they had to pack up (ah, what do you mean pack up, take only the most important documents and some clothes and food for the children). All the children who could go back to their families were sent home. Others who were not fit to be transported stayed in the regional hospital. Thus, only 62 children with 15 nurses traveled to Chernovtsy on 26.03.2023. In Chernovtsy they were accommodated at a charity called “City of Goodness”.
Friends of Svieta” has written about it enough on the website, so I won’t repeat all that here, I just want to say that the living conditions for the children are very good and they have everything necessary. It is not ideal that the staff live where they work. “Friends of Svieta” was ready to rent a house, but they have not found a suitable house or apartment and prefer to live with the children.

Of course, all ongoing and planned projects related to infrastructure were stopped until the end of the war. Thank God, the NBH building remains intact to this day. Due to powerful explosions, only a few windows were broken, but nothing else.
“Friends of Svieta” was helpful from the first day of the war. As long as the bank system was still working, we sent money so that necessary food and care products could be bought for the children.

As soon as there was a possibility, we visited NBH in Chernovtsy and brought money for medicines or urgent cases.
Children, as always, remain the No.1 priority of Friends of Svieta. All children who needed our help got it regardless of the war and evacuation.

Since February 2022 medical aid has been given to 5 children:
Elen – trip to Kiev to the University Clinic of Cardiology for control after heart surgery.
Mykola – trip to Kiev to the ENT clinic for children and received a hearing aid.
Robert – trip to Kiev to the Children’s Hospital OXMADET. The treatment lasted 1.5 months, 2 surgeries (gastro and tracheostoma). Unfortunately, the child did not survive and died as a result of his congenital diseases.
Viktoriya – prophylaxis of multiple children paresis.
Maxim – trip to Kiev to the Children’s Hospital OXMADET for treatment of the disease of the respiratory tract. Surgery (tracheostomy) was already planned but it was decided to wait for the moment.

We sincerely thank you for donating money and making it possible to save the children.

At the end I would like to say a few words about the second home for severely disabled children in Zurupinsk (ZuBS). Unfortunately, the children could not be evacuated by Ukraine, because the city was already taken over by the Russians in the first days of the war. However, the children were evacuated by the Russians, just not to the west but to the east. They are currently in the small village called Skadovsk, which is located about 100 km east of the front line on the Black Sea. We have no direct contact with the children. Only rarely do we receive indirect news, for example that the children have everything they need and that they are doing well under the circumstances.

Thun, 31.3.2023
Viktoria Dobrzhynska