Cash assistance helps an internally displaced Ukrainian woman regain eyesight

The sixty-five-year-old Lydia Antonyuk was diagnosed with diabetes in her early twenties and as she aged, more related health issues afflicted her.

She has spent the last forty years in the riverside town in the southern part of Ukraine. Unfortunately, when the war broke out in Ukraine and the neighboring Zaporizhzhia region suffered rocket attacks, Lydia gave up her three-room apartment.

“Life is much more valuable than material possessions. The moment bombs started falling on Zaporizhzhia, I returned to my hometown where I hadn't been in four decades," she says.

Lydia was displaced by the war but is happy for the assistance that helped her regain her sight and be able to see her family again.


During the first months of the conflict, Ukrainians were struggling to live without a proper number of foods, hygiene products, and medicines. Lydia had some supplies of insulin, but they were not enough.

Her eyesight has deteriorated to severe impairment, "practically blindness," as Lydia described it herself. "My sight was already getting worse then. Obviously, the stress from the horror of the war did not help," she adds.

World Vision with the cooperation of its implementing partner Hungarian Interchurch Aid has launched a project to help improve the ability of Ukraine’s displaced population meet their essential needs through unconditional cash transfers.

The eye treatment did not just help her see clearly but gave her the chance to feel independent and confident, changing her life for the better.

The cash assistance project supported by ACTED, USAID’s Bureau of Humanitarian Assistance (BHA) , and Ukraine Response Consortium allowed Lydia to undergo an operation to regain her eyesight.

“The eye treatment did not just help her see clearly but gave her the chance to feel independent and confident, changing her life for the better. World Vision and partners like HIA support people with special needs like Lydia every day,” shares Blerina Lako, World Vision’s Chief of Party for the project.

Leaving her hometown when the war broke out was a tough decision for Lydia but she has accepted the reality.


Lydia has used a portion of cash support to buy the necessary medication needed to regain her sight in her right eye and is extremely happy that she is able to see her family again. She no longer feels like a burden on her family.

"In fact, when the notification came that the money was transferred, I could not even read it. Then when my family did it for me, I can hardly believe it. Finally, I can cook again because I can see what I am doing, take care of myself,” shares Lydia.

World Vision’s humanitarian response for the Ukraine crisis has reached over 650,000 people in Ukraine, Romania, Moldova and Georgia.

Story by Oleksandra Shapkina, Communications Officer I Photos and interview by Daniel Kiss, Communications Officer, Hungarian Interchurch Aid