“We went through a very long journey from Ukraine to Georgia crossing 52 checkpoints from Crimea and spending 48 hours in the car with my six-year-old daughter Anya. I never felt so alone and scared”, said Oksana.
Oksana from Ukraine’s Kherson Oblast who had to flee and find a safe place for her and her daughter during the war.
“Our whole life was in one bag. We took our summer clothes thinking we will be back soon. Anya had to go to school in September. Over time, I realized that we have to stay for a long time”, she added.
Arriving late in Tbilisi, Georgia’s capital, Oksana has US$30 in her wallet and no place to go. The Georgian volunteers sent them in a hostel and later moved in a shelter where they stayed for over a month.
On June 20, Oksana was invited to the event dedicated to the World Refugee Day where she first met other refugees and learned about World Vision’s multi-purpose cash assistance program supported by UNHCR through the joint response program.
Oksana and Anya were registered to the program, and each received GEL235 (US$85) for two months. They also later received further cash support from the Government of Georgia. After a visit to the local World Vision office, she learned about other services being provided to adults and children refugees.
They were provided guidance on available social and health benefits and began attending sessions on sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) aimed at reducing risks and access to quality services based on their needs.
We are very thankful to World Vision for the information, care and support, giving us hope for a better future. Georgians are very kind, we really appreciate your help.
Anya struggled after going through the stressful experience fleeing from the war, and being separated from the rest of their family members. Oksana shared how the sound of fireworks woke her up at night thinking they were bombs falling. She would often hide under the table and start crying.
To help Anya and Oksana deal with the condition, World Vision’s team invited them to join the ongoing psychosocial activities. Anya was enrolled in art therapy sessions led by a partner organization in Batumi. Anya loved painting and expressed her feelings creatively through art.
Oksana appreciated the kindness of many Georgians who extended welcome and helping hand to them. “Anya did not have clothes, but people donated to us and that was how she started her first day in school”, she recalled.
Anya lighted up when she entered the school full of Georgian and Ukrainian children like her. A total of 450 children from Ukraine were registered, along with Anya, to continue studying together. They also received education kits and other items they needed for their education.
“The kit has all the necessary materials that a child needs in school. We are very thankful to World Vision for the information, care and support, giving us hope for a better future. Georgians are very kind, we really appreciate your help”, said Oksana.
“I would like to express my gratitude to World Vision Georgia for the educational kits provided to all Ukrainian children. Thank you for bringing joy and happiness in the lives of our school children”, said Tea Davitadze, Director of Public School N20 in Batumi, Georgia.
World Vision’s Ukraine Crisis Response (UCR) in Georgia has reached out and assisted over 3,000 refugees in the country. To date, the UCR response covering Ukraine, Romania, Moldova and Georgia has provided assistance to 360,718 refugees, internally-displaced and host families.
By Teona Navdarashvili, Communications and Fundraising Manager, World Vision Georgia