A dedicated Ukrainian World Vision assistant helps build bridges of hope for Ukrainian refugee children far away from their country. Karina's unwavering commitment at the Portable Connectivity Center provides them with a safe haven to learn, grow, and find solace.
In a world that is increasingly becoming digital, access to technology and the internet is crucial, especially for children seeking education and connection. Karina Lazarovych, an assistant at the Portable Connectivity Center (PCC), is making a difference in the lives of Ukrainian refugee children who have faced significant challenges for over a year.
The Portable Connectivity Center (PCC), built in conveniently transportable containers, can charge multiple devices at once, provides a reliable Wi-Fi hotspot, and offers a variety of tablets that children may use during their online classes.
I wanted to be useful when the war started. I saw that my fellow Ukrainians needed support.
“We call it a center for children. They can come here, they have laptops, they have access to the Internet, and depending on their needs, they can do online classes here, or do homework, and also socialize," shares Karina.
World Vision’s Portable Connectivity Center in Suceava, Romania, currently operates through the support of the Disaster Emergency Committee (DEC).
Karina's journey began as a volunteer in October almost a year ago, just a few months before the PCC officially opened its doors in December. Her background in volunteering, particularly with World Vision, gave her the skills and compassion necessary to work with children facing unique and difficult circumstances.
“I wanted to be useful when the war started. I saw that my fellow Ukrainians needed support and help. At first, I volunteered, and then I started working as a PCC assistant at World Vision in Suceava,” recalls Karina.
Children who frequent the center hail primarily from eastern Ukraine. They come from cities like Kharkiv, Poltava, Zaporizhzhia, Kherson, Kyiv, Mariupol, and more. Each of them carries a unique story of resilience and survival.
Karina and her Ukrainian students outside World Vision's Portable Connectivity Center (PCC) in Suceava, Romania, after IT class.
“It is most difficult to work with children who have spent a significant time inside Ukraine. They are afraid of any sounds, even if a car drives by. They work with a psychologist. It is more problematic, but we find a common language,” explains Karina Lazarovych.
Yet, as these children step through the doors of the PCC day after day, they slowly begin to shed the weight of their past. Age differences fade into the background as the children find common ground, forging connections that defy linguistic barriers.
Karina has witnessed remarkable transformations. "There were children who would come, and they wouldn't talk to anyone at all. They didn't even say hello to other children, but now they are playing together."
Her role as an employee is not just about providing access to technology; it's about fostering a sense of belonging and community for children. She also works with children’s parents who seek guidance and counseling.
“My work is very interesting and varied. In addition to children, we also work with adults who come for consultation. In general, working with children is always working both with the child and with his parents,” says Karina.
Karina’s dedication and resilience shine as a beacon of hope for the Ukrainian refugee children who find solace in the PCC, located in the heart of Suceava, Romania. Through her tireless efforts, she is building bridges of friendship and healing, one child at a time, proving that even in the face of adversity, compassion and understanding can prevail.
To date, World Vision Ukraine Crisis Response has reached more than 131,000 Ukrainian children in Romania through education, child protection, mental health, and psychosocial support programs.
Story by Oleksandra Shapkina, Communications Officer I Photos by Laurentia Jora, Communications Coordinator