My husband and I lived in Kharkiv. I'm a grandmother. I love taking care of my 3-year-old grandson.  Half my life, until the collapse of the Soviet Union, I worked as an agronomist in a large floral and decorative enterprise in Kharkiv. 

I never expected the full-scape invasion could start. That's nonsense to me.  


On February 24, my younger daughter woke me up at half past four and said that bombardments started. I got up, she told me to get ready and take whatever I could. I really couldn't believe it until the windows at the house shook from the next attack.    


My daughter and son-in-law wanted to take me and the kids somewhere safer. We headed towards Poltava. We drove for 15 hours through traffic jams and roadblocks to cover 170 km! We spent a week there. Half of the Kharkiv Oblast has moved to Poltava Oblast. Refugees occupied even the most neglected bungalows, those with thatched roofs.  

There were 14 people in the house where we lived. We felt tension. We decided to split up, we went further to Volyn. We lived at one elderly woman’s house. There were 7 of us. It was very difficult for that woman.  

My elder daughter once visited Nowy Sącz at a scientific-practical pedagogical conference. When we lived in Volyn, her friends contacted her and suggested that we come here. 

Nowy Sącz 

We got a room. It was an adapted administrative building of a private company. They took great care of us. The building was after cosmetic repairs, we lived in office rooms. There was a kitchen and a shower. They regularly bought us food, cleaning items, and hygiene items. We did not expect such hospitality. We are very grateful to them for that.  


The younger daughter was soon called to work in Kharkiv. As a doctor, she is subject to military service. She has three children though, including one daughter with a disability. So she could refuse to be appointed, but she decided to come back from Volyn, and she works in Kharkiv to this day. Sometimes she writes to me: “Today was exceptionally loud” – that's what she calls shelling. 

After arriving, thanks to a woman, who is also a Polish teacher at JRS, I got my first job.  


Then I enrolled in a Polish course at JRS. Thanks to it, now I understand Polish. This is very motivating, and that is why I try to be at every lesson. 

What keeps me in Poland is the instability in my country. Here in Nowy Sącz, I feel confident, I have many friends who are willing to help.  

If things get any worse and my family has to leave Kharkiv, I can help them here with my new friends. 

Overall, I lived a life where I had both joys and sorrows. I've experienced everything. Their lives are more valuable to me. And that's the only thing keeping me here. I just see a lot of support here.  


I can see what psychological help “JRS” provides. You're pulling our countrymen out of the hole they fell into. Many people break down after escaping, there are many problems... There are a lot of mothers with kids who come to JRS. This place replaces a bunch of psychologists.  

I am delighted with the new JRS office in Nowy Sącz. Here everyone feels like a human being again, not an unfortunate refugee. So, you enter the building and feel dignified.  

Recently, I was invited to watch a movie here. God, I came, and there was such an atmosphere - everyone was watching this movie, and there were calm elderly people. And then it was time for tea. Oh, my God, I had a lot of emotions! I simply cannot explain what a cozy and warm atmosphere was there [crying]. 

It seems trivial - watching a movie and drinking tea - but it's much more than that. This cannot be either overestimated or underestimated because everyone was touched by the event. I saw some of the visitors for the first time and wanted to get acquainted. It’s a pity this evening was over. 

Thank you very much.