Since the start of the military conflict in Ukraine, over 5 million Ukrainians have left everything behind and fled across the border into neighbouring countries, including Moldova, the poorest country in Europe.

Beginning of Life, in partnership with Light of the World and other churches in the south of Moldova, is addressing this crisis in a holistic way. Thanks to the generosity of supporters just like you, the Beginning of Life team has been providing emergency assistance to Kristina and thousands of refugees like her. Kristina fled from her home in Ukraine, along with her children and another family, before ending up in Chisinau, Moldova, at one o’clock in the morning. Read her incredible story below and find out how you can continue to offer your support:

Kristina’s Story

"We were woken up in the early morning of 24th February by air forces flying around and bombing the military facilities in Kharkov [city in northeast Ukraine]. We were scared, but didn’t think that it was too serious. But over the following days, especially when bombs started to ruin apartment buildings inside the city, we decided to escape with our children. Unfortunately, my parents didn’t want to leave the city, so we don’t know what has happened to them.

We tried to avoid roads where the military could be and we were not allowed to drive during the night. One night, we hid in the basement of a small hotel. Another night, we found an abandoned house and burnt furniture to try to heat the room. Due to problems with our documents, we were refused entry at the Romanian border. It was terrible. Instead, we went to Moldova, where they allowed us in.

In just one day, our lives totally changed - we lost everything. We had to start all over again.

Our businesses, our friends and our relatives were gone. We only had the clothes we were wearing and a few small possessions. And the night we entered Moldova, adding to all our troubles, we could not find a single place to stay, everywhere was full. We didn’t know anyone in the country. The only thing we had was a contact number for Beginning of Life’s helpline, given to us by friends. We called the number but they confirmed there was no place for us anywhere. We were in total despair and deathly tired, especially the children. Due to stress and fear, we had barely slept since leaving Ukraine.

Baby sleeping on sofa at Beginning of Life's office
Beginning of Life, Ukrainian refugees
Ukraine 2

Ten minutes later, someone from Beginning of Life’s helpline called us back to tell us we could stay in their office space until they could find a more  permanent place for us. We arrived late at night and received an amazing welcome. We were given food and drinks, and could finally take a shower. It’s the simple things that have been a real blessing to us and our children. The next day, while our children were being cared for by Beginning of Life’s volunteers, we were given help to sort out our documents.

For the first time in weeks we are feeling safe and loved. We are so grateful for this acceptance and care. We are not these people’s relatives or friends, but we feel as if our closest brothers are taking care of us. This is the first time I’ve felt like this in my life. God has sent Beginning of Life to help us. Thank you so much."

This is just the start of Kristina’s journey. She will need ongoing help, as will other women and children who have been separated from their husbands and fathers. In response, Beginning of Life is calling on its vast experience and expertise to provide ongoing support for these refugees over the next two years.

If their situation wasn’t desperate enough, Ukrainian refugees are also at risk of exploitation. Displaced, disorientated and scared, they are forced to put their trust in strangers. Human trafficking rings were already notoriously active in Ukraine and neighbouring countries before this. The fog of war is now the perfect cover to increase business.

UN Secretary General António Guterres warned on Twitter, “For predators and human traffickers, the war in Ukraine is not a tragedy. It’s an opportunity - and women and children are the targets.”

The good news is that Beginning of Life is perfectly placed to address this issue. It already uses psychological art therapy and counselling for victims of human trafficking and sexual exploitation as well as those who suffer from loneliness, depression or domestic abuse. In schools it runs sessions to teach students how to avoid or deal with exploitation, trafficking or drug abuse.

Beginning of Life’s ongoing response

This is now a strategic point for Beginning of Life and the team needs its capacity strengthening. This includes expanding the reach of the 24/7 helpline, transportation, hosting/accommodation, food & water, medical services, psycho-emotional therapy and counselling, spiritual care and social, intellectual and material assistance. In addition, Beginning of Life will continue to be a key player in enhancing and strengthening the network of communities engaged in refugee crisis response on a local, national and regional level. Beginning of Life anticipates that it will need to provide holistic support for Ukrainian refugees over the next two years, and they need your help.

Beginning of Life, Ukrainian refugee child

Please would you prayerfully consider how you can help today?

PRAY:

Please pray for peace in Ukraine, and for all those who have fled or are internally displaced. Please also pray for the team at Beginning of Life, for strength and financial provision.

GIVE:

Please prayerfully consider how you can contribute towards the ongoing holistic support that Beginning of Life will be providing for Ukrainian refugees over the next two years. Click on the images below to donate.

Your monthly gift could help provide practical, psychological and spiritual care to a refugee family
Your gift of £25 could help provide recreation and psychological support for children
Your gift of £50 could help provide psychological and spiritual support for adults
 Your gift of £100 could help provide food and accommodation for a refugee family

SHARE:

On Tuesday 12th April we hosted a Ukraine Zoom Update with Beginning of Life’s ministry leader Serghei Mihailov, live from Moldova. Click here to watch the recording on our YouTube channel and hear what he had to say.