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Nadya's story: a memorable birthday in all the wrong ways

Nadya, whose name means "hope," spent her 16th birthday fleeing her home city of Mykolaiv, Ukraine. Photo: Lucy Beck/CARE

Nadya, whose name means "hope," spent her 16th birthday fleeing her home city of Mykolaiv, Ukraine. Photo: Lucy Beck/CARE

More than 3.6 million Ukrainians have fled war, including Nadya, who turned 16 last week. Her family fled their home in Mykolaiv, Ukraine and crossed the border into Romania on her birthday.

A CARE short-term staff member helped Nadya and her family carry belongings to the car of a friend who was driving them to Bulgaria, where they will stay while they work out next steps. Photo: Lucy Beck/CARE

“The situation was really, really bad in Mykolaiv, from March 7 onwards. They were attacking with rockets, heavy caliber machine guns. One of my friend’s houses was even hit by a grenade and destroyed, luckily he had already left to Poland.

“Mykolaiv was attacked every day for two weeks with only one hour break. It was so scary there. The day we left was the first quiet day since the war started.

“I am traveling with my grandmother, mother and my little brother.

Photos: Lucy Beck/CARE

“We had a really long drive here to Romania with lots of traffic jams all the way. Now we still have eight hours to get to Bulgaria. The most important thing is to be safe. We are going to Bulgaria and then maybe to Germany or the UK.

“I am studying at the Academy of Children’s Creativity in Ukraine; we are on holiday until March 25 but after that I don’t know what will happen.”

CARE partners in Romania are supporting the Isaccea border point with relief items, including items for babies and children. They will also be assisting in the coordination and management of the arrivals process and centre for newly arriving Ukrainians looking for assistance and to travel on to other countries. Photo: Lucy Beck/CARE

CARE’s partner provided Nadya’s family with diapers for her baby brother Vova, and helped move their belongings to the car of a friend – who will drive them to Bulgaria while they plan their next steps. SERA, CARE’s partner in Romania, is also training 200 psychologists to help refugees overcome the trauma of war and displacement. Food, hygiene items, mattresses, and blankets are also being provided.

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