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One year after the start of ongoing war in Ukraine, Daria Khrystenko, who fled the conflict with her young son, went back to visit her family.


This is her story.

View the full film: Sunflowers of Irpin

A CARE media team traveled from Poland to Ukraine with CARE's Daria Khrystenko to document her journey home to Ukraine, since fleeing from the war.

A Ukrainian woman walks past abandoned cars with sunflowers painted on them.


"The basement my son and I hid in"

See where Daria and her son sought shelter at the start of the war, before making the decision to leave.

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"There is no end to this terror"

Constant bombardments continue to cause irrecoverable trauma for those living through it.

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Car graveyard in Irpin, Ukraine

Cars riddled with bullets are painted over with sunflowers, a symbol of Ukraine and the will to survive.

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"Why did you decide to stay here?"

"For me, there was no difference. The thing is that a direct hit can happen anywhere."

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"I traveled to the village where my grandma lives"

After a year apart, Daria visits her grandmother who decided to stay despite the horrors she's witnessed.

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How is CARE responding in Poland and Ukraine?

CARE has been responding to the Ukraine crisis since March 2022, opening offices in Poland and Ukraine to respond to the immediate and longer-term needs of people fleeing the conflict and those who stayed behind.

Together with our partners our programs have reached millions of people with protection and psychosocial support, cash assistance, food, water, sanitation and hygiene items, health services, education, shelter, and protection from gender-based violence.

CARE works with dozens of national non-governmental organizations in both countries. They are aware of the needs of the local population, have a good understanding of the situation, identify critical issues, act in accordance with the current legislation, and are flexible enough to implement rapid response projects. This enables CARE to respond promptly to emergency situations.

In Ukraine, CARE is developing its support programs in multiple places, from assisting with evacuations from the frontline areas to providing shelters for internally displaced persons, improving housing conditions, providing financial assistance and psychological and legal counselling.

In Poland, 90% of those who arrived at the outset of the conflict were women, children, and the elderly. CARE’s response in Poland has included housing, food and water, financial assistance, and work and education, employing Ukrainian teachers and keeping Ukrainian children in school.

CARE’s work will continue in these areas to support those who have lived through two years of conflict and loss, but whose desire to return to normalcy and will to survive has not diminished.

How you can help

Donate to help families cope during conflict

Many families are without heat or electricity, enough food, or safe shelter. CARE has been and is still there to support a safe future for Ukrainians.

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Tell your representative: Pass lifesaving humanitarian aid NOW

Tell the House of Representatives to stand up for people caught in crisis in Gaza, Ukraine, and around the world by passing life-saving humanitarian assistance funding.

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