Finding Peace in Poland

Irina and her 6-year-old daughter, Kira, found refuge in Poland after fleeing Mariupol two months after the outbreak of war.

 

Like many other Ukrainians, they escaped into the unknown. They were full of fear and uncertainty about the future, but they hoped that everything would work out, and they had faith that they would receive the support and safe shelter they so desperately needed.

They benefited from Habitat for Humanity Poland’s housing assistance for 12 months. The social rental program became a lifeline for them. Thanks to the help they received from Habitat, they quickly felt safe and began to create a new life in Poland.

 

Kira, 6 year old child from Mariupol, Ukraine, smiling whist holding a soft toy animal

 

“Home is the most important support,” Irina says. “We probably wouldn’t have decided to move to a big city in Poland if it weren’t for participating in the program.”

These days, Irina is completely independent and no longer relies on Habitat support. Because of the help she received initially, she can now take care of herself and her daughter on her own. She feels fulfilled and happy and has even found meaning in being able to help others.

 

“Home is the most important support.”

 

Irina got a job at the Help Ukraine Centre at the Freedom Institute in Warsaw, and she enjoys being able to show her appreciation for the support she received by helping others.

“Of course, I have plans to go to Ukraine and be helpful in the reconstruction,” she states. “However, right now my plans are focused only on the short term.”

As they become more settled in Warsaw, Irina and Kira have found time to enjoy extracurricular activities together. Kira attends piano classes and art workshops, and she’s hoping to join a sports team in the future.

“Home for me is a place where it is safe, cozy, comfortable,” Irina says. “It’s a place where I can be myself, be alone with my own thoughts. I can act the way I want to.”

 

Iryna (50), and her daughter Kira (5) from Mariupol, Ukraine at their Habitat-subsidized apartment in Warsaw, Poland.

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