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Education needs safety: Sofiya's dream of a biology career in Ukraine

Family Voices

Education needs safety: Sofiya's dream of a biology career in Ukraine

Sofiya* likes playing sports and reading:“My younger sisters are more creative.” she says.
“They like to draw, to sing, and they also like knitting and embroidery. The boys play football - and my youngest brother likes Lego, playing with cars, and reading about dinosaurs.”

Life in Ukraine during the war

At 17, Sofiya is the oldest of five children. She lives with her parents and younger siblings in Ukraine, in the same home they lived in before the war began earlier in 2022. “We didn’t want to move,” her mother Vira*, who works in the local hospital, explains.

Before the war, things were calmer. “Children could play in peace, could go camping, visit friends and relatives, but now…” Vira’s voice trails off. Life has become very hard for this family, and for thousands of others like it.

They don’t know whether Sofiya and her siblings will be able to return to school this year. “For me as a mother, it is very difficult to let them go to school,” Vira says. 

“When rockets fly, we don’t know where they will fall. It’s very dangerous. Children can panic until they get to a hiding place. I’m afraid to let my children go to school… I’m afraid.”

Sofiya and her family with aid packages


For Sofiya, her education is crucial. She’s interested in virology and genetic engineering. “I would like to study at the University and learn Biology. I could work in a school. If I get a PhD I can teach at the University; I could even work in a laboratory. But I don’t know my future.

Many of Sofiya’s friends left Ukraine when the war started. Some have since returned, others have moved to Europe – one has gone as far as Australia.

“I want happiness for my children,” Vira says. “I want them to study and find good jobs.” Because of the war, prices are very high. Vira herself earns a low salary, and her husband, who lost his job when the war began, is still out of work.

Lumos has been supporting the family by providing educational resources, as well as vital supplies including food and hygiene items. When we visit the family to deliver these packages, we also give them information about additional help that’s available, including psychological support.

“We are very grateful to Lumos for the constant support, it helps us very much,” Vira says.

“Because of Lumos’ support, we can survive.”

You can help us support more families like Sofiya's by making a donation to our Ukraine Appeal.

*Names changed.