“Two weeks of running to and from bomb shelters made us decide to leave Ukraine,” Ksenia* says. “We were living under permanent fear.”
Unlike many other Ukrainian families fleeing the war, Ksenia and Mihail and their two children, Svetlana (16) and Denis (12), had a clear plan: Mihail has relatives in Moldova, so they headed across the border to the Telenesti district.
Lumos started working in the Telenesti district in December 2022, implementing a refugee response project generously funded by Terre des Hommes Netherlands. We first met Ksenia in early 2023.
“We were surprised by the help we received,” Ksenia recalls. “Instead of being given pre-packaged, non-perishable food items, Lumos gave us vouchers for a local supermarket chain. These can be used for both food and non-food items in any of this chain’s stores across Moldova. We’ve literally been given the freedom of choice to select and pick the food and goods that we need. It is much more convenient and easier for me to provide my children with a well-balanced diet. This is the first organisation that offered us this choice.”
Lumos also invited Svetlana to participate in our Youth Forum, where she had the opportunity to meet with both local and refugee children from four different districts and to engage with them on the topics of civil activism, participation, and community. During the forum, Svetlana spoke with others about her worries concerning the language barrier that she fears prevents her from thriving at school. She is learning Romanian, but is not yet familiar enough with it to understand some of her subjects, such as the sciences.
Lumos has supported Svetlana with supplementary Romanian language classes, and were pleased to hear her recent positive update.
“I’m grateful to Lumos for their help with my language classes,” she says. “Now I have extra classes every week and this helps me a lot – I am better at the Romanian language, at physics – and even at socialising with my schoolmates.”
Svetlana and her family are among hundreds of Ukrainian refugees now living in Moldova that Lumos has been providing support to since March 2022. To help these families adapt to life in a new country, Lumos provides humanitarian aid, vouchers, psychological support, signposting to other health and educational services, as well as opportunities for children to engage in the local community.