Recent Impact

War-Torn Hearts: Healing Through Helping Hands

This is Yana’s telling of the transformation she witnessed in her daughters, Polina and Darina’s lives. Through a CBN’s Orphan’s Promise project, Helping Hands, came love, support, and a space to find joy once again.

To leave or stay amidst war

In the quiet city of Kharkiv, we led a peaceful and orderly life. But on that fateful day, February 24, everything came crashing down, transforming our serene existence into a living nightmare. Our lives were abruptly cut short, and we found ourselves seeking refuge alongside our neighbours in the basement of our nine-floor apartment building, where 150 people clung to each other for comfort. It was a harrowing experience, with scarcity of water and food and the stifling lack of fresh air. Yet, amidst the hardships, we were grateful for the warmth and the presence of electricity.

Leaving the safety of the basement was a daunting task, for it meant risking our lives to tend to the needs of our children. Every time we ventured out, the constant fear of bombings hung over our heads. Kharkiv suffered relentless attacks, leaving us with no answers to the constant pleas of our children, asking when we could step outside once more. We did our best to reassure them, explaining that it was just a game and that everything would soon return to normal. The only solace was that within the confines of the basement, we were spared the sound of explosions.

Our youngest ones sought comfort in drawing on the walls, their innocent creativity etching a semblance of hope amidst the chaos. Darina, our eldest daughter, bore the weight of understanding the gravity of the situation. She spoke little, her sorrow evident in her eyes. It broke my heart to see her withdraw into herself, struggling to comprehend why we had to leave behind everything we knew in Kharkiv and embark on this uncertain journey.

After a week of seeking safety, we made the difficult decision to leave Kharkiv, accompanied by dear friends.

“The only solace was that within the confines of the basement, we were spared the sound of explosions.”

A great change in Polina and Darina’s lives

The arduous journey led us to Kamenetz-Podolsk, where we found some respite from the horrors of war. Yet, even there, the threat of bombings loomed ominously. It was during one such air raid that Polina, one of our children, burst into tears, her innocent voice trembling with fear as she asked, “Mum, will we be shelled again?” In that heart-wrenching moment, I realised the profound impact war had on the tender hearts of our children.

Finally, a week later, we arrived in Poland, where a business client’s son graciously helped us find an apartment. Through a Polish assistance program, we secured free accommodation. It was here that we began to rebuild our lives as my husband tirelessly sought ways to adapt his business in Warsaw. The children enrolled in a Polish school, continuing their studies online from their Ukrainian school. Our youngest, Kristina, joyfully embraced the routines of kindergarten.

In this new chapter, the Helping Hand training centre became a beacon of hope for us. It was a place where Polina could momentarily forget the horrors of war, reconnect with her native language, and experience the simple joys of childhood. The dedicated volunteers embraced her with love and care, creating an environment where she eagerly anticipated the classes held on Mondays and Wednesdays, immersing herself in the joy of learning and bonding with other children.

Natalia, a volunteer of the centre, shared, “Through activities such as the Superbook club, theatre, and lessons like ‘life in the Psalms,” her generous and kind nature shone brightly. This was shown by the situation when a girl burst into tears in a drawing class, and Polina came up to calm her down and help her to draw. She also loves to help us prepare goodies and drinks for snacks. This wonderful and kind girl was forced to endure the hard trials of the war, but we are happy that we have the opportunity to serve her! Her story is just beginning in our Helping Hand training centre.”

The profound impact the Helping Hand centre also had on Darina was beyond measure. Her initial withdrawal and sadness slowly gave way to renewed vitality. She found solace in continuing her guitar lessons and participating in table tennis, activities she had once enjoyed back in Kharkiv. Darina began to smile again, her eyes alight with newfound joy. The Saturday classes at the centre became a highlight she eagerly looked forward to, where she discovered new friendships and left behind the haunting memories of war.

The volunteers at the Helping Hand centre, unbeknownst to them, became instruments of healing in Darina’s life. Their presence and dedication touched her deeply, helping her rediscover the beauty of life through their ministry. We are forever grateful to God for guiding us to this place and for the profound impact it had on our precious daughter.

“In this new chapter, the Helping Hand training centre became a beacon of hope for us.”

Did you know? Stories like Polina and Darina’s are only possible thanks to the donations of our partners.

You too can spread the love of Jesus to more people like Polina and Darina. Learn More


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